Update: New Study Links Finasteride to Long-Term Sexual Dysfunction

April 17, 2017 – A study published last month in the mega-journal PeerJ found that men who take finasteride may experience severe sexual side effects for months or even years after they discontinue use of the medication. Specifically, the researchers determined that of 15,634 men exposed to finasteride who had no prior sexual dysfunction, 699 (4.5%) developed new erectile dysfunction and 210 (24.3%) developed new low libido. Of 11,909 finasteride users who had no previous sexual dysfunction, 167 (1.4%) developed persistent ED that lasted for at least 90 days (with a median of 1,348 days) after they quit the medication.

Propecia Lawsuits Centralized in Federal Court

In April 2012, the federal Propecia litigation was centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, overseen by Judge John Gleeson. By January 2014, nearly 1,000 Propecia lawsuits and Proscar lawsuits were transferred into Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2331). All the actions allege that Propecia causes persistent sexual dysfunction in a subset of men who take the drug, even after the discontinue its use.

What is Propecia?

Propecia (finasteride 1-mg) is a treatment for male pattern baldness that was created by Merck & Co. It works by inhibiting dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that causes hair loss in men with a genetic predisposition. Propecia was approved by the FDA in 1997. It is a lower dose of Proscar (finasteride 5-mg), a drug used to treat enlarged prostate.

FDA Warnings for Propecia Sexual Dysfunction

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published multiple warnings about the link between Propecia and sexual dysfunction. In 2011, the FDA revised the label on Propecia to include erectile dysfunction that persisted after the drug was discontinued. In April 2012, the FDA added new warnings after receiving 421 adverse event reports between 1998 and 2011:

  • Propecia label will be updated to include libido disorders, ejaculation disorders, and orgasm disorders that may continue after discontinuation of the drug.
  • Proscar label will be updated to include warnings about decreased libido after discontinuation of the drug.
  • Labels on both Propecia and Proscar will be updated to include warnings about male infertility and/or decreased semen quality that improves after the drugs are discontinued.

Are Propecia Side Effects Permanent?

In July 2012, the Journal of Sexual Medicine published a study by Dr. Michael Irwig of George Washington University that raises concerns about permanent sexual side effects of Propecia.
After recruiting 54 men from an online forum for men with sexual problems after taking Propecia, Dr. Irwig investigated how long “persistent” side effects really last. After following the men for an average of 14 months, nearly all of the men (96%) still had sexual dysfunction. According to Dr. Irwig:

“20% of subjects with male pattern hair loss reported persistent sexual dysfunction for ≥6 years, suggesting the possibility that the dysfunction may be permanent.”

Propecia Side Effects

  • Less desire for sex
  • Difficulty in achieving an erection (erectile dysfunction)
  • Decrease in the amount of semen
  • Problems with ejaculation
  • Gynecomastia (male breast enlargement)
  • Impotence
  • Testicular pain
  • Male breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Peyronie’s disease (penile fibrosis)
  • Psychological and emotional trauma
  • Post-Finasteride Syndrome
  • And more

Do I have a Propecia Class Action Lawsuit?

The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Propecia lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Free Propecia Class Action Lawsuit Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one was injured by Propecia, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by joining a Propecia class action lawsuit or by filing a Propecia personal injury lawsuit, and we can help.

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