Propecia is an oral medication used to treat male pattern baldness. Propecia contains 1 mg of finasteride, which is also the active ingredient used in Proscar (5 mg of finasteride). Propecia is manufactured by Merck and was approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) for the treatment of male pattern baldness in 1997.

How Propecia Works

Propecia is a member of the finasteride class of drugs known as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (“5-ARIs”). It works by preventing the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (“DHT”) in the body. DHT is a male hormone that is a key cause of hair loss. By reducing the level of DHT, Propecia works to inhibit any further shrinking of affected hair follicles. Additionally, Propecia is intended to treat male pattern hair loss on the vertex (top) and anterior mid-scalp (middle front) areas of the head. Propecia is only effective when taken continuously over a long period of time. When patients cease taking Propecia, they are likely to lose any hair gained within 12 months.

Propecia Safety Concerns: Male Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer

Recently, Propecia has been linked to several serious side effects, including male breast cancer and prostate cancer. Specifically, on August 4, 2011, Health Canada required new warning labels for Propecia after receiving reports that males taking the finasteride containing drug developed breast cancer. In addition to changing the drugs’ labeling, Canadian health officials recommended that patients taking Propecia report changes such as breast lumps, enlargement, tenderness, pain or nipple discharge to their doctors as these are signs of male breast cancer. Additionally, Propecia has been linked to high grade prostate cancer. On June 9, 2011, the FDA issued a Drug Safety Community Publication amending the labeling of 5-ARIs based on its review of two large controlled trials, namely the Reduction by Dutasteride of Prostate Cancer Events and the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial. Both trials concluded that there were an increased number of people with high-grade prostate cancer amongst those who had been treated with finasteride. As a direct consequence of the two trials, future labels of all FDA approved 5-ARIs now contain information that the drug may increase the risk of being diagnosed with high-grade prostate cancer, which is extremely aggressive

How to File a Propecia Lawsuit?

If you or a loved one took Propecia and have been diagnosed with breast or prostate cancer, you may be eligible to file a Propecia lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries and reimbursement of your expenses.  Contact one of our Propecia injury attorneys today for a free assessment of your potential lawsuit and find out if you are eligible for compensation. The lawyers at Bernstein Liebhard LLP have extensive litigation experience, and have recovered billions of dollars for their clients. In addition to being staunch advocates for your claim, our Propecia injury lawyers also provide personal attention to guide you through the complex litigation process.

Propecia Quick Facts

Other Names:

  • Finasteride
  • Date Approved:
  • 1997
  • Manufacturer:
  • Merck


  • No Black Box Warning

Approved Uses:

  • To treat male pattern baldness and urinary problems caused by an enlarged prostate gland.

Serious Side Effects:

  • High-grade prostate cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Dizziness
  • Abnormal Ejaculation
  • Swelling in hands and feet
  • Runny nose
  • Headaches

Published November 17, 2011 by