Lawsuit Filed Over Propecia Sexual Side Effects

A Colorado man has filed a Propecia sexual side effects lawsuit against Merck & Co., alleging that the popular hair loss drug caused erectile dysfunction and other permanent sexual problems. 

The Propecia lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado on October 14, by a man identified only as “John Doe” due to the intimate nature of his injuries.

According to allegations raised in the complaint, after taking Propecia the plaintiff experienced erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, loss of sexual sensation, decreased semen output, testicular pain, depression and anxiety.

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The lawsuit is the latest in a growing number of lawsuits over Propecia filed against Merck by men who say that the side effects of the medication have resulted in sexual issues. Although Merck has warned men in other countries that sexual side effects may be permanent, suits allege that the drug maker has downplayed the risk in the United States and continues to provide misleading information that suggests the problems will resolve when the medication is stopped.

In the United States, the warnings for Propecia indicate that the small number of men who experienced sexual side effects while taking the medication during clinical trials had the dysfunction resolve after stopping the medication. However, recent research and numerous post-marketing reports involving men like the plaintiff who have experienced continuing Propecia sexual dysfunction suggest that these statements are false and misleading.

In several European countries, Merck updated the Propecia warning label as early as 2008 to indicate that some men experienced persistent erectile dysfunction problems from Propecia. However, users and doctors in the United States still have not receive that warning. Propecial lawyers who are pursuing potential cases cite a number of doctors who say they have repeatedly told Merck that the sexual problems can be permanent, but have been rebuffed.

The plaintiff’s lawsuit charges Merck with negligence, failure to warn, designing and manufacturing a defective product, misrepresentation, breach of warranty and other charges. The plaintiff seeks compensatory damages for medical expenses, disfigurement, pain and suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress. The lawsuit also asks that the court force Merck to pay back all of the revenue obtained through the manufacture, marketing and sales of Propecia.

Propecia (finasteride) is approved for the treatment of male pattern baldness. It is a low-dose version of Proscar, approved in 1992 for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

In March, researchers from the U.S. published a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine that found Propecia side effects were linked to sexual problems in men. Researchers indicated that the class of drugs known as 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors can cause loss of libido, depression erectile dysfunction, reduced semen production and growth of male breast tissue. They also agreed that in some cases these side effects appeared to be permanent.


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