Overview: A judge in British Columbia, Canada has ruled that men will be able to pursue a class action lawsuit alleging sexual dysfunction from Propecia, Vancouver Sun reports. Propecia is a medicatinon that is used to treat male pattern baldness; in higher doses, it is sold as Proscar and is used to treat prostate issues. The drug has come under scrutiny in recent years due to reports that it is linked erectile dysfunction, which sometimes appears to persist long after treatment is stopped.
- Men in Canada can now pursue a class action lawsuit against Merck over alleged sexual dysfunction with Propecia
- Reports suggest that Propecia is linked to sexual side effects such as erectile dysfunction, which can persist after the drug is stopped
- In February, a patient safety group warned about potentially permanent sexual side effects with Propecia
Product: Propecia (finasteride 1 mg) and Proscar (finasteride 5mg)
Manufacturer: Merck & Co.
Side Effects & Complications
- Poor semen quality
- Libido, orgasm and ejaculation disorders
- Male breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
Class Action Filed over Alleged Sexual Dysfunction with Propecia
According to the Vancouver Sun, on March 28th B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Punnett ruled that men who allege sexual side effects from Propecia or Proscar are able to pursue a class action lawsuit against Merck Frosst Canada. In reviewing the allegations of Plaintiff Michael Miller, Punnett stated in the written decision that “Approximately one month after using Proscar the plaintiff alleges he experienced a diminished sex drive…Over the ensuing months, he became completely disinterested in sexual activity and was unable to maintain an erection.” Miller alleges that Merck was aware of the risk of sexual dysfunction, but failed to inform patients in Canada. For example, officials in Sweden had asked Merck six years ago to update the drug’s safety label to include the risk of sexual side effects; the company complied in 2008.
Propecia and Proscar use the same active ingredient: finasteride. Propecia contains 1 mg and is used to treat male pattern baldness while Proscar contains 5 mg and is used to treat an enlarged prostate. In June 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated the label on Propecia to mention the possibility of permanent sexual dysfunction. Most recently, in February the Institute for Safety Medication Practices (ISMP) warned that using finasteride may lead to permanent sexual side effects. The group said that these side effects appeared to be most prominent in younger men who took Propecia.