Damned if you do, damned if ya don’t. A new report discloses that Propecia, the anti-baldness drug manufactured by Merck & Co, can leave men who take them hanging limp. Now ain’t that a… You grow the hair for the babes, but then ya got nothing left for them when all’s said and done. Dang that “no free-lunch” junk.

According to a report by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Propecia, along with another Merck drug, Proscar, used to treat enlarged prostates, share the same chemical compound. Finasteride, which is present in a concentration of 1 milligram per dose of Propecia, and 5 milligrams per dose of Proscar, is said to cause sexual problems in men. “Libido disorders, ejaculation disorders, and orgasm disorders that continued after discontinuation of the drug,” to be exact; and the FDA is now requiring Merck to say that on the drugs’ labels.

Although the FDA says the drug has shown “decreased libido that continued after discontinuation of the drug,”  the labels of both drugs will also carry a description of reports of male infertility and/or poor semen quality that clears up or improves after the drugs are stopped.

No definitive causal relationship between the drug and the sexual disorders can be made, but a potential problem exists nevertheless. The FDA says the number of men experiencing adverse sexual effects from either drug is very small, so it still believes the drugs are safe to take for their approved uses. It does recommend that patients and their doctors consider the new information on the revised labels when weighing a best treatment option.

Well gents, here you see the dangers inherent in taking any external agent. It’s not that you should live your life scared, but I personally make it my habit to ask my doctor the following questions:

  • How long has the drug been in use?
  • Will I be using the drug for what it was intended, or are you prescribing it for something outside of what it was approved (don’t take this point lightly)?
  • What are the side-effects?
And even then I wouldn’t solely trust his answers. I then go to the internet and look up the drug, and it’s side-effects. Check out what you’d have found if you did this for either drug over the last three years: Finasteride adverse side effects (you could google this or “Propecia adverse side effects“)

Then I would ask myself: Is the risk of developing the side-effect worth the advertised benefit? If it’s no, then I’m not taking it, period. That’s exactly how I’ve approached my decision to not take statins. And I do this with every drug, herb, vaccination, and so on, for both me and my children.

True, we don’t always have all the information, and most consumers trust their doctors to a tee. Bad idea, folks. It’s not that your doctor is a bad person, or irresponsible, or greedy, or anything like that…but they are busy; and this busyness sometimes means that more than a few doctors get their drug information from the drug reps themselves, and well…they are greedy. Sorry, but I’ve got no other way to put it.

Okay, okay, perhaps they themselves don’t know…maybe even the company doesn’t know…just another reason to continue conducting studies on drugs even after they’ve been approved. So says Dr. Anthony D’Amico, chief of genitourinary radiation oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

[It] “points up the usefulness of post-marketing studies on drugs that have been studied, but not for long enough periods to know what can happen when large numbers of people use them and what happens when they are discontinued.”

Exactly. Just some food for thought, peeps.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Nick Campos - All Rights Reserved.