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Merck facing pharmaceutical litigation over their drug Propecia

Male-pattern hair loss is, admittedly, a cosmetic issue, but for the men who suffer from it in Ohio and across the nation, it may bother them enough that they contact their doctor about possible ways to combat it. Few, however, would likely be willing to sacrifice their health for the sake of their hair. Now, though, the manufacturer of a drug commonly used to combat male-pattern baldness is facing pharmaceutical litigation due to the medication's potential side effects.

Finasteride, sold under the brand name Propecia and manufactured by Merck, is a prescription drug for male-pattern baldness. Merck is currently facing approximately 1,370 lawsuits as well as a class-action lawsuit addressing the numerous side effects that have been reported in association with use of the drug. The symptoms are so commonly associated with the drug's use that they are even casually referred to as "post-finasteride syndrome."

The side effects -- which include physical, sexual and even psychological changes -- prompted the Food and Drug Administration to require the addition of a warning on the medication's label in 2012. Even more worrying, the side effects may continue long after users have stopped taking the drug. Reportedly, many of the patients were never made fully aware of the variety of irreversible and life-changing side effects associated with the medicine.

In larger doses, the medication goes by a different name and is used to treat prostate ailments in older men; for this demographic, the health benefits may outweigh the risks, and sexual side effects may not be as great of a concern. However, the worry is that the drug, in the smaller dose under the brand name Propecia, has been targeted toward younger men, a group with a comparatively low rate of sexual dysfunction. This makes the risk of side effects difficult to justify, especially for purely cosmetic reasons when the risks have not been properly communicated. Anyone in Ohio who fears the may have been similarly affected by this or any other prescription medication has the right to consult an attorney to discuss grounds for pharmaceutical litigation.

Source: scnow.com, "Potential side effects of the drug Trump reportedly takes for hair loss", Daniel Marchalik, Feb. 16, 2017

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