Once believed to be a revolutionary breakthrough in the prevention of male pattern baldness, Propecia has transgressed into a major concern in the medical community. Amidst speculation that the popular hair treatment may coincide with potentially fatal complications, are the unexplained actions by Merck that witnessed the removal of Propecia website content. While ambiguous in nature, the removal of such content may add weight to the long-suspected link between Propecia and the development of persistent sexual dysfunction, impotence, erectile dysfunction, prostate cancer and male breast cancer.
1997 witnessed the release of Propecia into interstate commerce by Merck. After gaining the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Propecia was indicated for the treatment of male pattern baldness on the vertex and the anterior mid-scalp area.
Finasteride, the active ingredient contained within Propecia, belongs to a class of medications known as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. As a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, finasteride treats male pattern hair loss by preventing the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the scalp, which prevents hair growth. DHT is a substance in the body that can shrink hair follicles until they no longer produces visible hair. Accordingly, Propecia promotes steady hair growth on the scalp.
Unfortunately, the mechanism of action responsible for the growth of hair has been associated with catastrophic, life-threatening side effects. Reports indicate that Propecia may be responsible for the development of a serious form of prostate cancer (high-grade prostate cancer) in men. The continual use of 5-alpha reductase inhibitors like Propecia may result in men developing high-grade prostate cancer, a cancer recognized as an aggressive form of the already dangerous prostate cancer.
According to an FDA Safety Notification, officials notified healthcare professionals that the Warnings and Precautions section of the labels for the 5-alpha reductase inhibitor (5-ARI) class of drugs has been revised to include new safety information about the increased risk of being diagnosed with a more serious form of prostate cancer (high-grade prostate cancer).
In addition to the association with high-grade prostate cancer, Propecia has been linked to several persistent sexual side effects. Researchers conducted standardized interviews with 71 otherwise healthy men aged 21–46 years who reported the new onset of sexual side effects associated with the temporal use of ﬁnasteride, in which the symptoms persisted for at least 3 months despite the discontinuation of ﬁnasteride.
Subjects reported new-onset persistent sexual dysfunction associated with the use of ﬁnasteride. 94% developed low libido, 92% developed erectile dysfunction, 92% developed decreased arousal, and 69% developed problems with orgasm. The mean number of sexual episodes per month dropped and the total sexual dysfunction score increased for before and after ﬁnasteride use according to the Arizona Sexual Experience Scale (P < 0.0001 for both). The mean duration of ﬁnasteride use was 28 months and the mean duration of persistent sexual side effects was 40 months from the time of ﬁnasteride cessation to the interview date. Despite the growing awareness of Propecia’s devastating side effects, the FDA has not issued any warnings or recalls regarding those sexually destructive symptoms.
Though no explanation has been made as to why Merck removed Propecia website content from their pages, doing so undoubtedly added concern to patients of the popular hair treatment.
Do I Have a Propecia Lawsuit?
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If you or a loved one has been injured by Propecia, you may be entitled to financial compensation. For a free case review, please click the link below or call toll free 24 hrs/day 1-(949) 557-5800.