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Propercia Linked to Serious Side-Effects in Men

The popular male pattern baldness drug Propercia (finasteride) has been linked to serious side-effects in men, including sexual side-effects which may persist after discontinuation and/or may be permanent.

On April 11, 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced label changes for Propecia (finasteride 1 mg) and Proscar (finasteride 5 mg) outlining numerous sexual adverse events reported to FDA which did not go away after discontinuation of the medication.


  • Impotence
  • Nipple discharge
  • Sexual anhedonia (loss of pleasure during orgasm)
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Breast tenderness
  • Gynecomestica (enlarged breast tissue in men)
  • Male breast cancer
  • High-grade prostate cancer


March 2011– A study published by the Journal of Sexual Medicine titled “Persistent Sexual Side Effects of Finasteride” reported that a number of men experienced severe sexual side-effects from taking the hair loss drug. About the study:

  • Researchers interviewed 71 men, ages 21-46, who took Propecia.
  • The men interviewed complained of sexual side effects from taking Propecia.
    • 94% of these men developed low libido
    • 92% developed erectile dysfunction
    • 92% developed decreased arousal
    • 69% developed problems with orgasms after taking the hair loss drug for an average of 28 months
  • A small percentage of men experienced symptoms even after they stopped taking the medication.

July 2012- The Journal of Sexual Medicine published a second study titled “Persistent Sexual Side Effects of Finasteride: Could They Be Permanent?” About the study:

  • Researchers surveyed 54 men (under age 40) who reported experiencing sexual side-effects for three months or more after discontinuing the medication Propecia.
  • The patients reported sexual problems including erectile dysfunction, low libido, trouble having an orgasm, and shrinking and painful genitals. Some men also reported neurological problems like depression, anxiety, and cognitive haziness.
  • For 96% of the men, the sexual side-effects lasted more than a year after they quit using the drug. None of the men had sexual, medical or psychiatric complaints before taking Propecia.

March 2011

  • The FDA changed the Propecia label to add the risk of depression to a list of post-marketing experiences.

June 2011

  • The FDA announced label changes to include an increased risk of prostate cancer in certain patients taking high doses of finasteride.

April 2012

  • The FDA announced label changes to Propecia which include the addition of libido disorders, ejaculation disorders, and orgasm disorders that persisted after discontinuation.
  • Approved by the FDA in 1992
  • Used to treat male-pattern baldness
  • Main active ingredient is finasteride (a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor)
  • 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors have been linked to erectile dysfunction, impotence, loss of sexual desire, and depression
  • In 2008 alone, Propecia sales earned $429 million for Merck & Co.


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