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Dry eye / MGD caused by Propecia?

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  • Dry eye / MGD caused by Propecia?

    Is anyone else here currently taking Propecia and having dry eye / MGD issues? I started taking Propecia Nov 08 and in the summer of 09 I was diagnosed with MGD. Ever since I've tried everything - warm compresses. lid scrubs, doxycycline, fish oil + NAC supplements, tear drops, etc etc but nothing seems to work. Every day I look in the mirror and I see multiple clogged meibomian glands on both lids and in both eyes and I just feel so helpless. Just recently I came across this article:

    After reading this I am worried that my MGD might have been caused by taking Propecia. I have stopped taking Propecia (After 17 months - I rather go bald then go through the hell of dry eyes / MGD) and I pray that one day my glands will unclog and revert back to norm.

  • #2
    I was a Propecia user (for 18 months), but I'm not convinced that it's the culprit. I developed dry eye symptoms and changes in my vision (seemingly overnight) a year ago. My dry eye isn't severe, and I don't notice any clogged glands. My primary concern is the vision changes: floaters, after-images, and ghosting.

    I'm wondering if you have any of the same vision issues?

    Here's a full write-up for you:


    • #3
      Just posted this in another thread, likely to be of interest to you:

      I am 22 years of age and started using Propecia in October 2009. I had noticed my hairline had begun to recede since leaving high school, not at an incredible speed but enough to make me unhappy about it. In early 2010 my hairline started to come back, which was very pleasing. In November 2009, soon after starting on the drug, I noticed I was getting very dry eyes. I didn't contemplate that this might be related to my use of Propecia. I am a contact lens user, and the contact lenses I was wearing at the time, because of their water content, shielded much of the discomfort. My eyes were at their worst when I wore my glasses. I saw my doctor about the dry eyes and he said none of his other Propecia patients had experienced that side effect, but he couldn't rule it out as being the cause. I decided to stop using Propecia after just under 7 months on the drug. I have been off the drug for just over 5 weeks now and very gradually my eyes have improved. This week my eyes feel more or less normal, so I am quite sure that Propecia is the cause of the dryness.

      Despite this undesirable side effect, I desperately want to stay on the drug to keep my hair (I'm now concerned that the small amount of hair I've regrown is already falling out). My doctor didn't seem to be averse to me staying on Propecia even if it is the cause, and said we could look to other solutions to counter the dryness. I'm booked in to see him tomorrow afternoon, so will post here again at a later date when I have more news. I expect I'll be going to see an opthamologist in the near future to discuss these options, and in particular (a) whether having punctal plugs inserted into my eyes would provide the necessary relief, and (b) whether there is any chance continuing to use Propecia for a long period would actually cause damage to my eyes.


      • #4
        Originally posted by abnz View Post
        (b) whether there is any chance continuing to use Propecia for a long period would actually cause damage to my eyes.
        While I'm not certain that Propecia caused my dry eye symptoms, I'll tell you this: if Propecia is the cause, and I could go back in time and tell myself not to take it I would.

        My symptoms are not debilitating or painful, but knowing that they may have been caused by an elective medication is kind of a bummer.

        While dry eye is not on the list of possible side effects, I would encourage you to read the information presented here:


        • #5
          BEWARE of Propecia

          I too took Propecia and have dry eyes!

          Propecia is a dangerous drug and it reduces your testosterone. It can have the same permanent effect on your testosterone levels as anabolic steroids do, although it is only supposed to work on your dihydrotestosterone.
          Read on it is a dangerous drug with A LOT of scientific literature to show

          I wouldn't touch finasteride (Propecia) with a ten foot pole. It also has the potential to COMPLETELY RUIN PERMANENTLY your sex life. Please stay away from this drug.

          I took it and I am screwed too!
          But I also had Lasik, so I don't know the exact culprit.


          Good luck!

          Again, stay away. The stuff is rat poison and it kills your prostate! I am not exagerating!


          • #6

            Although I love to read all scientific info, I think that Propecia website is a bit suspect. The claims they make are completely unsubstantiated. It seems like one of those crazy conspiracy theory websites. I've been taking a low dose for close to 20 years now, and although I have dry eye now I highly doubt its due to 1 mg of Propecia per day. And why would it take 20 years to show up ? I tapered of to 1 mg every three days and have not noticed any difference in hair loss or dry eye symptoms. I could actually be a poster boy for Propecia. It definitely stops the effect of DHT. My acne disappeared and my hair loss was arrested and I actually grew back what was lost. You have to take it early, when you first notice you are losing hair. I still notice oil on my face and my eyes, so I doubt its the cause. I did read articles on men taking 4 mg Finasteride per day for prostate problems, having eye issues though, but that is 4 times the dose of Propecia


            • #7
              fundryeyes, you are crazy for saying that. Read the website more closely. Just because you have invested 20 years of your life taking a dangerous drug which is currently ruining men's lives does not mean you need to still promote it. PROPECIA RUINS PEOPLE'S LIVES, albeit a small percentage of men, but would you want to be the one roling the dice if you knew it could make you permanently impotent. I THINK NOT!
              Propecia could very well be causing the dry eye. It being proven a cause for almost everything else. It is a very powerful endocrine disrupter. and Yes, even at 1mg per day. There is a reason there is a huge warning label on the package saying BEWARE: pregnant women should not even touch a pill because this could cause birth defects in their unborn child.
              Go ahead, keep rolling the dice. I just think you're crazy though!! Spend $5,000 for hairtransplants if u dont want to be bald. Are your eyes or a healthy sex life worth $5,000 ?! I think so!!!


              • #8
                I just wanted to add my $.02 here on this thread to confirm that my use of finasteride definitely led to the very severe MGD I am now experiencing. For anyone who might be reading this and considering that their use of finasteride aka Propecia aka Proscar - may be a culprit in their dry eye problems, I can only sympathize and implore you to stop using it immediately. In my case, it took approximately three years before I began to notice some rather serious dry eye issues and symptoms. And as this is not noted as one of the side effects of this drug, it was only through my own online research, that I was able to discover the link between other men who had been on or were still using this drug, and their dry eye problems. I then began to read about the research and testing done linking anti-androgen/lowered testosterone levels and dry eye.

                A recent meibography revealed that I have over 50-70% dropout of my glands. Now, I cannot say for sure whether my use of finasteride was solely responsible for this, but I can say that without question it certainly was one of the main factors.

                As of now, having tried so many treatments and drops to help alleviate my dry eyes, this stands as the biggest regret I have in my life.


                • #9
                  Personally, I'm more suspicious of the Accutane I took in high school, 15 years before my dry eye got to the point that I wanted to see a doctor about it. Accutane even damaged the glands that provide oil to my lips permanently, I've been using chapstick daily for 20+ years because of that drug.

                  That said, and because I'm never one to discount the potentially damaging effects on any drug, you guys might find my history (and timing) of Propecia interesting:

                  3-15-04 to 9-17-05, and 12-19-05 to 7-15-07 I was on a daily dose of Propecia.

                  And the day I saw a doctor for my dry eye for the first time? May 1st, 2007.

                  So who knows. Thing is, even if Propecia is responsible, at this point what difference does it make? All we can do now is find a solution.


                  • #10
                    Just a quick follow up to my own question about what we can do about it, I was reading in ******'s book that "since research indicates that evaporative dry eye may develop as a result of androgen deficiency and androgen reduction is slower in men, it may take decades for a significant reduction to have an effect with regards to dry eye. The exception seems to be when antiandrogen therapy is used to treat prostate cancer; studies have shown that meibomian gland dysfunction and evaporate dry eye may develop in these cases".

                    Finasteride is what he is talking about. So now I have to ask, did two years of Propecia lead to some sort of permanent change to androgen levels, even after quitting the drug. I'm thinking I might have my androgen levels tested in the near future. If something was a miss, hormone therapy might be worth a try.