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article imageClaim: Anti-baldness drug affecting men’s sexual health

By Andrew John     Dec 21, 2010 in Health
Some doctors are claiming that a proprietary drug used to combat baldness in men is interfering with their sexual health.
Propecia is the proprietary name in the UK for a drug called finasteride, and is manufactured by drugs giant Merck, BBC News reports.
It’s estimated that 6.5 million men in Britain are affected by male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia. And it’s believed to affect about a quarter of men in their 20s.
The BBC quotes James, 26, from Edinburgh, who took Propecia. Before resorting to the drug he “noticed hair loss, hair coming out in the shower and on the pillow, and I freaked out basically.”
He continues: “I went onto the Internet and researched it. I found out there was a drug called Propecia, and soon enough I started buying that and it worked a treat.”
The BBC story says the pill – available on prescription – is “extremely effective at stopping hair loss and in clinical trials nine out of ten men didn’t lose any more hair over a five-year period.”
Merck says fewer than 2 percent of men could suffer effects on their sexual health. If men suffer erectile dysfunction as a side effect, it says, the condition will go away when they stop using the drug. The company says it continually monitors the drug’s safety.
Completely impotent
But James’s story doesn’t bear that out. First, he had less interest in sex, and then he “more or less became completely impotent.”
He saw a specialist. He continues: “Unfortunately, that didn’t work either. I went back to him six months later and he offered me the chance of a penile implant.”
Merck say such effects could be caused by other factors, and not the drug itself. But James doesn’t believe it.
“Every day I wish could turn back the clock,” he says. “It did work well for my hair, but the cost is ridiculous – losing my sex-life.
“It’s happening to lots and lots of men – and it’s about time people woke up to it.”
More about Baldness, Impotence, Male pattern baldness, Alopecia, Mens health
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