Countless men who have taken the hair loss drug have suffered depression due to sexual dysfunction. Tragically, John Pfaff’s depression eventually led to suicide. According to the lawsuit filed by his family, John suffered from severe depression in 2012, after he stopped taking Propecia. He also struggled with insomnia. About a year later, he stepped in front of an oncoming Amtrak train just one block from the family home.
According to the lawsuit, Merck knew about the risks of Propecia depression and suicidal ideation (thinking about, considering or planning suicide) since it was approved by the FDA in 1997. But Merck didn’t include a warning about these risks on its label or in any literature. It wasn’t until 2010 that depression was included; and suicidal ideation still isn’t included, even in small print, despite many reports and clinical studies of both depression and suicide ideation.
Kelly Pfaff, John’s wife, alleged in her lawsuit (filed March 5, 2015) that Propecia triggers suicidal thoughts and depression in some of its users. Further, the lawsuit points out that other drugs that cause depression and suicidal thoughts include warnings on the label and in the literature that explains side effects.
Several men have told LawyersandSettlements that they have been diagnosed with clinical depression as a direct result of Propecia sexual dysfunction. Kevin said that “Taking Propecia has been a huge handicap and embarrassment in my intimate relationships, causing further emotional and mental distress.”
Kelly Pfaff said that her husband took one Propecia pill (one milligram) daily, beginning in May 2008. About a year later he began to act strangely and the couple fought over minor issues. By 2011, she said that John was unrecognizable, according to Law360.
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In the lawsuit, Kelly Pfaff said that John resigned from his job in 2013. He tried to get his job back, to no avail. His insomnia worsened and in March 2013, John, aged 40, committed suicide. Kelly Pfaff filed the Propecia wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of herself, her husband’s estate and her two young children. (The case is Kelly S. Pfaff et al. v. Merck & Co. Inc., case number 3:15-cv-00509, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.)