USA President Donal Trump is taking a prostate drug often prescribed for hair loss, his physician Dr. Harold N. Bornstein told.
USA President Donal Trump is taking a prostate drug often prescribed for hair loss, his physician Dr. Harold N. Bornstein told the New York Times in an interview published Wednesday. He also made a point of stating that the President has all of his hair.
A senior White House official says Bornstein did not have Trump’s permission to speak about his health to the Times.
The physician told the Times he has had no contact with his patient since Trump became president. Trump had visited his office every year since 1980 for annual checkups, colonoscopies and other routine tests.
What is Propecia?
Propecia is a lower-dose formulation of finasteride that is prescribed to men with enlarged prostate glands under the brand name Proscar.
Originally, the Food and Drug Administration approved finasteride 5 mg (Proscar) in 1992 for the treatment of “bothersome symptoms in men” with an enlarged prostate, which is also referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia. At that time, the FDA also approved Proscar to reduce the need for surgery related to an enlarged prostate and possible urine retention.
In 1997, the agency approved a lower-dose formulation of finasteride (Propecia) for the treatment of male pattern hair loss, a gradual thinning that leads to either a receding hairline or balding on the top of the head. The FDA does not permit Propecia for treating hair loss in women or children.
“It is a very common medication,” said Dr. Louis Kavoussi, chairman of urology at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, NY. He added that finasteride has been around for decades, so its long-term safety has been demonstrated.
The drug, which blocks the body’s production of male hormones, is in a class of medications called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors.
“The effectiveness varies,” said Kavoussi, who has no ties to Merck or the companies that make generic versions of finasteride. Though some men who take it for hair loss find it “very effective,” others do not. “Same for prostate,” he said. “Some men gain quite a bit of symptom relief, other men more modest. It depends on the patient.”
Possible side effects of the finasteride include decreased libido, problems with erection and ejaculation, pain in the testicles and depression. According to drugmaker Merck’s prescribing information, patients taking the drug should promptly notify their doctor if they experience changes in their breasts, rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face or hands, or difficulty breathing or swallowing.
According to Kavoussi, “most men tolerate it pretty well.” Those who do get side effects simply stop taking the medicine, and the effects resolve.