Propecia® (Finasteride) Drug Information

Propecia® (generic name is finasteride) is a medication prescribed to treat male pattern baldness. It also is prescribed to treat men who have an enlarged prostate. The drug is manufactured by Merck, Sharp and Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc.

Hair Loss Treatment

Propecia® is an oral tablet that should be taken exactly as prescribed by the doctor and on the medication label. It should be swallowed with a full glass of water, and may be taken with or without food. Patients should take Propecia at the same time every day.

The drug should not be taken or handled by women or children. The medication has a coating that should protect someone who handles it, unless it is crushed or broken. In this case, a woman or child who accidently comes into contact with Propecia® should immediately wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water. The drug can penetrate the skin and can cause birth defects in the child of a pregnant woman.

Patients are told to use the drug regularly to get the best benefit and it may take as long as three months for results to begin to show. It will continue to work over an extended period of time only as long as someone takes it.

The doctor will order periodic blood tests to be sure the medication is working properly. One test will measure prostate specific antigen to ensure there is no prostate cancer.

DHT In Hair Loss

DHT, short for dihydrotestosterone, is a male hormone whose presence is the main cause for hair loss. When this hormone comes into contact with hair follicles:

  • Follicles tend to reproduce more slowly
  • The growing phase of the follicles shortens and the resting phase lengthens
  • The follicles shrink, leading to hair loss
  • A waxy material grows around the roots and follicles, resulting in hair loss

Propecia® works biochemically in the body, preventing testosterone from converting to DHT.

Possible Side Effects of Propecia®

A number of sexual side effects have been associated with use of Propecia®. Some studies have shown even more disconcerting evidence that the side effects continue after someone stops taking the drug. These sexual side effects include:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Reduced libido
  • A smaller amount of ejaculate
  • Breast enlargement

Depression has also been reported among a disproportionate number of men taking Propecia®.

Study on Sexual Side Effects of Propecia®

Most studies have shown a small but significant percentage of men are experiencing these side effects. However, a George Washington University professor, who interviewed 71 men between 21 and 46 years old, found much higher numbers. His interviews showed 94 percent of the subjects experienced lower libido, 92 percent had some erectile dysfunction and decreased arousal, and 69 percent had difficulty reaching orgasm.

The professor, Dr. Michael S. Irwig, was quoted in George Washington Today, a university publication, as saying, "It's been very frustrating for a lot of these men because they've sought care from medical professionals who have looked at the literature and have not seen a risk of persistent sexual dysfunction. So a lot of these patients have been to see psychiatrists and psychologists and been told that it's all in their head."

If you've used Propecia® and have experienced persistent sexual side effects, you might be entitled to compensation. To learn more, schedule a free case review with a qualified Propecia® lawyer today.

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