1 Dec 2016

CALM: Clarification On The Subject Of Testosterone-Reducing Drugs In Relation To Men Committing Suicide

J4MB: Two days ago we published a piece in relation to the written submission by CALM to the Department of Health inquiry on suicide, which appeared to be calling for testosterone-reducing drugs to be used to reduce the suicide rate of men. The text in question was in the second paragraph, reproduced here:

Despite the evidence that the risk of suicide is disproportionate to men as a whole when compared to women, research is often gender neutral or narrowed beyond gender (e.g. by sexual orientation or age). As a result, there is no specific research carried out on men and societal and environmental factors. Broader, gender specific research could reveal hidden causes of suicide that have not yet been explored.
For instance, there could be great benefit in researching the impact of testosterone reducing drugs on the rates of suicide in men, [my emphasis] however the current lens of research funding and its gender neutral approach does not provide a platform for such research.
Yesterday I emailed Jane Powell, the CEO of CALM, on the issue. She responded this morning, stating:

Hi Mike,
Our concern is that some of the drugs which reduce testosterone in men actually add to suicide, not reduce it!…
For example, Finasteride works by bringing down the levels of testosterone, potentially permanently.
The start of the Wikipedia page on Finasteride:

Finasteride, sold under the brand names Proscar and Propecia among others, is a medication used for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate) and (male) pattern hair loss.
We are happy to accept Jane Powell’s explanation of the passage in her submission.


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