“I got worried when it got to the point where I wasn’t at all interested in sex,” says John (not his real name). “Not long after that my testicles began to shrink and I had a lower ejaculate. I complained to my doctor, mainly because my testicles were becoming painful and a sharp pain would travel up to my abdomen.”
John’s doctor gave him the same advice as Merck, the Propecia manufacturer: Symptoms of sexual dysfunction are temporary and not to worry. But 10 years of taking Propecia finasteride spells Propecia long-term side effects that are possibly irreversible.
“The pain has never gone away but thank god my testicles stopped shrinking,” says John. “I went back to my doctor again, and again he assured me that everything would wear off. I got frustrated with his advice and saw other doctors - I needed to know why my testicles were shrinking. But they told me that testicles don’t shrink. They say I am normal but I would know!
“I finally had the answer after a friend told me about finasteride side effects. If we didn’t have a discussion about hair loss I might never have found out - it isn’t a topic on the radar here so I had no idea. Next up I read online about a man from Canada who started a Propecia class-action lawsuit, and a number of class actions are trying to get certified in other countries.”
John is referring to Michael Miller, a resident of Vancouver. In 2011, he filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on behalf of Canadian men who used Propecia (or Proscar) and suffered continuing sexual dysfunction. Miller, in his early 20s, says his sexual functioning has not recovered since taking the hair loss drug.
"The product labels have been changed in several European countries to include a warning of persistent erectile dysfunction after discontinuation of the drug, but this change has not been made on the Canadian product labels,” says Miller’s attorney David Klein of Klein Lyons. Miller’s lawsuit claims that the drug manufacturers failed to adequately warn Canadians of the true risks.
Even more disturbing to at least 500 Canadian men who claim that Propecia has rendered them completely impotent is the warning from Health Canada that finasteride may be associated with an increased risk of developing high-grade prostate cancer.
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John is hopeful that he can join this class action; even though he took Propecia so long ago, the statute of limitations starts when he became aware of the dangerous side effects. “And I welcome the opportunity to talk about Propecia: I hope more men will become aware of these side effects so that we can deter others from taking it.”