Reports of Suicide Risk Linked to Anti-Baldness Drug Propecia

Reports of Suicide Risk Linked to Anti-Baldness Drug Propecia

Recently unsealed records and court documents reveal that in 2011, when Merck & Co. updated the warning label on its popular, anti-baldness drug Propecia, Merck knew that men taking the drug were reporting and demonstrating suicidal behavior, but it chose not to warn consumers of those potential risks. This revelation was recently made public through a federal magistrate’s order for Merck to unseal certain documents in connection with ongoing litigation over allegations that Propecia causes persistent sexual dysfunction and other harmful side effects.

While annual U.S. prescriptions for finasteride (the active ingredient in Propecia) have more than doubled in the past five years, reporting discloses that since Merck’s decision not to warn of this mortal risk of taking Propecia, the FDA has received more than 700 reports of suicide and suicidal thoughts among people taking Propecia or its generic equivalent, including at least 100 deaths.

Regulators in Europe and Canada require a suicidal thoughts warning label on Propecia sold within its borders, though they note that research has not definitively proven that Propecia causes these thoughts. According to a 2009 "risk management" assessment by Merck, it was aware of over 200 reports of depression and/or suicidal thoughts in men taking Propecia. But to this day, the U.S. label contains no mention of suicide or suicidal thoughts.

If you believe you have been harmed from taking Propecia, you should contact an experienced law firm right away to explore your rights.


Unsealed records and court documents recently revealed that a major drug company was not warning consumers of the potential risks of taking a popular medication. Zak Zatezalo explains.