What is Propecia Used to Treat?
Propecia is used to treat male pattern hair loss (MPHL), also called androgenic alopecia. It was the first and only prescription oral medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat hair loss in men. Propecia is not indicated for use by women.
How Does Propecia Work?
Finasteride, the active ingredient in Propecia, belongs to a class of drugs called 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors that work by stopping the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which can shut down hair follicles and cause baldness.
How Effective is it?
Both short and long-term studies have found that Propecia is considerably effective at treating hair loss in men. However, if you are considering treatment with Propecia, you should be aware that the drug’s benefits come at the risk of a number of serious side effects.
Which Side Effects Have Been Linked to Propecia?
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Genital shrinkage
- Penile fibrosis (Peyronie’s disease)
- Less desire for sex
- Testicular pain
- Ejaculation disorders
- Decrease in the amount of semen
- Body disfigurement
- Endocrine system failure
- Male breast cancer
- Breast lumps
- Breast pain
- Nipple discharge
- Prostate cancer
- Memory loss
- Slurring of speech
- Dissociative states
- And more
How Can Propecia Cause Sexual Dysfunction?
At least 1.8% of Propecia users complained of decreased libido during the drug’s pre-approval clinical trials; another 1.3% claimed they became impotent, and another 1.2% said they developed ejaculation disorders.
Real-world experience with Propecia has shown that sexual side effects may be far more common than in clinical trials. A 2013 review published in the journal Expert Opinion on Drug Safety found that up to 9% of men taking Propecia or other 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors experienced erectile dysfunction.
Do Sexual Side Effects Continue Even After Quitting Propecia?
Despite results from early clinical trials, which showed a return to normal sexual function after patients discontinued treatment with Propecia, a percentage of men claimed they were still experiencing sexual complications for months or even years after quitting the drug.
What Does the FDA say about Propecia?
In April 2012, the FDA issued a Drug Safety Communication regarding adverse events associated with Propecia. From 1998 to 2011, the agency received at least 421 injury reports from men who took the drug. Of the 421 reports, 59 indicated sexual dysfunction lasting 3 or more months after quitting the drug.
What is Post-Finasteride Syndrome?
Post-finasteride syndrome (PFS) is a condition in which the adverse side effects of Propecia do not get better after treatment with the drug has ended. PFS can have life-altering effects on the sexual, emotional and even physical health of men with the condition. In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported finasteride-induced suicidal and self-injurious behavior was up at least 33%.
Is There a Class Action?
To date, no class action lawsuit has been filed in the Propecia litigation. However, all federal lawsuits alleging sexual side effects from the drug have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. As of June 2016, more than 700 complaints were pending in the MDL.
Have There Been Any Settlements?
So far, no significant settlements have been reached in the Propecia litigation.
Do I qualify for a Lawsuit?
If you took Propecia and and developed sexual side effects or were diagnosed with cancer, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Filing a lawsuit can help you recoup damages you suffered from taking the drug.