The Hartford Courant (03/03/11) reports a lawsuit has been filed against Merck & Co. on behalf of men who took Propecia. The lawsuit alleges Merck did not adequately warn Propecia users about the risks associated with the drug and further did not strengthen its warnings in the US even though the same drug was forced to carry stronger warnings in Europe.
Propecia, also sold under the brand name Proscar and known generically as finasteride, is used to prevent hair loss. The lawsuit, however, alleges that some men experience long-lasting side effects, including sexual dysfunction, anxiety, loss of memory and insomnia.
Merck has said it will defend itself against the lawsuit.
Meanwhile a lawsuit has also been filed in Canada against Merck alleging Propecia and Proscar users were not adequately warned about the risks associated with using the medications.
According to court documents filed in the Canadian Propecia lawsuit, "The active ingredient in Propecia and Proscar is finasteride. The use of finasteride has been linked to a number of serious side effects. These side effects include the development of depression and various forms of sexual dysfunction, including but not limited to, erectile dysfunction, reduced ejaculate volume, low sex drive, reduced sexual sensation and infertility."
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In addition to Sweden, the United Kingdom and Italy both reportedly have warnings about the persistence of erectile dysfunction. The court documents in the Canadian lawsuit quote Dr. John Crisler, who works at a men's health clinic in Michigan and says, "I am just totally against finasteride. I have had so many patients that have come to me where that medication has destroyed their life. …They take finsateride for even as short as a week and it destroys their lives."
The lawsuit alleges that the cosmetic benefits of Propecia are far outweighed by the risks, which reportedly include permanent sexual dysfunction.