Propecia may lead to increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer, as well as sexual issues including erectile dysfunction.
Propecia is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor (5-ARI) drug that is used to treat male pattern hair loss. Often this hair loss results in a receding hairline and/or balding on the top of the head. Propecia is also used to treat enlarged prostates, a symptom of benign prostatic hyperplasia, which may reduce the need for prostate surgery. Propecia was approved for use in 1997 and is manufactured by Merck and Co.
Propecia Increases Prostate Cancer Risk
An FDA announcement in June 2011 stated that Propecia use increases the risk of a man developing a more serious form of prostate cancer called high-grade prostate cancer. Although Propecia decreases the risk of low-grade prostate cancer, it may increase the risk of the more dangerous and deadly high-grade form by 63 percent. High-grade prostate cancer is more aggressive and spreads quicker than low-risk forms.
Propecia Brings Adverse Sexual Side Effects
Another Propecia-related risk came to light in 2011: sexual issues that extend beyond discontinued use. According to a study published in the March issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, 5 to 23 percent of men taking a 5-ARI experienced sexual problems, and, for half of them, the issues persisted after discontinuing use. The development that sexual dysfunction and similar side effects may continue even after use of Propecia has been suspended contradicts previously held beliefs that sexual issues went away when the use of the drug was discontinued.
New Drug Safety Warning Pending?
As of February 2012, Merck & Co. removed the website dedicated to Propecia. Propecia.com now only displays a message indicating that the site is unavailable and links for prescribing information, patient product information, enrollment in the Propecia Persistence Program, a Propecia refund and reporting negative side effects to the FDA’s MedWatch site. This raises concerns that Merck may be about to unveil new warnings regarding adverse side effects of Propecia use. New warnings about Propecia’s risks may motivate more men who have been harmed by the hair loss drug to file claims and also lend credibility to lawsuits that have already been filed against Merck.
If you or your loved one has developed prostate cancer or suffered from sexual issues after taking Propecia, you may be eligible for compensation to ease the associated financial, physical and emotional burdens. Contact us today to set up a free consultation during which we will listen to your story and discuss your legal rights and options. If you choose us to represent you, we will work with you on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay nothing until we have secured compensation for you, either through a jury verdict or settlement.