Propecia Linked to Male Sexual Dysfunction

<"">Propecia, the popular hair loss medication, might help stave off baldness in men, but it comes with some disturbing side effects, said the BBC.

Finasteride, which is sold in the United Kingdom as Propecia, allegedly causes what the BBC described as “serious side effects” and is also not sufficiently labeled. About 25 percent of men in their 20s show indications of male pattern baldness, wrote the BBC; in the UK, this amounts to six and a-half million men.

Merck, the maker of Propecia, said it has updated its labeling and that it monitors the medication’s safety on an ongoing basis; however, at least one Edinburgh man told the BBC about side effects he experienced. The 26-year-old man, James, said, quoted the BBC, “I noticed hair loss, hair coming out in the shower and on the pillow, and I freaked out basically. I went onto the internet and researched it. I found out there was a drug called Propecia, and soon enough I started buying that and it worked a treat.”

Propecia is very effective in stopping baldness in men; clinical trials indicated that nine out of ten men stopped losing hair over five years said the BBC. Propecia’s website warning also indicates that less than two percent of men could, potentially, suffer sexual side effects, discussing issues such as problems achieving erection that allegedly disappear when the medication is stopped, said the BBC.

James said, in his case, he stopped the drug, but the sexual dysfunction remained, worsening. “After about three weeks all hell broke loose. I more or less became completely impotent,” quoted the BBC. A specialist was called in.

“He put me on testosterone therapy, which is a lifelong commitment…. Unfortunately, that didn’t work either. I went back to him six months later and he offered me the chance of a penile implant,” said James, quoted the BBC. Worse, physicians internationally are saying that James’s case is not all that unusual and that Propecia’s labeling is not sufficient, wrote the BBC.

Merck, which says that cases such as James’ are very rare and could be the result of something not related Propecia, did change its labeling in view of other reports of lingering sexual side effects that did not cease when the medication was stopped, reported the BBC.

“Every day I wish could turn back the clock. It did work well for my hair, but the cost is ridiculous—losing my sex-life. It’s happening to lots and lots of men—and it’s about time people woke up to it,” said James, according to the BBC.

Meanwhile, we previously wrote that some online drug ads were not meeting advertising requirements and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. Merck was among 14 drug makers told by the FDA that its ads were not in compliance. Citing an FDA letter to one firm, the ads—which Google limits to 95 characters—“misbrand” the drugs and “fail to communicate any risk information associated with the use of these drugs,” reported, previously. To comply, such marketing must include risk and benefit information. When risk information is omitted, drugs appear safer and more effective, noted, citing the FDA. pointed to a Propecia hair loss treatment ad. In that case, the ad failed to mention that Propecia was not approved for use certain people, including women and children.

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