Finasteride used in Proscar & Propecia (Merck and Co Inc.) and dutasteride used in closely related Avodart & Jalyn (GlaxoSmithKline) are prescribed to treat baldness & a common urological condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The drugs belong to a class called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (5-ARI), which work by blocking androgen. This helps reduce the enlarged prostate, making urination easier for those who suffer from BPH. The problem is that our bodies NEED androgen for functions such as erectile function, libido and ejaculation.
Side Effects from These Drugs
Dutasteride & finasteride have been shown to cause negative side effects including:
- High-grade prostate cancer
- Low sexual desire
- Erectile dysfunction
- Problems with orgasm
FDA Warning: High-grade Prostate Cancer Risk
In June 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety alert to doctors and 5-ARI users warning them of the increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer linked to use of finasteride and dutasteride. Use of these drugs decreases men’s chance of contracting low-risk prostate cancer, but the risk of high-grade cancer is increased for men who take a 5-ARI. High-grade cancer is aggressive and spreads more quickly than low-risk forms. The FDA states that the drugs’ benefits outweigh the risks but has requested that doctors do an individual benefit/risk analysis for each patient before prescribing Propecia, Proscar or Avodart.
The FDA reviewed the results of two large, placebo-controlled trials published in the New England Journal of Medicine: the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT) and the Reduction by Dutasteride of Prostate Cancer Events (REDUCE) trial. The results of PCPT showed that users of finasteride (Propecia or Proscar) have a 63 percent higher risk of developing high-grade prostate cancer. The risk for men taking dutasteride (Avodart and Jalyn) is double the rate of men taking a placebo, according to REDUCE.
Persistent Sexual Side Effects
Journal of Sexual Medicine
Abdulmaged M. Traish, a professor of biochemistry and urology at Boston University School of Medicine and a B.U. colleague, along with Dr. Andrew T. Guay of the Center for Sexual Function/Endocrinology at the Lahey Clinic, Northshore, in Peabody, Mass.; a reproductive medicine specialist from Muenster, Germany; and an ob-gyn from Stavanger, Norway; reviewed available scientific studies on the adverse effects of finasteride and dutasteride for an article published in the March issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
Their review found that approximately 5-23 percent of those who used the drugs experienced sexual side effects. Half of this unfortunate group had persistent issues that did not stop when discontinuing use of the drug.
If you have been suffering sexual side effects while taking Propecia, Proscar or Avodart, contact our firm for a FREE case review or call us at 800-400-8182. The initial consultation is FREE and there is no obligation.
George Washington University Medical School Interviews
Also in March of this year, Dr. Michael Irwig of George Washington University’s medical school released the finding of a study he conducted along with Swapna Kolukula of the Greater Baltimore Medical Center in which they interviewed 100 men, aged 21-46 who experienced sexual side-effects after using finasteride. Results for 71 of these interviews were used in the study after excluding those who had medical histories of sexual dysfunction or complex past prescription use that may influence the findings. The goals were to assess how long they took finasteride, the type and duration of sexual side effects, and the sexual frequency before and after the medication.
- 94 percent developed low libido.
- 92 percent developed erectile dysfunction and decreased arousal.
- 69 percent developed problems with orgasm.
- Participants had used finasteride for an average of 28 months and had chronic sexual problems for an average of 40 months from the time they stopped taking the drug to the time they were interviewed for the study.
- The average number of sexual episodes per month dropped by over 2/3 after finasteride use. (from 26 to 8 times/month).
Dr. Irwig says, “This is the first series to find that symptoms persisted for at least three months despite stopping finasteride. Three months was the minimum, but some of these guys had sexual symptoms for years, some … for 5 to 10 years after. These were young guys with no medical problems, no psychiatric problems, who happened to develop these side effects.”
While the labeling on the medication in the United States currently warns about possible reversible sexual side effects, there is no reference to the effects being persistent. Other countries, including the United Kingdom and Sweden, have documented persistent risks and required medical companies to include them in labeling.
Merck and Co Inc. is currently fighting a number of lawsuits involving their drugs in both Canada and the United States. If you have taken dutasteride (Avodart & Jalyn) or finasteride (Proscar & Propecia) and have experienced persistent sexual dysfunction or high-grade prostate cancer you may have a legal case for damages against the drug manufacturer for the injury of erectile dysfunction and, if applicable, for a loss of consortium for your wife. To get a free claim evaluation with no obligation, contact us today. We will find answers, hold negligent companies responsible, and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
You may also call us for FREE at 800-400-8182.