When finasteride was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1977 and marketed under the brand names Propecia and Proscar by Merck & Co., it was the first major advancement in the prevention of hair loss and male pattern baldness in some time. Men rushed to embrace the product, which was found to effectively stimulate hair growth.
However, Propecia impotence is something that men did not bargain for. It’s also a Catch 22 of sorts, in that most men whose hair begins to thin in middle age or later in life will also have arrived at a time in their lives when sexual potency is not quite as important as it may have been when they were younger.
Conversely, for young men who begin to experience hair loss at a young age, the adoption of drugs such as Proscar and Propecia can have a devastating effect on libido at a time of life when sexual function is important to a man’s identity, and equally important to a partner.
Many a Propecia lawsuit - and there are hundreds - allege that consumers were not aware that when they turned to finasteride for Propecia help, they risked the potential for impotence. What’s more, in many cases normal sexual function failed to return when the medication was stopped.
The FDA, on April 11, 2012, mandated a label change for Propecia to reflect the potential for sexual dysfunction. According to The Post-Finasteride Syndrome Foundation (PFSF), 14 percent of the 421 Propecia impotence cases reviewed by the health regulator experienced Propecia sexual dysfunction that lasted longer than three months, once the medication was stopped.
In rare cases, normal sexual function does not return at all.
The PFSF was established just a few months after the FDA label change, in July 2012, as a 501(c)(3) organization and funded by private grants from families. Not more than a year later, on August 21, 2013, the organization announced funding for a second clinical study on PFS, to be conducted by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine.
The research, according to a press release distributed by the PFSF, attempts to uncover the mysteries as to why “potentially thousands of men have persistent [Propecia] sexual dysfunction after quitting finasteride.”
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“Reported symptoms include loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, Peyronie’s disease, penile shrinkage, gynecomastia, muscle atrophy, cognitive impairment, severely dry skin, and depression,” states a summary posted on the PFSF website. “The condition often has a life-altering impact on victims and their families, such as job loss and the breakup of marriages and romantic relationships, while also being linked to suicides.”
One can’t help but wonder if these Propecia side effects in men surfaced during clinical trials, before Propecia was approved.