Propecia and its close cousin Proscar both carry approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of hair loss and an enlarged prostate in men. Both have been shown to be effective in reversing hair loss - by far the most popular indication for finasteride.
However, catching many consumers by surprise have been particular Propecia side effects and - specifically - the loss of sexual function. Stopping the medication generally succeeds in reversing the Propecia impotence, thus making the curious side effect a temporary setback.
However, for others having sought Propecia help for male pattern baldness or an enlarged prostate, normal sexual function can take months to return.
Sometimes, it does not return at all, leaving the patient and his partner devastated.
In their Propecia lawsuit (Daniels v. Merck & Co., No. 14-5618, Sept. 24, 2014), plaintiffs Albert and Christine Daniels allege that Merck & Co. committed fraud by concealing Propecia side effects from consumers. The lawsuit also alleges that Merck improperly manufactured, advertised and distributed Propecia finasteride in spite of the risks for sometimes irreversible Propecia sexual dysfunction.
In attempting to reverse hair loss, which speaks to a man’s individual vanity, finasteride use for some negatively impacts an aspect of the male identity that is arguably far more important to a male than the status of his hair. To that end, a man’s ability to perform sexually and satisfy his partner often cuts to the very core of his identity. Any lack of sexual function on a man’s part can have devastating implications to his partner, as well.
Various studies appear to support the profile of Propecia side effects in men as it relates to the potential for sexual dysfunction. A review study conducted by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine found, after scrutinizing data from clinical trials, that 15 percent of men who used Propecia finasteride experienced some form of sexual dysfunction including but not limited to decreased libido and erectile dysfunction.
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But Proscar has been linked to high-grade prostate cancer. Thus, a medication designed to treat the prostate can also hurt the prostate and put the health and indeed life of the affected patient at risk. High-grade prostate cancer, although rare, is far more agressive than low-grade cancer.
Nonetheless, the FDA mandated a warning label for Propecia as well as Proscar, for the possibility of high-grade prostate cancer.