Propecia (finasteride) is widely marketed as a cure for hair loss in men &mdash: male pattern baldness. Under a different name, Proscar, finasteride is also used to treat enlarged prostates. In both cases, the drug works by reducing the body’s ability to create certain male hormones. Unfortunately, this helps create two side effects that men and their loved ones would rather avoid: impotence and an increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer. These serious side effects are the basis for numerous lawsuits now being pursued by Missouri Propecia lawyers.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration revised Propecia’s label, as well as the labels of other drugs in its class (5-alpha reductase inhibitors), in June of 2011 after receiving new information on the potential prostate risk. In the study involving finasteride, men taking the drug for seven years had a reduced risk of any prostate cancer diagnosis. This was attributed to a lowered incidence of mild prostate cancers. However, those who were diagnosed showed an increased incidence of high-grade prostate cancer, which means aggressive ones. These are the most serious and high-risk cancers. To make matters worse, Propecia also reduces levels of the body chemical doctors use to detect prostate cancer, making it possible to miss a cancer diagnosis. As a result, the FDA now asks doctors to assess prostate cancer risk before prescribing Propecia and other drugs in its class.
Less deadly, but often upsetting and debilitating, are the sexual side effects of Propecia. Real users and scientific studies have shown that patients may develop reduced libido or even erectile dysfunction. In some cases, this continues even after patients no longer take the drug. While the FDA label for Propecia doesn’t carry a special warning about this, it does mention that Propecia users were more likely than placebo users to drop out of studies due to problems with libido, erection or ejaculation. The drug regulators in Sweden and the United Kingdom require labels that list persistent erectile dysfunction continuing after stopping the drug as a potential side effect.
In practice, many patients abandon Propecia after experiencing these sexual side effects, and many doctors now prefer to prescribe other drugs. Unfortunately, researchers have found the drug’s effects to persist for years after patients stop taking it. Propecia’s manufacturer, Merck, has already faced lawsuits from Missouri Dangerous Drug Attorneys representing men who believe they suffered long-term sexual dysfunction from taking Propecia. These include men under age 40 and men who didn’t take the drug for long. Sexual dysfunction may not be fatal, but it has a major effect on men’s (and women’s) quality of life, affecting their self-perceptions and their happiness as well as their relationships with others. And of course, aggressive forms of prostate cancer can be deadly.
If you suffered persistent sexual dysfunction or were diagnosed with prostate cancer after taking Propecia, you should call the Missouri Propecia lawyers at E. Ryan Bradley today to discuss how we can help. Based in St. Louis, we represent clients across the state who were hurt by Propecia and other prescription drugs. When prescription medications, or any other consumer product, carry a serious safety risk, their manufacturers are legally required to warn patients. Unfortunately, the FDA still has not ordered a special warning about the risk of long-term sexual dysfunction in patients taking Propecia. And while the FDA did order a warning about prostate cancer in summer of 2011, the drug was available for many years before. In a failure to warn suit, patients and families hurt by Propecia can claim compensation for all of their medical costs, their lost quality of life, pain and suffering and more.
E. Ryan Bradley offers free, confidential consultations, so you can tell us your story and learn more about your legal rights. To set up a meeting, call us today at 314-400-0000 or contact us today to find out more.