Finasteride is the generic name for Propecia®, a drug to treat male pattern baldness, and for Proscar®, which may be used alone or in combination with another medication to treat an enlarged prostate. Finasteride belongs to a class of medications called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors.
In the case of Propecia®, finasteride works by blocking the production of dihydrotestosterone, a male hormone in the scalp that stops hair growth.
Important Information About Finasteride (Propecia®)
Propecia® should be taken exactly as your doctor prescribes and as described on the label with the medication. It comes in tablet form and is taken orally. It is important that only men, not women or children, take or come into contact with the drug. Propecia® is able to penetrate the skin, and if the tablet breaks or is crushed, and a woman or child touches it, they should immediately wash their hands with soap and water.
The drug is known to cause birth defects in the babies of pregnant women. If a woman is pregnant with a male infant, Propecia® may cause abnormalities of the sex organs. It is therefore very important that pregnant women have no contact with the medication.
Possible Side Effects of Finasteride
Evidence is growing about the seriousness of side effects. Most data collected on side effects show a small percentage of men taking the medication have sexual side effects. However, a recent report by a George Washington University professor indicates many more men are being affected than previously thought. Dr. Michael Irwig of George Washington University and Swapna Kolukula of the Greater Baltimore Medical Center published their study in a recent issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
Finasteride has been found to increase the risk of some life-changing side effects, including:
- Diminished sex drive
- Problems having and maintaining an erection
- Reduced amount of ejaculate
- Enlargement of the breasts
The University researcher said after interviewing 71 men who experienced sexual side effects after taking Propecia®, 94 percent said their sex drive was lower, 97 percent said they had some kind of problem with erections, and 69 percent experienced problems with orgasm.
What is more disconcerting about the side effects is that they do not go away in some men who stop taking the drug. Some men interviewed had persistent sexual problems for an average of 40 months.
Other side effects linked to the medication are allergic reactions including hives, rash, swelling of the face and lips, and itching. Some men taking Propecia® have experienced breast tenderness or growth. Another side effect is testicular tenderness.
If you have taken finasteride and experienced any of these side effects, you should contact a lawyer who can determine if you have justification for a lawsuit to seek compensation for the pain and suffering you have experienced. To schedule a private, confidential case review with a qualified finasteride attorney, please call or email us today.