Finasteride is a drug hailed as the great new hope to combat prostate cancer. And its standing won't have been dented by a major new study that concluded that the drug can, indeed, prevent or at least slow the cancer.
The Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial is a heavyweight study that involved 18,882 men aged over 55 years, and so its findings will matter.
Of course, there was a price to pay by those men who took the drug. Their sexual libido all but disappeared, but many might feel that it is a trade-off worth making if you live longer.
And there was another thing mentioned in passing. Those who took the drug also ran a far higher risk of getting a more virulent form of the cancer later on.
Since the study started, finasteride was also approved as a hair growth drug for men with male-pattern baldness.
So let's get this right. Take finasteride and your hair might grow back. But your sex life disappears, and you stand the chance of getting an aggressive form of prostate cancer.
Does anyone need hair that badly?
(Source: New England Journal of Medicine, 2003; 349: 215:24).