Using any kind of pharmaceutical is never a risk-free activity. Every kind of pill, injection, cream or medical device comes with some potential hazards. Unfortunately for many men, two dangerous products in particular were recently discovered to produce side effects which can last well beyond initial contact with the pharmaceuticals.
Merck & Co. was recently instructed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to revise labels on two of its drugs due to problematic side effects. The male pattern baldness drug Propecia and the enlarged prostate drug Proscar may cause long-lasting sexual side effects even after patients stop taking the drugs.
Both pharmaceuticals share a chemical compound, though in different doses. The compound finasteride is present in the amount of one milligram in a dose of Propecia and five milligrams in a dose of Proscar.
This compound has been determined to cause "libido disorders, ejaculation disorders, and orgasm disorders that continued after discontinuation of the drug," according to an FDA news release. The drugs labels will soon reflect this newly revealed information.
The positive news is that after the drugs are discontinued, certain male infertility issues and decreased semen quality have been shown to improve over time.
The drugs will not be pulled from the shelves, as the FDA ultimately believes that their benefits may outweigh these risks in some cases. Nevertheless, patients who are concerned about these side effects should consult their physicians for more information.
Especially young men who are taking Propecia for hair loss should think twice about continuing use of the drug, due to possible fertility implications.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, "Baldness Drug May Cause Sexual Side Effects: FDA," Steven Reinberg, Apr. 12, 2012