Taking SSRI for anxiety/depression caused by finasteride?

Welcome to our community. Please fill in the following template as a way of introducing yourself, and helping others to understand your background and situation.

Where are you from (country)?
Denmark

How did you find this forum (Google search – if so, what search terms? Via link from a forum or website – if so, what page? Other?)
Google

What is your current age, height, weight?
25, 185CM, 85KG

What specific drug did you use (finasteride, dutasteride, saw palmetto, isotretinoin/Accutane, fluoxetine, sertraline, citalopram, leuprorelin, etc…)?
Finasteride

What dose did you take (eg. 1 mg/day, 1 mg every other day etc.)?
0,5MG/day

What condition was being treated with the drug?
Baldness

For how long did you take the drug (weeks/months/years)?
4 weeks

How old were you, and WHEN (date) did you start the drug?
25

How old were you when you quit, and WHEN (date) did you quit?
25

How did you quit (cold turkey or taper off)?
Cold Turkey

How long into your usage did you notice the onset of side effects?
After a couple of days

What side effects did you experience that have yet to resolve since discontinuation?
Anxiety, Gynecomastia, fatigue

Check the boxes that apply. You can save your post first, then interactively check/uncheck the boxes by clicking on them. If your symptoms change, please update your list.

Sexual
[ x] Loss of Libido / Sex Drive
[ x] Erectile Dysfunction
Complete Impotence
[ x] Loss of Morning Erections
[ x] Loss of Spontaneous Erections
Loss of Nocturnal Erections
Watery Ejaculate
Reduced Ejaculate
Inability or Difficulty to Ejaculate / Orgasm
Reduced Sperm Count / Motility

Mental
[ x] Emotional Blunting / Emotionally Flat
[x ] Difficulty Focusing / Concentrating
[x ] Confusion
Memory Loss / Forgetfulness
[x ] Stumbling over Words / Losing Train of Thought
Slurring of Speech
[x ] Lack of Motivation / Feeling Passive / Complacency
[ x] Extreme Anxiety / Panic Attacks
[ x] Severe Depression / Melancholy
[ x] Suicidal Thoughts

Physical
[x ] Penile Tissue Changes (narrowing, shrinkage, wrinkled)
Penis curvature / rotation on axis
[x ] Testicular Pain
[ x] Testicular Shrinkage / Loss of Fullness
Genital numbness / sensitivity decrease
Weight Gain
[ x] Gynecomastia (male breasts)
Muscle Wastage
Muscle Weakness
Joint Pain
Dry / Dark Circles under eyes

Misc
Prostate pain
Persistent Fatigue / Exhaustion
Stomach Pains / Digestion Problems
Constipation / “Poo Pellets”
Vision - Acuity Decrease / Blurriness
Tinnitus (ringing or high pitched sound in ears)
Hearing loss
Increased hair loss
Frequent urination
Lowered body temperature

Other (please explain)

What (if any) treatments have you undertaken to recover from your side effects since discontinuation of the drug?
SSRI

If you have pre or post-drug blood tests, what hormonal changes have you encountered since discontinuing the drug (please post your test results in the “Blood Tests” section and link to them in your post)?
Haven’t received the results yet

Anything not listed in the above questions you’d like to share about your experience?

Tell us your story, in your own words, about your usage and side effects experienced while on/off the drug.

I started being on finasteride due to hair loss, however discontinued as soon as I saw breast tissue growing on one breast (4 weeks into the medication). A week later I experienced a really bad panic attack and I am since then (for 11 days) suffering from constant anxiety, depression, lack of motivation and interest, impotence etc. I have been on SSRI for two days in order to cope with my anxiety and depression symptoms. What’re your experiences/thoughts on doing so? I have no hope at the moment other than that, and that even makes me feel worse as the medication is showing severe side effects at the beginning.

Welcome !!

I’m sorry to hear you have had trouble with finasteride , it’s no fun as a lot of us here know , I wish you the best and hopefully a speedy recovery within the 3 months .

SSRI’s are generally given out like candy by most doctors as you know , so they are likely always going to be offered to you however there’s a similar risk of PSSD from SSRIs in particular that seems to operate under a similar mechanism to PFS , causing similar side effects that do not resolve after quitting .
I’d suggest caution with those!
I know how rough it is though with depression and anxiety and I remember well how those kind of drugs can make life seem live able again and just ‘easier’ . I would look into Mirtazapine (Remeron) perhaps and I myself am interested in using Amitriptyline if things get any worse . These are anti depressants that are not SSRI class and a few people have used them on here to varying degrees of success .
Best of luck anyhow !

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Not a good idea. Keep kalm. The time is gold.

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Don’t do it man, they could make you worse due to their antiandrogenic mechanism of action.

I’ve taken a few drugs that are antiandrogenic, and they always make me feel worse, like clock work, every time.

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I would advise against any antidepressants. I was suicidal for 4 months though and one day I got better. Still having brain fog and fatigue, but will never touch antidepressants as they do more harm than good imho

Guys I just received my blood test and it seems like short period of finasteride treatment has messed with all my hormone levels. Keep yourself away from the drug. I’ll start hormone therapy from tomorrow on.

Yeah that’s pretty low dude , was the blood test done in the morning or the afternoon?

Afternoon. The last couple of weeks have been psychotic for me, with severe anxiety and depression. Today I guess my hormone levels have balanced out so my symptoms are not severe anymore luckily. It’s going for the better.

I avoided them for 2 years but fell into a severely suicidal state. Been taking half a dose (5mg) of escitalopram for like 5 months. Seemed to a help a bit at first, now I don’t know.

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I strongly advise you not to do this, at least not so early after developing problems from finasteride. Several patients over the years here have tried resolving their PFS symptoms with hormone therapy only to have no change or even a worsening in their symptoms. You can read more about it here:

As others have also said, if what you have is PFS, SSRIs should be avoided.

It has been less than 2 weeks since you ceased your use of finasteride. Please give yourself more time to see if you can recover naturally. There have been some members here who turn up in a similar state to the one you find yourself in and then find their situation improve significantly quite quickly after.

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Guys, I found out that my T4 is rocket high which is indicating hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism generally include anxiety.

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Update: just received recent blood test results and it seems like my testosterone has reached a normal level.

My pre finasteride T was 17nmol. It went from 5 to 20nmol within a few weeks. My only issue is an overactive thyroid indicating hyperthyroidism. I experience all symptoms (mental ones including being anxious, nervous, fatigue etc).

I have no sexual sides.

Here are the thyroid results from my first blood test (24/6) and second blood test (01/7). The T4 values have increased, TSH has further decreased.

First test:

Second test:

I’ve recently been taking Wellbutrin (not in the SSRI class) for depression caused by this horrible PFS and while it seems to be working, it makes my skin extremely sunlight sensitive, which I don’t mind, but now was tested and think it’s the cause of a rapid drop in white blood cells, way below the lower limit, which is dangerous. Because of that, I now have to stop a medication that seems to be working, and go through its withdrawal symptoms.

PFS is a such a challenge and extremely problematic, but I’m definitely not going on SSRIs due to the risks mentioned by others.

Why do you assume your white cells count sre related with wellbutrin?
I have them also low, and i am not taking it.

It’s always been low for me, but dropped to half of what it was in the period after Wellbutrin. My hematologist said Wellbutrin is a known cause of low WBC and it’s also listed in its warnings. Unfortunately, I don’t have any lab results before PFS (it’s been 12 years) so I don’t know if PFS contributed to the low WBC count.

On the lab side, liver function is also off, and I attribute that to PFS.

What mental sides are you suffering from? And have these sides somewhat improved after quitting fin (in terms of the following months)?

I took finasteride for less than a week over a decade ago. I started to feel physical and mental sides immediately. The mental sides included memory loss, loss for words, inability to form complex sentences (as I used too), loss of train of thought, inability to focus, forgetfulness, complete emotional bluntness, etc…

This was before I knew anything about the mental sides and had attributed all these to a brain tumor or radiation exposure or something unexplainable. It’s only when I learned about PFS and read others experiences the same thing that everything made sense.

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What about anxiety? And did you recover from these sides?

I have not fully recovered from any of them, but either they improved slightly or I got used to them as they are the “new normal”.

In the 12 years, the only things that have helped have been exercise, healthy eating, intermittent fasting and keeping body fat down as much as I can keep it. These things are very tough to do consistently, but when I do, I feel better.

The only memorably happy moment I’ve had in over a decade is when I was between jobs and joined a Bikram Yoga place (hot yoga, 90 minute sessions). I would go 3-4 time a week and only consume super healthy foods during that month. I lost a lot of weight (over 10 pounds) and remember being “happy” as I walked there. I specifically remember telling myself that this is how normal people must feel.