Starting Lexapro (SSRI)

After two and a half years of feeling terrible after taking Finasteride for a few days, I have decided to give SSRIs a shot. I have not taken any form of medication since Finasteride. I run almost everyday and eat what some would call a heart healthy diet of chicken/salmon, rice and veggies. I also quit drinking alcohol 3 months ago. For me, time has now been deemed a nonfactor in improving my health.

I started 10 mg Lexapro a few days ago after a week on 5 mg. This is what every single doctor I have seen over the years has prescribed me. (I did take Zoloft 8 years ago for anxiety, panic, and depression. I was on it for a year). Im hoping to improve my mood, anxiety, and depression with this but my ultimate goal is to get where I was before Finasteride. Biggest issues for me being, not feeling like myself, physically weak and shaky, bouts of anxiety and depression on top of it.

I have been reading up on SSRIs and its treatment for panic disorder and its affect on GABA and other neurosteroids. My thought process and what I have discussed with my doctor is treating my panic disorder with SSRIs can potentially normalize these to have a positive effect on my central nervous system. And by ‘normalize’ I mean Finasteride could have thrown me off from what I had been set on due to my use of Zoloft a few years before taking Finasteride. Eh logically it makes some sense especially with my physical symptoms that have knocked me out of the gym.

Im going to take my doctors advice now because at the rate I’m going, I wont make it through this.

Spoiler Alert for those that might caution me with SSRI use: I dont care about sexual side effects at all.

SSRIs cause more than sexual symptoms. They can cause all symptoms that Finasteride does. The staff and some scientists have long suspected that PSSD and PFS are identical conditions.

I understand your desire for relief from your symptoms, but there is a serious risks that you get worse across all departments. Please use the search function for user experiences with SSRIs,

Good luck!


Yeah I understand. I am at the end of the road and have no other options than to pursue medical help. Having taken Zoloft in the past and not had anywhere near the extreme side effects from Finasteride I figured I should be ok.

Yeah Im just frustrated and frankly exhausted pursuing help with PFS. This site seems to only be good for venting. If I wasnt absolutely broke and on the brink of being homeless I would be able to pursue it further. This drug has been around for like 25 years I wouldve expected something to be done about it by now. But oh well.

Surely you can take something other than a drug known to cause the exact same condition?

I’d say over 200 patients banding together to raise over $130k for new research, and contribute over a dozen public stories about the condition, is more than just venting.

I understand you’re frustrated but objectively there is a lot happening to move this issue forward, finally. Everyone in this fight is valuable. Reach out if you want to talk or get involved.


This condition can’t possibly get any worse, until it gets worse.

Really, I can’t count the number of times over the years I have read stories of people with PFS and other post-drug conditions say they are at their wits end and absolutely MUST undertake some treatment to improve their quality of life, then it results in them worsening the situation. I’m guilty of it also, to the point of becoming MUCH worse for over a year.

A couple suggestions:

  • Search this site for “zoloft, prozac, lexapro, SSRI, etc” keywords prior to 2018 (when we welcomed post-SSRI patients) to see what the general consensus is for PFS patients who took an SSRI and reported the outcome here.

  • Search pubmed for literature reviews and meta-analyses of the safety and efficacy of SSRIs in the general population. They barely outperform placebo in independent (not drug-industry funded) trials, and it has been suggested this may be due to patients mistaking changes in mental state induced by the drugs as a genuine anti-depressant effect. At least finasteride and Accutane are generally accepted as effective against the conditions they treat. I don’t think the same can be said for SSRIs.

  • Read some PSSD stories and be aware that there is no evidence PFS is protective against further worsening and/or new symptoms. If anything, it seems like you are more likely to get burnt.

  • Be aware that SSRIs have been observed to be associated with sexual dysfunction during treatment in up to ~%60 of those taking them.

If you aren’t dissuaded from taking it, please report the outcome here using a self-reporting form in your member story.


Suicide is too close of an option for me to not do anything. I have tried pretty much everything besides what my doctors have recommended.

Im willing to give any of my DNA or samples to research for PFS. Is there somewhere I can do this?

Yes there’s an upcoming study. You can apply to submit a sample. See the text at the top of the page.

I applied for the Study.

The fact that they are taking penile tissue sample makes me think its so unrelated to my symptoms though. I had ball ache for the first 6 months which is the only thing really related to sexual symptoms I guess.

What can they get from penile tissue sample? Hormone levels or something?

They’re expanding on Baylor study. Baylor did RNA sequencing (they looked at what parts of the DNA that was active, aka epigenetics).

PFSN will check the chromatin structure of the AR promoter (?) if I recall. Basically they will go one step deeper than Baylor did.

The chromatin structure determines how “hard” your DNA is packed. For it to be expressed it need to be unpacked for RNA to be able to copy it. So I guess they will see if the AR promoter region is more unpacked than in controls, and if that could explain the increased AR content in penile skin that’s been confirmed twice by now.

I could remember it wrong though, maybe @Sugarhouse can chime in.

1 Like

That’s more or less accurate. Our study will look at two things:

  1. Chromatin structure
  2. Methylation in the AR promoter region

Both of those can be obtained from any tissue sample where the AR is expressed. As the AR is most expressed in the prostate, genitals and brain, it makes sense to use tissue from one of those areas. Prostate and brain are obviously too difficult so penile skin is the next best.

We may be running another genetic study in parallel but that’s TBD and something we’re in discussions with researchers about.


I do hope it works out to give you some relief if you go forward with it.


Did you end up starting the SSRI? I completely understand why it’s a risk, and disregarded here. But I’ve had positive success with Prozac personally.

1 Like

Yeah, been on it a couple weeks now. Havent noticed much so far.

Are you still using Prozac?

Yeah, not much yet. Doing 10mg, every other day.