Hair loss drug used by Donald Trump can cause sexual dysfunction and bad mental health, says watchdog

New boxes of the drug will carry an alert following a review by the MHRA

Rebecca Thomas
Health Correspondent
Tuesday 30 April 2024 11:58 BST
The MHRA has issued an alert over common hairloss drug
The MHRA has issued an alert over common hairloss drug (PA Wire)
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A common hair loss drug for men, used by Donald Trump, can cause suicidal thoughts and sexual dysfunction, the UK’s medicines regulator has warned.

An alert from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency warned men taking finasteride to “stay vigilant” over potential side effects impacting mental health and sexual function.

Finasteride is a medicine used to treat hair loss in men and was reportedly used by former US president Donald Trump. It is also used to treat enlarged prostates.

According to the MHRA, there have been reports the drug can cause a depressed mood, suicidal thoughts and sexual dysfunction including a decreased sex drive.

It said there is a lack of awareness over these potential side effects and so has issued a safety alert. This means packaging for the drug will include an alert to the side effects and what to do if users experience any.

Patients have been warned to inform their prescriber of any history of depression or suicidal thoughts and to immediately stop treatment and contact their doctor.

Healthcare professionals have also been asked to monitor patients for such side effects.

According to the MHRA’s database, since 2020 there have been five reports of “suicidal and self-injurious behaviour” where the outcome was fatal and 41 reports where the outcome was not fatal.

The MHRA was prompted to review the safety of the drug following concerns raised by patients over the side effects.

It found despite the product information warning of the risk of depression and suicidal ideation the side effects were not well known by prescribers and patients.

​Dr Alison Cave, MHRA Chief Safety Officer, said: “It’s crucial that patients are aware of vital information about the medicines they’re taking.​

“The new patient alert cards aim to raise awareness among men taking finasteride about the potential for psychiatric and sexual side effects, so they can make an informed decision about their treatment and know what to do if they experience these side effects.”

If you are experiencing feelings of distress, or are struggling to cope, you can speak to the Samaritans, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call or text 988, or visit to access online chat from the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. This is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.If you are in another country, you can go to to find a helpline near you.

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