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Proscar, Propecia Lawsuits Mount

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Lawsuits are mounting over Proscar and Propecia, and claims have been filed federally and at the state level. Plaintiffs allege that the drugs are dangerous and that drug maker Merck, knew or should have been aware, but neglected to warn, of side effects that include erectile dysfunction, infertility, depression, and suicide. Proscar and Propecia, which are known generically as finasteride belong to a class of drugs called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, or 5-ARIs. Proscar is used to treat enlarged prostate, while Propecia is used to treat male pattern baldness. The first lawsuit, filed in New Jersey federal court in February on behalf of a man from Texas and a man from Nevada who took Propecia for male pattern baldness, seeks tort status, said Lawyers USA. A lawyer involved in the case and who has filed scores of lawsuits on the matter, discussed men in their 20s – 40s suffering from depression and anxiety—three committed suicide—over Propecia’s side effects, said Lawyers USA. Meanwhile, another mass tort petition filed in New Jersey state court on behalf of 46 plaintiffs is expected to ultimately include hundreds of plaintiffs, said Lawyers USA. This month, in New York, a plaintiff filed a motion to centralize cases into a multidistrict litigation, and a

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lawsuit was filed in Canada in July as a class action against Merck Canada. In that case, lead plaintiff, Michael Miller (22), alleges that after taking Proscar for eight months in 2008 he suffered, and continues to suffer from, erectile dysfunction. The distressing side effect has caused him to drop out of school, temporarily leave employment, and consider suicide, wrote Lawyers USA. Propecia, and other ARIs, prevent the conversion of the androgen testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone critical to male sexual performance, explained NewsInferno. In other words, explained Lawyer USA, the drugs use the blocking enzyme Finasteride, which was approved in 1997 for the treatment of male pattern baldness. Dr. Alan Jacobs, a New York neuroendocrinologist noted that the drug blocks DHT in hair follicles, but can also block the enzyme in the sex organs and the brain, said Lawyer USA. Merck’s Propecia label does warn about side effects including sexual dysfunction; however, the label indicates that side effects “resolve after discontinued use of the drug, according to a report from Newsnferno.com. The European Propecia label was updated in 2008 to warn of “persistent” sexual side effects; however, that update has not taken place in the United States, said NewsInferno. Lawsuits typically involve men whose symptoms continued even after the drug was stopped. Dr. Jacobs noted that he has seen more and more men 18 – 30 years of age suffering from hypogonadism—erectile dysfunction, loss of sexual libido and REM sleep-related erections. Some also suffer from brain-related disorders such as anxiety, inability to concentrate, and “brain fog,” he added, said Lawyers USA. Symptoms do not always improve and, in cases in which improvement occurs and patients reinitiate treatment, symptoms return with increased ferocity, “as if the body remembers the drug and has a much more virulent response,” said Dr. Jacobs, wrote Lawyers USA. A lawsuit filed in Ohio federal court in November, filed by Marc A. Duerk (25) alleged he suffered sexual dysfunction and cognitive impairment that continued after he ceased taking Propecia. Significantly, sexual dysfunction is not the only side affect linked to 5-ARIs like Propecia. This year, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warned that the drugs were associated with increased risks for high-grade prostate cancer. These drugs may also increase the risks for male breast cancer, said NewsInferno.

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