Propecia Side Effect May Increase Male Breast Cancer Risk – Health Canada. FDA Says Prostate Drugs Can Cause High-Grade Prostate Cancer. In August 2011, regulators in Canada announced that the labels of Finasteride (Propecia & Proscar) products sold in Canada would be updated to include information regarding their possible association with male breast cancer. According to Health Canada, male breast cancer has been reported in a small number of patients worldwide with both the 1 mg and 5 mg formulations of finasteride, though most have been associated with the 5mg formulation. Health Canada has advised that men taking finasteride contact their doctors should they experience breast enlargement, breast lumps, pain or tenderness, nipple discharge, or any other changes while taking the drug.
Propecia and Aggressive Prostate Cancer
If you used Propecia (finasteride 1 mg) and were diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer or male breast cancer, this drug could be to blame. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has mandated that the labels for Propecia and other drugs in a class known as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, or 5-ARIs, include warnings about an increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer, a more serious and aggressive form of the disease.
High-grade prostate cancer grows and spreads faster compared to low-grade prostate cancer. Additionally, the FDA is investigating a possible link between the use of Propecia or ProScar and the development of Male Breast Cancer.
Propecia lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP. We are currently offering free lawsuit evaluations to anyone who was diagnosed with any of these serious side effects while using Propecia. Propecia (finasteride) 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, or 5-ARIs: High-Grade Prostate Cancer, Male Breast Cancer and Erectile Dysfunction.
Propecia (finasteride 1mg) is used to treat male-pattern hair loss. Other 5-ARIs, including a 5 mg dose of finasteride called Proscar, are used to treat enlarged prostate. The FDA Propecia prostate cancer warning was based on two studies that indicated men who took 5-ARIs were more likely to develop aggressive prostate tumors compared to men on a placebo. One of the trials reviewed by the FDA, the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT), followed more than 18,000 men aged 55 or over for up to seven years who were treated with either finasteride 5 mg or a placebo. While the men in the finasteride group had a lower overall risk of developing prostate cancer, that was due mainly to a reduction in the occurrence of low-grade tumors. There was, however, an increase with high-grade prostate cancers with finasteride (1.8%) versus placebo (1.1%), the FDA said.
Propecia and Male Breast Cancer
There is growing evidence that use of Propecia may be associated with male breast cancer. A 2004 study published in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported that breast cancer had been observed in some men using finasteride. In 2009, an analysis by the U.K. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency found a total of 53 men worldwide on finasteride had developed breast cancer. In May 2010, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced it was investigating a possible link between finasteride and male breast cancer. New information regarding a possible risk of male breast cancer was added to the U.S. labels of drugs containing finasteride, including Propecia, in October of that year. Men taking Propecia are advised to call their doctor if they experience breast lumps, pain, nipple discharge, or other breast changes, as these may be signs of male breast cancer.
Propecia and Erectile Dysfunction
Men taking Propecia have also been known to suffer from erectile dysfunction. Propecia and similar drugs work by blocking androgen, which plays a key role in erectile function, libido and ejaculation. The makers of Propecia and other drugs containing finasteride have reported that up to 8 percent of users experienced sexual problems, while a 2008 paper published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine said the true number could be as high as 38 percent, depending on dose and duration.
Another study published in the same journal in March 2011 found that erectile dysfunction caused by drugs like Propecia or ProScar, which contain finasteride may sometimes be irreversible. That study looked at 71 men who reported erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems while taking finasteride. The average duration of persistent sexual side effects was 40 months after they stopped taking the medication. About 20 percent of the men still had side effects more than six years after stopping finasteride.
Did Merck Know About Propecia’s Potentially Devastating Side Effects?
September 11, 2019 – PARK CITY, Utah — The widow of a man who committed suicide after taking Propecia (finasteride) continues to press a lawsuit she filed against Merck. Her husband died by his own hand in his 40s after taking Propecia for several years and, after feeling the overwhelming side effects of the drug, stopped taking the drug. He was off his prescribed Propecia regimen for almost one year when unyielding depression caused him to commit suicide. The man’s widow says that he experienced sexual dysfunction and diminished libido, which would ultimately lead to his depression. Reuters uncovered information that suggests Merck, the makers of Propecia, knew that if quitting the Propecia treatments would not guarantee the reversal of the sexual dysfunction and relieve depression, the company’s fortunes would dramatically suffer if the company disclosed that information publicly.
Pharmaceutical companies, like every business, exist to make a profit for shareholders or owners. The corporate form itself is neither good nor bad. However, the motives of the people who run the company dictate the public perception of the business and its ultimate profitability. A vice president in charge of marketing Propecia for Merck testified in a deposition that Merck’s Propecia sales would irrevocably suffer if the general population of men knew that taking Propecia would adversely affect their sex life for a long time or permanently. Consequently, Merck never disclosed the possible long-term side effects of taking Propecia.
Merck claimed to have studied the long-term effects of Propecia use. The company reported the result of a study that allegedly showed a large number of men who experienced sexual dysfunction during the first year of Propecia treatment had experienced relief from those symptoms by the fifth year. The information is patently misleading because the study fails to account for the number of men who quit the study because of sexual dysfunction during the second, third, and fourth years of the study. The fabricated study allowed Merck to advise patients that all men experienced a reversal of their symptoms if they stopped taking the drug. Merck’s claim, as evidenced by the current lawsuit, could prove to be false.
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