hero image

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign researchers propose that finasteride, a medication commonly used for hair loss and enlarged prostate, might offer additional benefits by lowering cholesterol and decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Hair growth treatment could be beneficial to cardiovascular health

Researchers investigated whether finasteride, commonly used for hair growth and prostate health, might offer additional benefits. Analyzing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, they discovered that men taking finasteride exhibited an average cholesterol level reduction of 30 points compared to those not using the drug.

Lead study author Jaume Amengual said that they expected to witness a different pattern but it was interesting.

Researchers conducted experiments on mice to further investigate the effects of finasteride. They administered high doses of the drug and observed its impact on levels of cholesterol and atherosclerosis, the accumulation of plaque in arteries linked to heart disease. The findings mirrored those observed in humans: mice receiving the highest finasteride dose experienced notable decreases in cholesterol levels and a slowdown in the atherosclerosis progression.

The study revealed significant findings regarding the impact of finasteride on cholesterol levels. In humans, users experienced an average reduction of 30 points in cholesterol levels. In mice, positive effects on cholesterol and liver inflammation were observed at high doses of finasteride, surpassing human prescription levels, indicating the drug’s potential impact on cholesterol metabolism.

Finasteride could also benefit transgender individuals

This study presents innovative findings by utilizing both human and animal data, but it has limitations including a small sample size of human participants using finasteride and lack of control over drug dosage and duration. Additionally, the effectiveness of high doses in mice may not directly translate to humans due to metabolic differences.

Healthcare providers, including pharmacists, should monitor cholesterol levels in patients taking finasteride and consider the potential for clinical trials to confirm its cholesterol-lowering effects in humans. Furthermore, the research suggests that finasteride could benefit not only men with hair loss or prostate issues but also transgender individuals who are at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases.