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Plaintiff Cites Link Between Propecia and Cognitive Impairment

A plaintiff has filed a lawsuit linking Propecia and cognitive impairment, as well as sexual dysfunction and depression. The plaintiff in this complaint claims he was only 22 when he began using the hair loss treatment, and continues to suffer from the side effects of the drug to this day.

This recent Propecia lawsuit was originally filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on June 7, 2013. The case was closed in that court on June 19, and transferred to multidistrict litigation in the Eastern District of New York. Multidistrict litigation is used to streamline pretrial proceedings when there are numerous complaints with similar allegations and circumstances.

Propecia and cognitive impairment

Currently, the federal MDL has more than 400 cases pending, with most of the complaints involving sexual side effects, but a few including allegations about the association between Propecia and cognitive impairment as well. In addition, reports of Propecia depression risk have been raised in some of the complaints that have been filed in the MDL and other courts across the country.

The plaintiff states he began taking Propecia in 2003 at the age of 22 to treat male pattern baldness. Prior to using the drug, the plaintiff claims he had no history of sexual dysfunction, cognitive impairment or depression. However, after using Propecia for an extended period of time, the plaintiff alleges he suffered from all three of those side effects, and continues to do so to this day even though he no longer takes the drug. As a result of those side effects, the plaintiff asserts he has experienced “significant pain and suffering, and his quality of life has been severely diminished.”

Propecia sexual side effects

Propecia sexual side effects have been documented in numerous studies to date. Last year, Time reported on a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine that found sexual dysfunction from Propecia use could last months, or even years, after the medication was stopped. The sexual side effects explored in this study included low libido, ejaculation and orgasm problems, and erectile dysfunction.

In April, 2012, the FDA announced changes to the product label for Propecia, indicating adverse sexual side effects linked to the drug could persist after patients stopped taking the drug. Before ordering the label change, the FDA examined 421 postmarketing reports involving sexual dysfunction in men who took the drug. Of that total, 59 reported ongoing sexual side effects for at least three months after the drug was discontinued.

Propecia, depression and cognitive impairment

The Propecia depression risk has also been explored in some studies. In 2012, the Huffington Post reported on a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, which showed men taking the drug may experience symptoms of depression. In some test subjects, the symptoms persisted after the drug was discontinued. Researchers found that 44 percent of the test subjects in the study had thoughts of suicide, while 28 percent had moderate symptoms and 36 percent had severe symptoms of depression. None of the subjects had a history of depression before using Propecia.

While the connection between Propecia and cognitive impairment has not been sufficiently examined in clinical studies, there is a growing amount of anecdotal evidence suggesting there is a link. As this side effect continues to appear in the growing Propecia litigation nationwide, it is possible more studies will be performed on the detrimental effects of this possible side effect.

In the case of this recent plaintiff, his side effects have persisted for a number of years since his Propecia use. He argues that he will require medical treatment and will continue to suffer physical pain, mental anguish and economic loss as a result of his injuries. He is demanding compensatory, special, double and punitive damages from Propecia manufacturer Merck in an amount to be specified at trial.