Lawsuits filed against Merck & Co allege Propecia and its more concentrated form, Proscar, are linked to a range of long-term sexual side effects. Among those side effects are diminished libido, impotence and erectile dysfunction. In addition to the sexual side effects, Propecia has been indirectly linked to an increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer. That risk resulted in the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issuing a warning about the drug in June 2011.
The warning was based on data from a study involving Proscar, which is five times more concentrated than Propecia, but the FDA extended the warning to include Propecia because the active ingredients are the same. High-grade prostate cancer is rare, but is more aggressive than low-grade prostate cancer. Men who are aged 55 and older have an increased risk of prostate cancer.
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All these side effects can be difficult and embarrassing for men to discuss, and men may not realize what they are experiencing could be related to their use of Propecia or Proscar. If they do not talk to their doctor about their experiences, they could continue using the drug and continue experiencing sexual side effects.
Merck faces lawsuits alleging the company did not adequately warn men about the risk of sexual side effects associated with Propecia. In April 2012, the Propecia label was updated to include the risk of sexual dysfunction that continued after treatment was stopped.