Propecia Linked to Serious Sexual Dysfunction

Propecia, also known by its active ingredient, Finasteride, was originally developed by Merck as a treatment for enlarged prostate. The FDA approved Proscar (5 mg) in 1992 for the treatment of benign prostate hyperplasia, and Propecia (1 mg) in 1997 for the treatment of baldness. Both drugs contain Finasteride, the same active ingredient that helps prevent hair loss.

Sales of Propecia brought in $429 million in revenue in 2008 (sixteen years later).

In order to maintain the results from Finasteride, it must be taken on an ongoing basis.

A lawsuit has been filed against Merck & Co. for failing to fully disclose the serious side effects of their drug, Propecia. The lawsuit is seeking compensation on behalf of all the men who have taken Propecia and suffered from the severe side effects in the form of sexual dysfunction and mental impairment. In some cases, the side effects were permanent.

Those patients who were affected claim that if Merck had stronger warnings on the label, they would never have taken this drug. Further, the lawsuit claims that European regulators had warned Merck about these dangers, but the company did nothing to protect the American market. It also asserts that once Propecia is discontinued, the side effects will go away. This is untrue.

The lawsuit claims that the patients started using the drug as a remedy for baldness, hoping that the drug would help with hair growth. However, the suit alleges that after just one month of use, they noticed obvious changes in their behavior, loss of sexual desire, as well as extreme anxiety in social situations.

The victims claim that the negative effects of Propecia have destroyed their lives, and are still experiencing the horrible side effects five years after having stopped this drug completely. One victim claimed the he suffered such severe symptoms, it ruined his marriage and his wife left him. Another lawsuit claims that a victim suffered loss of concentration, forcing him to drop out of law school.  The lawsuit claims that despite the numerous complaints from patients and physicians, Merck continued marketing this drug, still without a strong warning on its label, risking the safety of unsuspecting new patients who had no idea of the serious risks.

One of the victims experienced trouble breathing, hypertension, anxiety attacks and memory loss three years after he stopped taking the drug. Many of the victims experienced breathlessness, insomnia, depression, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, impotence, nipple discharge after using the drug.  However, they all agree that the drug worked so well as far as rejuvenation of new hair growth, but ruined their sex lives, practically leaving them impotent for the rest of their lives. Ironic that these men took this drug to gain the confidence to talk to women, yet this very drug made them impotent.

The victims claim that they have experienced sexual anesthesia, sexual anhedonia, which is the worst of all the sexual dysfunctions, not going away during the lifetime of an individual. Most of the victims have also experienced psychiatric, neurocognitive, and neurological side effects, suicidal ideation, bipolar mood disorder, hypersensitivity, cognitive dysfunction, social withdrawal, and lethargy. The lawsuit asserts that most of the victims suffered irreversible side effects in the form of crashed endocrine systems, breast enlargement, male breast cancer, and swelling of the lips and face.

The lawsuit claims that these side effects have affected the lives of many, young men in their twenties, as they are now infertile and would require medical intervention if they wish to produce children.

Due to the intense influence on hormones, Propecia can cause severe birth defects in unborn children. The drug’s label warns that women should not handle crushed tablets if there is a chance they can be pregnant.

Propecia has recently been linked in studies to high-grade prostate cancer, the most deadly form of the disease. The FDA has required that the Warnings and Precautions section of the labels of Propecia and other 5-alpha reductase inhibitor (5-ARI) drugs be updated to include information about this risk.

Just about all drugs, (prescription, as well as over the counter medications), come with the risk of side effects, but some are more serious than others.  Taking a drug like Propecia to treat some hair loss should not lead to permanent sexual dysfunction or cancer.  These pharmaceutical companies should be held accountable for their negligence. They knew Propecia caused serious and potentially permanent side effects in patients, especially after European regulators informed them, yet they still did not change the warning labels, which could have protected the public. Is this justice?

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