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Studies on Propecia Side Effects Being Undertaken

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San Antonio, TXWhen it comes to discussions about male conditions, one topic that sometimes hits a nerve is that of male baldness. Some men, in attempting to deal with the issue, have turned to medications such as Propecia. But in lawsuits being filed, some of those men now say they had no idea about the risk of Propecia side effects, including a reported risk of sexual dysfunction, nor did they realize there was a risk of Propecia long-term side effects.

But concerns about the risks associated with Propecia (known generically as finasteride) are great enough that a foundation called the Post-Finasteride Syndrome Foundation announced in August a second study on post-finasteride syndrome. That study, titled “Genetic and Epigenetic Studies on Post-Finasteride Syndrome Patients,” is being conducted at Baylor College of Medicine to determine why post-finasteride syndrome patients develop sexual dysfunction. A previous study was announced in July 2013. That study is being undertaken at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston to determine the causes of post-finasteride syndrome.

As the Post-Finasteride Syndrome Foundation notes, symptoms of post-finasteride syndrome include erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, depression and cognitive impairment. Depression and loss of sexual function can have devastating effects on a patient’s mental health. In addition to sexual and mental adverse effects, there are reported physical symptoms including muscle atrophy, chronic fatigue and the development of female-like breasts.

The foundation notes that post-finasteride syndrome “describes persistent sexual, neurological, and physical adverse reactions in patients who have taken finasteride, a 5-alpha reductase type II enzyme inhibitor used to treat hair loss (under the brand name Propecia or generics) or enlarged prostate (Proscar or generics).” The foundation goes on to note that there is no cure for post-finasteride syndrome and few treatments, although the medical and scientific communities are becoming more aware of the problem as more men report their side effects.

In April 2012, the FDA required a change to the Propecia and Proscar labels to include information about possible sexual dysfunction. At the time, the FDA noted that a clear causal relationship had not yet been established between the use of Propecia and Proscar and the development of sexual dysfunction. The agency also noted that only a small percentage of men who use Propecia or Proscar develop sexual adverse events.

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