Finasteride was originally developed as a treatment for prostate cancer. However, when patients noticed that the drug also fostered hair growth on areas previously impacted by male pattern baldness, doctors perked up and began prescribing finasteride for hair growth.
Laterally, many Propecia and Proscar patients taking finasteride for hair growth have experienced Propecia sexual dysfunction. Many have reported that sexual function remains in a diminished state after the medication has been stopped.
That's the allegation by a Canadian, who filed a class-action lawsuit in Canada against the makers of Proscar, claiming that his use of Proscar finasteride has robbed him of his normal sexual function.
Lawsuits alleging problems with Proscar and Propecia have also been launched in the US, suggesting similar allegations.
An interesting twist to the Propecia long-term side effects saga is related in a column appearing recently in the Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper. Columnist Paul Taylor wrote on February 17 that the early onset of male pattern baldness could be an early indicator of prostate cancer risk.
Taylor detailed a study led by Philippe Giraud of the Paris Descartes University and published recently in the Annals of Oncology. In the study, 388 prostate cancer patients and 281 healthy men were questioned about their history of hair loss.
The study found that early hair loss was associated with double the normal risk of developing prostate cancer.
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The Catch 22 comes in if and when patients experience Propecia sexual dysfunction—a side effect far more devastating to younger men. Propecia and Proscar patients who have filed or are participating in a Propecia class-action lawsuit also cite the emergence of anxiety in association with finasteride that is alleged not to disappear when the drug is stopped.