Propecia and Proscar Cancer and Sexual Side Effects Lawsuits
Men from all across the nation are alleging that they have developed prostate cancer or male breast cancer due to the prescribed drug Propecia. These men have filed lawsuits against the manufacturer of Propecia, Merck & Co., claiming that the manufacturer failed to warn them about the drug’s potential to irreversibly destroy a man’s sexual function in addition to the possibility of cancer development.
If you have taken Propecia and you believe that it caused you to develop breast cancer, or to suffer sexual dysfunction or some other negative side effect, you need a qualified advocate who will represent only your interests—and who will make the process of obtaining compensation for your injuries as painless as possible. Jones Brown Law, along with its team of defective drug lawyers and attorneys are ready to help you and your loved ones get the justice and compensation you deserve.
What is Propecia and What is it Prescribed For?
Developed by Merck & Co., Propecia is the brand name for the drug finasteride when it is prescribed in a 1mg dose for the treatment of male pattern baldness. Finasteride may also be prescribed in 5mg doses in order to treat enlarged prostates in males also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH -in this 5mg form, it is sold under the brand name Proscar.
The FDA first approved finasteride as Proscar in 1992. In 1997 the FDA then added male pattern baldness to the drug’s indications, and Merch & Co. began selling it as Propecia in 1mg tablets, reduced from the 5mg strength used in Proscar. The Pharmaceutical titan Merck & Co. currently continues to manufacture and sell both Propecia and Proscar.
Propecia works by inhibiting a man’s production of 5-alpha reductase (5a-R)–a natural enzyme present in the scalp, skin, epididymis, and prostate gland that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which causes male pattern baldness.
Propecia, due to its influence on hormones, can cause severe birth defects in unborn children. Consequently, the drug’s label states that “women should not handle crushed or broken PROPECIA tablets when they are pregnant or may potentially be pregnant because of the possibility of absorption of finasteride and the subsequent potential risk to a male fetus. PROPECIA tablets are coated and will prevent contact with the active ingredient during normal handling, provided that the tablets have not been broken or crushed.”
According to Propecia’s drug label, in “rare cases,” male Propecia users (from a population of uncertain size) voluntarily reported having developed male breast cancer. And, in a 4- to 6-year Medical Therapy of Prostatic Symptoms study of 3,047 men, four users of Proscar (which is the name given to Propecia when it is sold in 5mg doses) developed breast cancer while none of the placebo users did. Two other studies, however, did not find a relationship, leading the FDA to comment that the connection between long-term Propecia or Proscar use and male breast cancer is still unknown.
In August 2011, the Canadian Broadcasting Company reported that Health Canada had received two reports of Proscar male breast cancer and an unknown number of Propecia male breast cancer. Like the FDA, Health Canada stated that it could not rule out a causal connection between Propecia and male breast cancer.
Users of a class of medications called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (5-ARI), which includes Proscar, are at one percent greater risk of being diagnosed with high-grade prostate cancer compared to patients who have never taken the drug. That’s according to two large, randomized controlled trials–the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT) and the Reduction by Dutasteride of Prostate Cancer Events (REDUCE) trial–which evaluated the daily use of 5mg of finasteride versus placebo for 7 years.
As far as sexual side effects go, Propecia’s label clearly states that “a small number” (less than 2%) of Propecia users “reported one or more of the following: less desire for sex; difficulty in achieving an erection; and, a decrease in the amount of semen.”
Two men from Nevada and Texas who allegedly suffered these Propecia side effects filed a lawsuit against Merck & Co. in New Jersey (the location of Merck & Co.’s headquarters) on April 08, 2011. The two men allege that Merck & Co. failed to warn them that Propecia could cause permanent sexual dysfunction. Merck & Co. didn’t update Propecia’s U.S. label to include “reports of erectile dysfunction that continued after discontinuation of Propecia” until April 2011. The company made this change after the March 11, 2011, publication of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, which featured research showing that Propecia and Proscar use is linked to depression and loss of sexual desire in men and that these symptoms could be permanent.
Another study appearing in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in July 2012 found that permanent sexual side effects related to Propecia use can be even more common. After studying 54 subjects at 14 months after ceasing the drug on average, the researcher found that 96 percent reported suffering from “persistent sexual side effects,” and 89 percent met the clinical definition of “sexual dysfunction.”
Potential Side Effects May Continue After Discontinuation of Use
The FDA announced on April 22, 2012, a Propecia drug label revision due to adverse event reports it received that related to the possibility that Propecia could cause sexual side effects after men stopped using the drug. The revised label includes the three following additions:
- Entries for libido disorders, ejaculation disorders, and orgasm disorders occurring after discontinuation of Propecia.
- An entry for decreased libido after ceasing Propecia use.
- An entry that described reports of male infertility and poor semen quality that normalized or improved after discontinuation of Propecia.
The Propecia and Proscar lawyers and attorneys of Jones Brown Law are ready to represent your or your loved one in a Propecia or Proscar lawsuit. True, the FDA has yet to issue a Propecia warning, and to date, there has been no Propecia recall ordered. This fact does not mean that a user of Propecia cannot file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of Propecia, Merck & Co.
If you believe that you or a loved one have experienced adverse side effects as a result of being prescribed and taking Merck & Co.’s drug Propecia or Proscar, Fill out the Jones Brown Law Defective Drug Evaluation by CLICKING HERE and let the professional and knowledgeable Jones Brown staff get to work for you.