Pharmaceutical International News - August 2012
Suicide Warning For Hair Loss Treatment Propecia
Posted by Paul Fiddian - Pharmaceutical International's Lead Reporter on 08/08/2012 - 06:50:00
US researchers have highlighted the risks seemingly involved in taking a popular hair loss treatment drug called Propecia (finasteride).
Based at George Washington University, they've said that those taking the hair restorer could become depressed and, even, suicidal. Their newest Propecia study follows earlier research carried out in 2011, which linked the same product to enduring sexual dysfunction.
Sold by Merck both as Propecia and Proscar, finasteride does have a number of listed side effects detailed in the label that comes with it. These are primarily within the sexual arena and include impotence. Last year, George Washington's Propecia investigation team discovered that these symptoms might not ever go away since, of the men interviewed who'd experienced sexual dysfunction, a fifth still had problems years after they'd stopped taking the medication.
Propecia Suicide Warning
Now, the university researchers have spoken to 61 ex-finasteride patients, all of them victims of sexual dysfunction lasting three months or more. Of these, 11 per cent said they'd felt mildly depressed and 28 per cent confessed to moderate depression. Severe depression, meanwhile, was common for 36 per cent of them. The Propecia suicide warning stems from the final results, with eight per cent of the men admitting to having felt like ending their lives.
By way of contrast, out of 29 men who'd never taken the drug, just 10 per cent had been depressed and a mere three per cent had felt suicidal.
In all cases, the men that were spoken to had no prior sexual dysfunction history, nor had they been diagnosed with psychiatric conditions or been prescribed with drugs on a long-term basis.
Hair Loss Treatment
"I definitely think this study has very important messages when you're looking at something like suicide and suicidal ideation", George Washington University's Doctor Michael Irwig - who led this research - told Fox News in a statement on the hair loss treatment study.
He continued: "After all...how many deaths from a medication do you really need to be considered important enough and to change labels? Medications have been pulled from the market in the past even after just a few patient deaths."
‘Merck believes that Propecia (finasteride) has demonstrated safety and efficacy profiles and that the product labeling appropriately describes the benefits and risks of the drug to help inform prescribing', Merck said in a statement also quoted by Fox News, adding: ‘We encourage patients to talk with their doctor if they have any questions or concerns about their health, or about Propecia.'
Image copyright Ryan - Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
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