New York, NYOn February 8, Merck shut down its website for Propecia (Finasteride), the company's medication for male-pattern baldness. Now, instead of the website, a page appears stating that the website is currently unavailable, which has prompted speculation that new or additional warnings may be on their way regarding the sexual side effects reported with the use of the drug.
The Propecia webpage provides links to current prescribing information, patient product information, the Propecia Persistence Program and a link encouraging visitors to report any adverse effects associated with use of Propecia to the FDA’s MedWatch program.
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Currently, the labeling for Propecia indicates that some men have experienced sexual dysfunction after taking the drug, which includes erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, infertility, anxiety, depression and other sexual problems. The label also indicates that these effects are temporary and stop after men discontinue the drug. However, lawsuits have been filed against Merck & Co. alleging serious Propecia side effects including Propecia sexual dysfunction and other Propecia side effects in men. Among allegations in the most recent Propecia lawsuit are that Propecia can cause anxiety attacks and insomnia. Plaintiffs allege that Propecia long term side effects, such as the emotional symptoms, remain years after patients have stopped taking the medication. Some Propecia patients may be taking Proscar, which is a higher dose version of finasteride.
In the US, a lawsuit filed against Merck & Co. on behalf of men who have taken Propecia, also marketed under the brand name Proscar, alleges the medication has serious side effects including a risk of sexual dysfunction and mental and emotional difficulties. Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges, Merck failed to adequately warn users about those serious side effects, even after regulators in Europe demanded a stronger warning label, highlighting the risks of the drug.