1) How did you find this forum?
Google searched for "blunted emotion+sexual dysfunction".
2) What is your current age, height, weight?
30 years old, 6'2", 180 lbs
3) Do you excercise regularly? If so, what type of excercise?
2-3 times per week I do cardio and resistance exercises, I quit heavy lifting.
4) What type of diet do you eat (vegetarian, meat eater, raw, fast-food/organic healthy)?
Mostly meats and vegetables, very little processed food.
5) Why did you take Finasteride (hair loss, BPH, other)?
Took Accutane and/or oral tretinoin for acne.
6) For how long did you take Finasteride (weeks/months/years)?
I remeber taking it, not sure how long. possibly 2 3-month courses.
7) How old were you when you started Finasteride?
8) How old were you when you quit?
9) How did you quit (cold turkey or taper off)?
10) What type of Finasteride did you use – Propecia, Proscar, Fincar or other generic?
11) What dose did you take (eg. 1 mg/day, 1 mg every other day etc.)?
12) How long into your use of Finasteride did you notice the onset of side effects?
I noticed mild side effects almost immediately, they remained mild for a year leading up to a crash.
13) What side effects did you experience while on the drug that have yet to resolve since discontinuation?
Put an X beside all that apply:
[x ] Loss of Libido / Sex Drive (dissappeared almost overnight when I crashed)
[x ] Erectile Dysfunction (minor but noticable, no more instant erections, usually takes physical stimulation to get and keep one)
[ ] Complete Impotence
[x] Loss of Morning Erections (still have morning erections a couple of times per week)
[x] Loss of Spontaneous Erections (have become rare)
[x ] Loss of Nocturnal Erections
[ ] Watery Ejaculate
[x ] Reduced Ejaculate
[x ] Inability to Ejaculate / Orgasm (takes forever, needs to be forced most times)
[x ] Reduced Sperm Count / Motility (semen analysis came back bottom of normal range for most paramaters)
[x ] Emotional Blunting / Emotionally Flat (lost strong feelings of love and connection, also nearly unable to cry)
[ ] Difficulty Focusing / Concentrating
[ ] Confusion
[ ] Memory Loss / Forgetfullness
[ ] Stumbling over Words / Losing Train of Thought
[ ] Slurring of Speech
[x ] Lack of Motivation / Feeling Passive / Complacency
[x] Extreme Anxiety / Panic Attacks (comes and goes)
[x] Depression / Melancholy (comes and goes) (I can only feel happy for short periods of time and it is never as strong as it used to feel)
[x] Penile Tissue Changes (narrowing, shrinkage, wrinkled) (was always "full", even when flaccid, before the drug)
[ ] Penis curvature / rotation on axis
[ ] Testicular Pain
[ ] Testicular Shrinkage / Loss of Fullness
[x ] Genital numbness / sensitivity decrease
[ ] Weight Gain
[ ] Gynecomastia (male breasts)
[ ] Muscle Wastage
[ ] Muscle Weakness
[ ] Joint Pain
[ ] Dry / Dark Circles under eyes
[ ] Prostate pain
[x] Persistent Fatigue / Exhaustion (comes and goes, has improved with better diet)
[ ] Stomach Pains / Digestion Problems
[ ] Constipation / "Poo Pellets"
[ ] Vision - Acuity Decrease / Blurriness
[ ] Increased hair loss
[ ] Frequent urination
[x] Lowered body temperature (possibly, body temp has been around 97 for past few years)
[ ] Other (please explain)
I had an elevated blood pressure during my first routine checkup after I crashed, I had no blood pressure problems prior to this, and BP has been gradually increasing over the years. It was 150/95 at my last checkup.
"Warm fuzzy feeling" that used to accompany thoughts of sex and pleasurable experiences is almost completely gone.
14) What (if any) treatments have you undertaken to recover from your side effects since discontinuation of the drug?
TRT- Tried Androderm 7 years ago. Improved mood and slight increase in sexual function, but began feeling more fatigued than usual and effects started to wear off after a few weeks.
Anti-depressents- I tried Wellbutrin, Zoloft, and Adderall, They seemed to do nothing but make me feel strange. The Zoloft made it almost impossible to orgasm and the Adderall made me feel overly hyped-up.
Bromocriptine- Used it between ages of 24 and 28. It seemed to help slightly with libido, and for some reason (effect on dopamine?) cleared up my anxiety. I am 30 now and taking it again, but it doesn't seem to be working as well.
Cabergoline- gave me headaches, quit taking it after about a week
Clomiphene- took 25mg daily for a week for clomiphene stimulation test orderd by Dr Shippen. Testosterone came back at 855 ng/dl after a week, but I didn't feel any different.
Viagra 50mg- Works very well, lets me have what I consider normal sexual performance every once in awhile. I try not to use it more than once every 3 weeks if I feel the need to. Usually makes my eyes a little red and my face feel a little puffy.
Yohimbe- I felt like my heart was gonna jump out of my chest for a few hours after trying it the first time, no erection. I have never touched the stuff since.
Tamoxifen- Took 10 mg daily for almost a month. Rock hard erections all through the night my first few days but no real libido accompanying them. Didn't feel any different after about 2 weeks.
Supplements I've tried over the years - Zinc 25mg daily, Omega 3 Fish oil 3x daily, vitamin D3 4,000 iu daily, Multi-vitamin daily, whey protein, 400 mg folate daily, resveratrol, maca, creatine.
None of the supplements seemed to help, although I still take the multivimamin, the omega 3 capsules, and drink a whey protein shake daily.
15) If you have pre or post-Finasteride bloodtests, what hormonal changes have you encountered since discontinuing the drug (pls post your test results in the "Blood Tests" section and link to them in your post)?
Low Fsh: 1.0-2.0 miu/ml on several blood tests but with LH always around 5.0 miu/ml
Testosterone levels in the 500s on several blood tests ( I remember having a T level in the 800s when i was 16-17 "doctor commented that it was high")
Most bloodwork is within normal range with the exception of a few adrenal hormones being high on different occassions.(high Dhea-S and high Metanephrine)
Strange results from Rhein labs 24 hour urine test, and I'm positive I performed the collection procedure correctly.
It showed: (only listing results out of reference range)
Testosterone: 109 range 45-85 high
DHT: 28 range 0-13 high
Androstenetriol: 1784 range 42-710 high
Androsterone: 6042 range 798-4705 high
Etiocholanolone: 8004 range 689-3252 high
Pregnanediol: 790 range32-501 high
5a-Thf: 787 range 796-2456 low
I will post all of my bloodwork over the past 10 years once I get access to a good scanner.
16) Anything not listed in the above questions you'd like to share about your experience with Finasteride?
17) Tell us your story, in your own words, about your Finasteride usage and side effects experienced while on/off the drug.
I am a 30 year old who suddenly began dealing with many of the problems associated with low testosterone when I was 18 years old. I went nearly 12 years wondering what the hell happened to me, then I stumbled upon this website and noticed most of you have the exact same symptoms as me. It didn't make any sense though, because I have never dealt with baldness and would have had no reason to take Finasteride. Then I read a few posts on here by former accutane users and it unfortunately brought back memories of me complaining to a doctor about acne when I was younger and him telling me that oral tretinoin (accutane) would be better for me than the cream since I was working in the sun at the time (tretinoin creams are known to cause oversensitivity to sun). I also remembered my grandmother asking me why I was on a medication for acne that a friend of hers was taking as a cancer treatment.
Learning that an acne medication had ruined my life was not so bad until I also learned that there is no cure,but I strongly believe that there is a similar if not the same root cause to the symptoms of both former accutane users and former finasteride users. I have even read a study that shows lowered levels of adiol-g after accutane treatment and that accutane can cause damage to the hippocampus. The long term side effects of both are so similar it makes me sick. I want anyone still reading this to know that even though I pretty much given up on religion after what I have been through, I will still pray for a cure for all of us who are going through this hell.
About the doctors I have seen: I still have normal facial hair growth and pretty good muscle tone, this combined with testosterone levels that are considered by most doctors to be well into the normal range and the fact that I was stupid enough to complain about depression and loss of emotions when I would go in for a visit, made getting nearly every blood test a battle. Two doctors told me that I am completely healthy and my symptoms are of a psychological origin, I have had too many noticeable physical changes to believe that bullshit. I have also seen Three psychiatrists, all of whom told me that my symptoms are most likely caused by a medical condition and that I should seek medical help. There have been a few good doctors who, even though they may have not had the knowledge to even scratch the surface of my condition, did not dismiss me as a lunatic with a limp dick. I'm not sure if its ok to print the name of some of my better doctors on here, but I will say that I was lucky to find Dr. Shippen even before I knew about this website.
Not sure what else to mention except that I have also been diagnosed with and am currently being treated for hypertension, which seems to have began around the same time as my sexual symptoms and depression. I have not had any serious injuries or major infections in my lifetime. Prior to fall of 1998, I had always felt extremely healthy,energetic, and horny, and had routine physical examinations yearly with no evidence of an illness.
Finally, here is a small time line of how things went before my crash:
Sept 1998: I began experiencing mild bouts of what I think are hot flashes (a feeling of being overheated, as if I was dehydrated. I also describe this as feeling like I drank a shot of whiskey (a hot feeling in my face and torso)). I also noticed a decrease in the frequency of nocturnal emissions and spontaneous erections, mild depression, and a mild decrease in sex drive. I could still become aroused from visual stimuli or sexual thoughts though. At the time I did not feel that I had any health problems.
Late Summer 99: I began drinking almost every other evening towards the end of summer, during this time I remember being furiously horny some nights while I was drunk. I also had erections lasting a few hours and I was so horny it almost felt unnatural.
My Crash: Late Sept-Oct 1999: Had pains in the right side of my mid-back which lasted for about 2 weeks. I’m not sure if the pain was related to other symptoms, but it occurred around the time they became severe. I began having hot flashes again, waking up at night sweating, had a loss of spontaneous and morning erections, a significant decrease in penile sensitivity, a lack of energy, constant unexplainable anxiety, and depression. I could no longer get an erection from visual stimuli or sexual thoughts alone and often could not get an erection from manual stimulation. My acne cleared-up, scalp became less oily, earwax production noticeably decreased, and body odor almost disappeared during this time. It was as if I mutated into a completely different person within a time frame of 3 or 4 weeks, and my sex drive disappeared almost overnight. I had a crush on a girl at work who would give me an instant erection and get my heart racing just by saying "hi" one day, I saw her again less than a week later wearing very short shorts giving me an "I want you bad look" and nothing happened in my pants or my chest. Nothing. I have not felt healthy in general nor have I regained normal sexual function since these couple of weeks.
Nov 1999: I was told that I had pre-hypertension during a physical. I did not mention any sexual or mental symptoms to the doctor.
Spring 2000: I began having occasional morning erections, and depression and lethargy became less severe. I began experiencing some emotion again as opposed to feeling like a complete robot during the previous winter. Acne returned a little but never as bad as it was before. I was still suffering from from mild erectile dysfunction roughly 1/3 of the time and failure to orgasm during sex occasionally. The ED and failure to orgasm have gradually become more severe over the past 11 years. Emotional blunting gets better or worse from time to time, but I never feel like my old self or like a normal young person should feel.
Before I end this post I would like to thank anyone who is doing the work of trying to get more doctors and scientists to take a look at this situation we are in. I am also grateful that this website welcomes former accutane users. It seems as if there are no productive groups for people experiencing any side effects from retinoids other than chapped lips or dry eyes.
Hopefully a cure or treatment for one of us, is a cure or treatment for all of us. Good luck.