From the deep: why finasteride harms took decades to emerge

Researchers blamed growing safety concerns on patients, overlooking social context and weaknesses in safety regime The official view of Propecia, fashioned by Merck at a reported cost of $450 million, is that the drug is safe and effective. Upon approval by FDA in 1997, this view was carried forward by dermatologists, some of whom were … Read more

A tweeted rebuttal to yet another analysis of finasteride adverse events: Nguyen et al, 2022

A thread originally posted on Twitter is reproduced below. For an in-depth version, see the essay Context matters. See also a critique of three previous papers with similar designs, findings and conclusions. Twitter thread Nguyen et al, 2022 is the fourth analysis of adverse events of finasteride to appear since 2018. All four studies play … Read more

Tapped by Merck for litigation defense, a clinician-researcher sowed doubts about finasteride harms

A 2018 article disclosed that Dr. Kevin McVary had been retained as an expert for Merck’s defense in litigation regarding persistent adverse effects (AEs) of finasteride.1 Dr. McVary has also been relatively active as a contributor of three conference abstracts, an original article, an expert review, a quote in a media story and a symposium presentation … Read more

Finasteride defenders: Articles in Hair Transplant Forum International

Several members of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) have argued that persistent adverse effects of finasteride are improbable or invalid. The Society’s journal, Hair Transplant Forum International, has published numerous articles on the topic (the journal is not peer-reviewed). Subscriptions are limited to ISHRS members, but full text of some articles is … Read more

‘Safe and well-tolerated’: Arguments used to discredit reports of persistent adverse effects

Summary It cannot simultaneously be true that finasteride is considered “safe” as a treatment for male pattern hair loss and that the drug causes severe and permanent sexual dysfunction in some men. Since 2011, dozens of papers have investigated its adverse effects, with some concluding that finasteride is safe for treating hair loss despite complaints … Read more

Finding the occasion to talk about persistent adverse effects of finasteride

In eight years of thinking and talking about health problems which I believe resulted from taking finasteride, reactions from others have ranged from compassion to curiosity, skepticism and stonewalling. Symptoms include numb genitals and total loss of sexual desire. When bringing these up, I feel I am testing the boundaries of propriety. When people feel … Read more