The article was published in Vice (11/21/16) and highlights litigation surrounding Propecia. It also shares the story of Eric Carlos Rodriguez, who committed suicide early in 2016. His family blames Propecia for his death.
They might not be alone. In 2015, Health Canada issued a summary safety review in which it noted that the World Health Organization had received 170 reports of suicidal thoughts and 56 reports of completed suicide linked to finasteride, though neither the World Health Organization nor Health Canada would make any conclusions about the potential link between Propecia and suicide, given the nature of the reports. Propecia is often prescribed to treat male pattern hair loss.
According to the same Vice article, in October 2016, a judge selected the four bellwether cases that will kick off Propecia lawsuits. Those lawsuits allege men were not properly warned about the risk of severe, sometimes catastrophic, side effects. Among the alleged side effects are sexual dysfunction and suicidal thoughts.
Currently, there are almost 1,000 lawsuits consolidated for pretrial proceedings in MDL 2331. Plaintiffs hope to learn how much Merck knew about the alleged side effects and when it had that information. In Europe, the label for Propecia was reportedly changed in 2008 to note that some side effects could be persistent. But the label in the US wasn't changed until 2012.
Although for some patients the side effects reverse when Propecia is discontinued, other patients say their side effects persist. In some cases, they say, their side effects are even worse after they stop taking the drug. But some doctors still consider the side effects rare and believe the benefits are worth the risks.
READ MORE PROPECIA LEGAL NEWS
Merck has said it stands by Propecia's safety. What the courts will say about it remains to be seen. For now, some men will continue to take Propecia to treat hair loss while others will wish they hadn't.