Finasteride, Used to Treat Hair Loss and BPH, Could Also Combat Atherosclerosis

Introduction to Finasteride’s Potential Benefits

Indicated for the treatment of Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and male pattern baldness, finasteride (Propecia/Proscar), a synthetic antiandrogen, may also reduce the risk of heart disease in men a new study shows. In the Journal of Lipid Research, this team of pharmacologists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reveals an association between finasteride use and lower cholesterol levels in men. This benefit could be helpful against atherosclerosis.

Read Also: Minimizing the Risks of Common Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Medications: The Efficacy of BHP Combination Therapy

Hair Loss

Hair Loss

Finasteride, also known as Propecia and Proscar, treats male pattern baldness and BHP in millions of men worldwide. It may offer another “unexpected” benefit: reducing cholesterol levels and the overall risk of cardiovascular disease.

Study Findings and Cholesterol Reduction

The study identifies significant correlations between finasteride use and lower cholesterol levels in participants in the American National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey cohort (2009-2016). These results have also been replicated in animals:

  • Of the 4800 cohort participants who responded to the survey, 155, all men over 50 years of age, reported using finasteride.
  • These cohort participants who took finasteride saw their cholesterol levels reduced by an average of 30% compared to participants who did not take the drug.
  • Mice with a fat-rich diet who received high doses of finasteride showed reductions in total plasma cholesterol, delayed progression of atherosclerosis, reduced liver inflammation, and other benefits.

Read Also: 8-Day Water Fast Shrinks Prostate and Improves Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Symptoms

Lead author Jaume Amengual, professor of nutrition, explains that this observation in a cohort prompted the team to validate these results in mice.

Understanding the Mechanism and Dosage Considerations

What is the mechanism? Why can a drug to fight hair loss and prostate problems affect cholesterol?

  • Hormone levels are known to influence atherosclerosis, hair loss, and prostate problems.
  • Although atherosclerosis is much more common in men than in premenopausal women, scientists have long suspected that testosterone plays a key role in its development, although this role is not fully understood.
  • Finasteride works by blocking a protein in hair follicles and the prostate that activates testosterone.

People take daily doses of 1 to 5 milligrams of finasteride for hair loss and prostate hypertrophy. However, the dose required to induce this cholesterol-lowering and cardiovascular-preventing effect in patients has not yet been specified.

Read Also: Hair Loss Treatment: Minoxidil versus Finasteride

Final Thoughts: Caution Advised

The discovery of finasteride’s potential in cholesterol management is intriguing, but it’s not without risks. Side effects like depression, erectile dysfunction, and rare instances of suicidal thoughts can’t be overlooked. These aren’t widespread, but they’re serious enough to warrant caution. Using finasteride primarily for cholesterol control might be premature, especially with safer, proven options available. It’s a classic case of balancing benefits with risks, and right now, caution is key.


McQueen, P., Molina, D., Pinos, I., LaFrano, M. R., Kane, M. A., & Amengual, J. (2024). Finasteride delays atherosclerosis progression in mice and is associated with a reduction in plasma cholesterol in men. Journal of Lipid Research, 65(3), 100507.



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