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Propecia Side Effects Worse for Men with Neurobiological Abnormalities

Dec 22, 2016
Propecia Side Effects Worse for Men with Neuro Abnormalities

The drug Propecia (finasteride) is a very effective hair loss treatment for men. But the drug has been linked serious side effects including sexual function and fertility disorders, disorders, mood disorders, suicidal thoughts, and suicides.

According to the Post-Finasteride Syndrome Foundation (PFS Foundation), a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to raising funds for clinical research, the database of adverse drug reactions maintained by the World Health Organization's Program for International Drug Monitoring contained 13,546 adverse reaction reports associated with Propecia use as of late September 2016. The reports included 3,577 sexual function and fertility disorders, 1,526 depressed mood disorders and disturbances, and 67 completed suicides.

The personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman stay up to date with the latest research on Propecia side effects and can answer questions about filing a Propecia lawsuit.

Propecia Side Effects May be Worse for Some Men

New research suggests that Propecia side effects can be worse in men with underlying neurobiological abnormalities. A study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reports that neural circuitry overlaps with functional abnormalities in men suffering from "major depression." The study was conducted at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston by a team of 19 clinical researchers led by Dr. Shalender Bhasin, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. The researchers found that men with depression who took Propecia had "significantly lower scores for each of its domains of erectile function, sexual desire, orgasmic function, intercourse satisfaction, and overall satisfaction." "This research has several firsts, including use of the latest functional MRI imaging to identify areas of the brain effected by PFS," said Dr. John Santmann, CEO of the PFS Foundation. The foundation funded the study along with Harvard Clinical Translational Research Institute and the Center for Clinical Investigation at the Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Drug maker Merck & Co. faces more than twelve hundred lawsuits filed by men who suffered one or more adverse health effects as a result of taking Propecia. The plaintiffs accuse Merck of failing to warn patients that the sexual side effects may be permanent, continuing even after the man stopped taking the drug.

The 1 mg dose of finasteride-brand name Propecia-received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in 1997 to treat male pattern baldness. At a higher dose, under the name Proscar, finasteride is prescribed for benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate) and urinary problems. Finasteride is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor (5-ARI). Finasteride works by blocking the male hormone dihydrotestosterone, which is thought to be a precursor to hair loss.

Propecia and Proscar have been prescribed to more than one million men in the United States to treat male pattern baldness and enlarged prostate. But the drug has been linked to serious and sometimes devastating side effects. Men have experienced sexual side effects and suicidal thoughts, with some men actually committing suicide.

Side effects linked Propecia include:

  • erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • loss of sex drive
  • impotence
  • low libido
  • inability to achieve orgasm

For some patients, Propecia side effects reverse when the man stops taking Propecia; other patients report that the side effects persist after they have stopped taking Propecia. Because Propecia's effect on hair loss continues only as long as the man takes the drug, many men are reluctant to give up the drug and lose the hair they have regrown.

In 2012, the FDA ordered changes to Propecia's label to warn about the risk of sexual disorders. The agency noted that causal links were not established and that only a small percentage of men experienced these sexual side effects. But until the label change, warnings to Propecia users in the U.S. suggested that these problems typically resolve when the drug is stopped.

First Propecia Trial Set for 2017

First Propecia Trial Set for 2017

The Propecia litigation is moving forward, with the selection of bellwether cases. The first cases are expected to be ready to go to trial in fall 2017. Bellwether cases are representative cases chosen to be the first to go to trial. Early cases show the two sides how juries will respond to the types of evidence and testimony that would be presented repeatedly if other cases go to trial. Bellwether trial outcomes sometimes facilitate settlement negotiations.

Legal Help for Men Suffering Serious Propecia Side Effects

If you or a man you know has experienced suicidal thoughts, sexual dysfunction or sexual side effects after taking Propecia, Parker Waichman can offer a free, no obligation, and confidential case evaluation. To reach Parker Waichman, fill out the firm's online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).

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