Colleagues and Friends,
There is no question that this recent report appears shockingly erroneous to anyone who regularly prescribes propecia. I agree that Merck should prepare some formal response to this report, sharing what they know. However, it is also our responsibility as Hair Restoration Physicians to individually communicate what we know from our clinical experience to our patients and the general public.
Having prescribed finasteride to thousands of patients dating back prior to the fda approval, I completely agree with those who regard this report of the incidence of persistent side effects as "shocking." Over the past 15 years, I've prescribed Propecia to thousands of patients as a stand-alone therapy and also in combination with other medications like minoxidil, laser therapy and hair transplantation. Less than two-percent have had sexual side effects, which is in accordance with the original Propecia studies. In the cases of side-effects, discontinuing the medication resolved the side-effects in approximately one week.
Again, in over 15 years as a full-time Hair Restoration Physician, I haven't seen persistent side effects from propecia... Not a single case! I know many of my colleagues have prescribed propecia in even higher volumes to your patients. From my communications with a good number of them, I know they have NOT seen persistent side effects either.
My concerns with this highly flawed retrospective 'study' that made the rounds last month include the fact that they did not physically meet with many or most of the patients, they did not perform lab tests, they relied on these patients' own recall prior to treatment and they did not take into account the well-established psychological impact of continued hair loss.
Not to mention that the majority of the so-called 'patients' in this study were recruited through anonymous internet message boards and the interviews were conducted by phone or skype... adding new dimension to the terms "selection bias" and "interview bias."
Personally, I'm compiling my finasteride side-effect data for publication... if anyone else would like to collaborate, shoot me an email.
FYI, A link to the original journal article was posted here last month: http://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&gid=3122721&type=member&item=48297823
and comments are open for ISHRS Members.
Alan J. Bauman, M.D.
Bauman Medical Group, P.A.
Follow me @DrAlanBauman
Certified, American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery