New Study Links Hair Loss Products to Depression, But Only for 18 Months

Despite recent rumors within the hair loss industry, products that combat hair loss are not linked to risk of suicide.

Roughly 40% of men end up having noticeable hair loss by the time they turn 35 years old. Many of these men often seek cosmetic alternates in order to prevent hair loss and keep themselves looking young. Recently, a few rumors have emerged that link hair loss medications to an increased risk in self-harm.

CTV News reports that a common class of medications used to treat both hair loss (in minor doses) and urinary symptoms in men can lead to depression and thoughts of self-harm, although in very rare circumstances.

Although the study does not link these medications to an increased risk of suicide, it resulted in a link between thoughts self-harm and depression.

“It is concerning that we found a small but significant increase in the risk of self-harm and depression,” said Dr. Blayne Welk, a urologist at Western University in London, Ontario, and lead other of the study. “If that depression does happen, it’s something you should talk to your doctor about.”

According to WebMD, the male pattern baldness medications may only result in the risk of depression and increased self-harm thoughts in older men.

“There have been concerns raised by patients and regulatory agencies regarding serious psychiatric adverse effects [in users of 5ARIs], added Welk.

The study, published online in JAMA Internal Medicine, showed no elevation in suicide risk for men using any of these products and was never intended to prove any kind of cause-and-effect.

The researchers did find an 88% increase of risk of self-harm within the first 18 months of using the medications, as well as a risk of depression increase of 94% during the first 18 months of treatment. However, after the 18 month time period, the risk virtually disappeared.

Researchers concluded that the findings should be discussed in certain cases, but the benefits of the 5ARIs medications outlay the low risk of psychiatric effects.

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