Entries in Sexual Dysfuntion (3)


Baldness Drug's Sexual Side Effects May Be Long-lasting

Stephen Chernin/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Men who take Propecia for baldness may experience sexual side effects that last for months to years, even after they stop taking the drug, a new study published Thursday in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests.

Researchers from George Washington University interviewed 54 men under the age of 40 who reported side effects for three months or more after taking Propecia, also called finasteride, to treat their hair loss.  None of the men reported having any sexual, medical or psychiatric problems before they took the drug.

Some of the men took the drug for a few weeks, others took it for years, but all of them reported side effects such as erectile dysfunction, decreased sexual drive, problems with orgasms, shrinking and painful genitals, even some neurological problems, such as depression, anxiety and mental fogginess.

For 96 percent of the men, the sexual problems lasted for more than a year after they stopped taking the drug.

"Our findings make me suspicious that this drug may have done permanent damage to these men," said Dr. Michael Irwig, the author of the study.  "The chances that they will improve?  I think it's lower and lower the longer they have these side effects."

Irwig cautions that it's possible that only men who were the most affected by the drug participated in the study.  Because he recruited his study participants through an online forum called PropeciaHelp, a group for men who have experienced persistent sexual side effects from the drug, he said the study may not have included men who have fewer or less pervasive side effects.

Finasteride works by blocking the conversion of testosterone into a more potent form, called DHT, which contributes to hair loss.  It was originally developed in 1992 by drug giant Merck as a treatment for enlarged prostates and sold as the drug Proscar.

Propecia was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1997, and at that time Merck noted that a few men reported sexual side effects during clinical trials of the drug.  On its website, the agency said those side effects were resolved when patients stopped taking the drug.

But the agency received more than 400 reports over 13 years from consumers reporting sexual dysfunction, and nearly 60 men reported that those side effects lasted longer than three months after the men stopped the medication.  In 2011, the FDA mandated a label change for Propecia and Proscar, warning that some patients reported erectile dysfunction that lasted after patients stopped taking it; in April, the agency updated the label to include reports of libido, ejaculation and orgasm disorders.

In a statement, Merck said no evidence has proved a causal relationship between Propecia and long-lasting sexual dysfunction.

"Merck believes that Propecia (finasteride) has demonstrated safety and efficacy profiles and that the product labeling appropriately describes the benefits and risks of the drug to help inform prescribing," the company wrote in the statement.

But researchers say many physicians who prescribe finasteride are likely not aware that the side effects of the drug may haunt patients for years.

"These things just get handed out left and right for any urinary symptoms," said Dr. Ryan Terlecki, an assistant professor of urology at Wake Forest School of Medicine, who has prescribed Proscar for some of his patients with enlarged prostates.

Terlecki said the findings about long-term side effects from the drug are alarming, but more research will likely be needed before doctors can know for sure that the symptoms are completely attributed to the drug.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Is a Woman's Sexual Satisfaction a Mind Game?

Courtesy Kayt Sukel(NEW YORK) -- The secret to releasing the mysterious female orgasm might be all in our heads -- literally. 

Surprising research suggests that the concept of female sexual dysfunction as a disease could be a myth, and that women may be, well, just over-thinking sex and love.

Acclaimed sex scientist Barry Komisaruk and his team of researchers at Rutgers University are studying the female orgasm, hoping to unlock the elusive secrets of a woman's pleasure peak.  And they are analyzing whether female sexual dysfunction is even a real disease.

Kayt Sukel volunteered to masturbate in an MRI machine while Komisaruk's team monitored her brain activity as she reached her climax.  Sukel said she was happily married with a superb sex life, until she gave birth to her son.  When her libido crumbled, so did her marriage.

As a newly single mom, she set off to find out how love and lust impacted our brains.  Her book, Dirty Minds: How Our Brains Influence Love, Sex and Relationships, explores the notion that the brain is a woman's most powerful sex organ.

"The answer may just be in trying something new, being open, being able to communicate, and, you know, maybe getting a little bit outside your comfort zone," Sukel said.

In looking at a female brain's activity during orgasm, Komisaruk said he saw that 80 out of 80 different regions of the brain all hit their maximum activity.

"Orgasm is one of the most all-encompassing phenomena in the brain.  The only other thing that is known to produce such widespread [brain] activity is epilepsy," he added.

After the Food and Drug Administration approved Viagra in 1998, it became a blockbuster drug with millions of men suddenly diagnosed with erectile dysfunction and obtaining prescriptions for the little blue pill, including Cialis and Levitra, all of which were covered by insurance.  According to the National Institutes of Health, 18 million American men, aged 20 years or older, had been diagnosed with ED by 2007.

More than a decade after Viagra hit pharmacy shelves, women are still feeling left out.

Komisaruk said he hopes to find an answer for women lacking sexual desire, especially those who seem unable to orgasm at all.´╗┐

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sleep Apnea Linked to Sexual Dysfunction

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Sleep apnea cuts into sleep quality for more than 12 million Americans every year, but shut-eye isn’t the only bedroom activity disrupted by this nighttime breathing disorder.

Several studies have shown that sleep apnea sufferers have higher rates of sexual dysfunction as well. Most recently, a study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine of women aged 28 to 64 found that those with sleep apnea were significantly more likely to suffer from loss of libido and experience sexual dysfunction.

Past studies in men have shown a similar spike in erectile dysfunction (ED) among men who suffer from the sleep disorder, such as a 2009 study done in Germany that reported that 70 percent of men referred seeking sleep apnea treatment also suffered from ED.

A 2008 experimental study in male mice found that sexual dysfunction arose almost immediately after inducing the kind of oxygen deprivation experienced by sleep apnea sufferers. This University of Louisville study showed that just a week of induced sleep apnea led to a 55 percent decline in daily spontaneous erections. After five weeks of sleep apnea, there was a 60-fold decrease in the frequency of mating attempts in the mice.

“Even relatively short periods of CIH, [the oxygen deprivation experienced during sleep apnea] are associated with significant effects on sexual activity and erectile function,” wrote Dr. David Gozal, professor of pediatrics at the University of Louisville, in the article.

Sleep apnea is characterized by disruptions in breathing during sleep that lead to lower oxygen levels and repeated waking throughout the night.

Sleep experts believe that the link may be due to the body’s levels of the sex hormone testosterone, which naturally rise while we sleep. Because sleep apnea causes repeated nighttime waking, this chronic sleep deprivation may inhibit the body’s ability to produce and process testosterone, which is partially responsible for libido in men and women.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio