Generic Name: Finasteride
What is Propecia®?
Propecia®: an oral medication used for the treatment of male pattern hair loss. It is designed to treat hair loss on the top of the head and on the anterior mid-scalp area in men only and should not be used by women or children. Propecia® is sold generically as finasteride.
How Propecia® Works
Propecia® works by reducing DHT, a substance in the body that makes the hair follicle shrink until the hair is no longer visible to the human eye. DHT plays a key role in hair loss, according to scientists. Finasteride, the active ingredient in Propecia®, blocks DHT, allowing the hair to continue to grow.(Reference: http://www.hairsurgical.com/hair-loss/propecia-minoxidil.html)
Propecia® Side Effects
As with any drug, side effects have been linked to Propecia®, some worse than others. The more common side effects are those associated with allergic reaction to finasteride, including itching, rash, hives and swelling of the lips and face.
Other known side effects, include:
- Problems with ejaculation
- Tender or enlarged breasts
- Testicular pain
If you are using Propecia®, you should see your doctor immediately if you develop pain or swelling in your breasts, lumps, or nipple discharge.
Propecia® and Sexual Functions
Some men who have used Propecia® for baldness have complained about sexual side effects, including erectile dysfunction, a decreased desire to have sexual intercourse, and problems with orgasms. The drug label warns patients of rare sexual side effects, occurring in 2 percent of men. The sexual side effects include:
- Decreased sex drive
- Difficulty obtaining an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- Decrease in semen levels
According to Merck, makers of the drug, sexual side effects are rare and decrease to .03 percent in men after 5 years of treatment.
According to a new study, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, the sexual side effects of Propecia® could actually be permanent. Study author, Michael S. Irwig, Assistant Professor of Medicine at The George Washington University, says patients might experience persistent sexual side effects after using the hair loss medication.
His research is based on interviews with 71 male patients between the ages of 21 and 46. Of the users, 94 percent said they experienced a decreased sexual desire, 92 percent experienced problems getting or keeping an erection long enough to have sexual intercourse and 69 percent had complications with orgasm.
Dr. Irwig said most of the participants experienced multiple sexual side effects while using the hair loss treatment. He also said that about 20 percent of the patients he interviewed for the study suffered persistent sexual dysfunction for more than 5 years. The duration of the side effects raises concerns that the side effects might be permanent in some patients.
If you or someone you love has suffered persistent erectile dysfunction, low libido, or problems with orgasm and have taken Propecia® for hair loss, we may be able to help you seek financial compensation for your suffering. Patients have already filed individual Propecia lawsuits against Merck for sexual side effects. Contact us to find out if you qualify for compensation.
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