A new study found that men taking Propecia for baldness may experience sexual side effects that can last from four months to a year.
Researchers at George Washington University interviewed 54 men under the age of 40 who reported having side effects for three months or longer after taking Propecia (also known as finasteride) to treat their hair loss. None of the men reported having sexual, medical, or psychiatric problems prior to taking the medicine.
The amount of time the men took the medicine varied among the participants. The men reported experiencing side effects such as erectile dysfunction, decreased sexual drive, problems with orgasms, shrinking and painful genitals, and some neurological problems like anxiety and depression.
Ninety-six percent of the men said that the side effects lasted longer than a year after they stopped taking the medicine.
“Our findings make me suspicious that this drug may have done permanent damage to these men,” said Dr. Michael Irwig, the study’s author. “The chances that they will improve? I think it’s lower and lower the longer they have these side effects.”
Study participants were recruited through an online forum called PropeciaHelp, a place where men communicated about their side effects from the drug. Dr. Irwig believes since the participants were solely taken from the forum, the results do not include responses from men who experienced fewer and less pervasive side effects.
Propecia works by blocking the conversion of testosterone into a more powerful form known as DHT, which causes hair loss. Finasteride was originally developed in 1992 by Merck who used the drug to treat enlarged prostates. It was also initially marketed under the name Proscar.
In 1997, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Propecia and Merck recognized reports from men experiencing side effects during the drug’s clinical trials. The company said that the side effects were treated once the men stopped taking the drug.
Over a span of 13 years, the agency received 400 complaints of consumers reporting sexual dysfunction. Within those reports, nearly 60 men said that they experienced the side effects for longer than three months after they stopped taking the drug.
In 2011, the FDA ordered a label change for the drug to include a warning about long-lasting erectile dysfunction. They changed the label again in April to add problems with libido, ejaculation, and orgasm disorders.
Merck released a statement claiming that there was not enough evidence proving the relationship between Propecia and prolonged sexual dysfunction.
“Merck believes that Propecia (finasteride) has demonstrated safety and efficacy profiles and that the product labeling appropriately describes the benefits and risks of the drug to help inform prescribing,” the company wrote.
Researchers believe that doctors who are prescribing the drug are simply unaware of the on-going side effects.
“These things just get handed out left and right for any urinary symptoms,” said Dr. Ryan Terlecki, an assistant professor of urology at Wake Forest School of Medicine.
Terlecki has prescribed the drug to patients with large prostates. He believes more research is needed before doctors can entirely pin the side effects on the drug.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/7-10/14)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Nite | to the tune of @cnn 😞
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2. Got so much work to do but I just wanna stay in bed and binge watch #Gameofthrones and start the new season of #OnceUponATime. I know I can't be the only one. Right? Ha 💤🦁🍂 #saturday
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3. Mommy's weekend turn up ❤️👶🏾💕🍼 Wouldn't trade it for nothing. #TeamNoSleep lol #HesMyBiggestBlessing ✨
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4. One of them oh shit mont we made it feelings … this shit still be unreal 💯💪🏾 @remyboymonty1738
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5. Tickets Available October 14 @ticketmaster.
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6. People magazine Home edition has raided my house! Get a sneak peek into the bedroom life of the Leakes and see other parts of my home now at PEOPLE.COM
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7. They want to kick you when you down, but kick it when you up
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8. Got my advance copy of #Mafia3 at @gamestop. Get yours via link in the bio #Mafia3 #Ad
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9. This is some of the cast and our diverse team of writers in the writer's room creating funny sh*t for @nbcmarlon what a fun room! Lots of jokes, great stories and having a great time doing what we love... making people laugh and feel something. Look out for our show next year @nbcmarlon we bringing sitcoms back to NBC
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12. Thank you all in advance 💋💋💋 #Repost @urbansvintage・・・#TarajiPHenson's memoir #AroundTheWayGirl will be available everywhere TODAY October 11th! Will you be purchasing a copy? #UrbansVintage
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13. Moms got my back
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14. @galore dinner party glo ✨ thanks to @styledbygiigii
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15. 🌹#ThisIsWhatTheTruthFeelsLikeTOUR #forevereve
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17. On set of #beingmaryjane like... ❤️😬💃🏾
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21. Goodnight - here's a song
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22. Words can't explain the feeling that I have right now.....God is good. look momma I made it. #Harts #Blessed #WhatNow #comedicrockstarshit #4DaysAway
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