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Propecia Side Effects

Reports of side effects of Propecia, Merck’s blockbuster hair loss drug, have been growing at an alarming rate in recent years, leading to hundreds of personal injury lawsuits filed by men who claim that the medication, first developed to treat enlarged prostates, can cause serious and ongoing sexual dysfunction.

According to Merck, per clinical studies, “a small number of men experienced certain sexual side effects, such as less desire for sex, difficulty in achieving an erection, or a decrease in the amount of semen. Each of these side effects occurred in less than 2% of men and went away in men who stopped taking Propecia because of them.” It is important to note, on the bottom of the Propecia products page is this statement, “This site is intended only for residents of the United States, its territories, and Puerto Rico.”

According to over 700 men who filed lawsuits against Merck, Propecia sexual side effects continue to haunt them even after ceasing to take the pills.

Research conducted by George Washington University indicated that 96 percent of the men they interviewed continued to have sexual problems more than a year after they stopped taking finasteride – Propecia. The author of the study, Dr. Michael Irwig, goes on to say, “ Our findings make me suspicious that this drug may have done permanent damage to these men. The chances that they will improve? I think it’s lower and lower the longer they have these side effects.”

Current status of Propecia

A Boston hair transplant clinic refutes the claims of hundreds of men and encourages more men to take finasteride. They advertise, “More good news about potential side effects of this hair loss treatment is that if a man were to be among the unlucky one half percent, and he kept on taking the medication for another couple of weeks, then 58 percent of the time he would revert back to normal (because the body adjusts to the drug). A full one hundred percent will go back to normal if they stop the medication. So, there are no long-term side effects to worry about. Don’t let inaccurate scare tactics dissuade you from using this great medication.”

Lawsuits continue to be filed against Merck. Most of the claimants allege Merck knew about the Propecia side effects, specifically sexual side effects, and failed to warn them. Currently, there are over 700 cases filed by men all over the United States. Patients from other countries have also filed lawsuits, including class action lawsuits against Merck associated with the side effects of Propecia.

Propecia warning label changes

The warning label for Propecia changed, over time, depending on the country. In Sweden, the label clearly stated, “In addition, the following have been reported in post-marketing use: persistence of erectile dysfunction after discontinuation of treatment.” By 2009, the Swedish Medical Products Agency concluded that finasteride may result in permanent erectile dysfunction. Shortly thereafter, Merck changed the label in other European countries to include a warning of permanent erectile dysfunction as an adverse reaction.

In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration required Merck to add this warning, “In general use, the following have been reported: breast tenderness and enlargement (tell your doctor about any changes in your breasts such as lumps, pain, or nipple discharge); depression; decrease in sex drive that continued after stopping the medication; allergic reactions including rash, itching, hives, and swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, and face; problems with ejaculation that continued after stopping medication; testicular pain; difficulty in achieving an erection that continued after stopping the medication; male infertility and/or poor quality of semen; and, in rare cases, male breast cancer. Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.”

Propecia side effects

Anyone who experiences any of the side effects listed should notify their doctor immediately. Some of the side effects may be long-term, or even for life. Although there is no known correlation between longevity of side effects and how long the drug was taken, it is still prudent to seek the advice of a doctor and create a plan to address the adverse reactions.

The possible side effects, not including sexually related effects, include swollen hands and feet, enlarged breast, sensitive breasts, feeling dizzy and/or weak, headache, skin rash, insomnia, hypotension, nausea, accumulated fluids in body tissues, prostate cancer, and depression.

The possible sexual side effects of Propecia include impotence, erectile dysfunction, infertility, testicular pain, abnormal ejaculation, ejaculation disorder, and sexual dysfunction.

Propecia sexual side effects can be serious and long-term. The fact that most men who decided to take Propecia due to hair loss did so to maintain their sexual attractiveness to their partner or potential partner makes losing their sexual virility a very hard pill to swallow. The men who have suffered from one or more of the sexual side effects are usually between 20 and 50 – important times in a man’s life for sexual activity and having children. It comes as no surprise that these men often suffer from depression and anxiety.

What men should do if they experience side effects from taking Propecia

Since balding occurs in about 50 percent of the male population, any treatment that can keep a man sporting a healthy head of hair has a good chance of being successful. Propecia is no exception. First introduced in 1997, there were more than 400,000 prescriptions written for Procecia by 1998.

Propecia has two notable downsides. It must be taken forever, or the likelihood is high that the hair grown while on the drug will disappear. The other negative aspect of taking finasteride are the dangerous, potentially life-changing side effects.

Anyone who experiences any side effects should contact their doctor immediately and discuss a plan of action. Unfortunately, there are no known cures for the sexual side effects associated with finasteride. The associated symptoms may regress and disappear, or they may persist and possibly remain permanently.

For those who experience side effects associated with taking Propecia, it may be a good choice to contact a Propecia attorney to discuss options for pursuing compensation for medical costs, psychiatric care, emotional stress for infertility, adoption fees, and other damages.

  1. - Propecia Side Effects,
  2. Men's Health - A Hair-Raising Side Effect,
  3. Medical News Today - Propecia (finasteride) Permanent Sexual Dysfunction Risk,
  4. - Latest News about persistent Propecia side effects,
  5. Propecia - 9 Out of 10 Men Improved or Maintained Hair with PROPECIA,
  6. Leonard Hair Transpant Associates – Propecia,