Lawsuits Rising: Propecia Irreversible Sexual Side Effects


Propecia (Finasteride) was released in 1997 by the pharmaceutical company Merck and approved by the FDA for men seeking to reduce male pattern baldness. At the time, 42% of those who volunteered for the clinical trials experienced a reduction of hair loss while 48% showed new hair growth.

Since introducing Propecia for hair loss, Merck has engaged in an aggressive direct-to-consumer marketing campaign for their medication, which has been referred to as a “cosmeceutical” product. Within two years of receiving approval to sell Propecia, Merck was spending over $125 million a year advertising the product without adequate warnings about the potential Propecia sexual side effects.

Though effective at reducing hair loss, Propecia is linked to a risk of irreversible sexual problems that may persist even after the popular hair loss medication is stopped, such as:

  • Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
  • Loss of Libido or Sexual Desire
  • Impotence or Low Sperm Count
  • Male Breast Growth
  • Testicular Pain
  • Depression

Although it appears that Merck knew or should have known about this risk of Propecia problems, they failed to adequately warn consumers or the medical community, placing their desire for profits before the safety of men using the medication.

Male pattern hair loss naturally occurs with some individuals, which is neither an illness nor a disease. Although it may result in an appearance that some consider undesirable, it is important that a pharmaceutical company adequately and completely warn about any injury risk that could be associated with use of a prescription medication to treat this normal occurrence.


Merck failed to warn about the potential risk of sexual problems from Propecia, denying and downplaying reports of serious adverse events that were received in association with the use of Propecia by men with male pattern baldness.

Recent research has indicated that erectile dysfunction and other sexual injury from Propecia often continues long after discontinuing the medication. Some doctors have indicated that the medication destroyed the life of patients, causing problems that substantially outweigh any concerns about the appearance of hair loss, often leading to depression, fatigue and other injuries.

In 2006, Sweden’s Medical Product Agency determined in a safety study that the drug could impair normal erectile function and sex drive on a long term basis, rather than on a short term basis that Merck had claimed. In 2009 a study by the UK’s Medical Products Regulatory Agency determined that Propecia (finasteride) can result in “persistence of erectile dysfunction even after discontinuation of treatment.”

Additionally, the US National Institutes for Health lists erectile problems, decreased sexual desire and testicular pain as side effects you are likely to experience when taking Propecia. The US National Library of Medicine goes on to list the drug as possibly causing impotence.

A class action lawsuit was filed March 18, 2011 against Merck & Co. Inc.


If you or a member of a family has sustained injuries as a result of taking Propecia, then you may be able to join others in filing a lawsuit claim. We provide a free, no-obligation case review and do not charge attorney fees unless you win the case and receive compensation. There is no obligation after your initial confidential consultation.

Please call us at 360-515-2229 and our attorneys will contact you shortly.