Propecia Side Effects: What Merck Isn't Telling You

Propecia may treat male pattern baldness for some, but what Merck isn't telling men is that side effects like erectile dysfunction (ED) can be permanent. This failure to warn consumers has resulted in numerous Propecia lawsuits filed against the pharmaceutical giant.

Propecia vs. Proscar: What's the Difference?

Consumers are often confused about the relationship between Proscar and Propecia – both manufactured by Merck & Co. However, both are essentially the same drug, but given in different dosages. Here are the basic differences:

  • Proscar. Proscar was originally approved for the treatment of men with an enlarged prostate. However, as men began to report decreased hair loss, and even hair regrowth when taking Proscar for the enlarged prostate, clinical studies were formed to evaluate the drug’s benefits for hair loss and male pattern baldness. When it was confirmed that the drug could in fact prevent hair loss in some patients, then a lower dose of the drug was created and re branded as Propecia and approved by the FDA.
  • Propecia. Propecia is prescribed for male pattern hair loss or male pattern balding, a condition medically known as androgenic alopecia. The drug works essentially by blocking the formation of certain types of androgen – the male sex hormone.

There are generic versions of these drugs on the market known as finasteride and finpecia, as well as other brand name drugs sold under the names Avodart and Jalyn (bot manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline) which act similarly – but may also cause increased health risks and side effects.

Propecia Side Effects Include ED, Depression & More

The most recent side effects being reported for these drugs include erectile dysfunction (ED), abnormal ejaculation such as decreased volume, testicular pain, abnormal sexual function, depression and impaired cognitive functioning. There have also been some clinical studies that suggest a higher incident rate of high-grade prostate cancer in patients being treated with any of these drugs.

Many of these side effects, especially the sexual side effects, were known about and were contained in the drug's labeling. The revelation, according to allegations in the numerous Propecia injury lawsuits, has been that, in the case of sexual dysfunction, many people have begun reporting persistent side effects – meaning that diminished libido, erectile dysfunction and others are continuing even after they’ve stopped using the drugs. In fact, some studies are showing that the side effects may be irreversible – something consumers were not warned about.

Medical Studies Highlight Dangerous Propecia Side Effects

There have been two major medical studies published on Propecia side effects. The first study done was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2006. It showed that there was a potential increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer with medications like Propecia and Avodart. Initially, it was thought that the drugs would actually help to prevent prostate cancers and forms of prostate cancers. However, the study showed that while there was some benefit to the drugs in helping to prevent low-grade prostate cancer, there were also an increased number of patients taking the drugs that developed high-grade prostate cancer.

More recently, an article published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported that nearly every man who was talked to as part of a study that was taking Propecia for approximately six months reported some sort of sexual side effect after taking the drug. Those side effects ranged from decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, problems with orgasms and so forth. Additionally, some of those men reported that their symptoms continued indefinitely – meaning even after they stopped taking the medication.

If you've been injured by Propecia, contact an experienced Propecia injury lawyer to discuss your situation so that you can determine whether taking further action is in your best interests.