Is finasteride really effective

Depression from hair restorers?

PADERBORN. He swallowed pills for hair loss - and paid for them with his health. This is how a plaintiff describes it who, after taking a hair growth drug with the active ingredient finasteride, now demands 100,000 euros in compensation from a manufacturer. His trial began on Wednesday before the Paderborn Regional Court.

At the trial, the man from North Rhine-Westphalia stated that he had been suffering from serious side effects for years, like a “post-finasteride syndrome”. The case causes a stir, because the active ingredient finasteride against hair loss is often prescribed in Germany.

After four years of taking pills, the complaining business graduate suffers from depression with suicidal thoughts, sexual restrictions such as erectile dysfunction, exhaustion, and difficulty concentrating and memory. The plaintiff can only work to a limited extent, reports Stephan Bensalah from Roland ProzessFinanz AG, a litigation financier who supports the "model case". There are also other victims. Another "model lawsuit" is running in Berlin, and a third is planned for October in Stuttgart.

The defendant company emphasized that the health complaints raised by the plaintiff were not caused by the medicinal product mentioned. Reported "adverse events" after ingestion would always be recorded, analyzed and reported to the relevant authorities.

According to the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM), the effectiveness has been proven in case of disposition-related household incidents. “The risk-benefit ratio of finasteride was assessed as positive in the context of approval and also in the context of ongoing monitoring at European level,” explains a BfArM spokeswoman. But: Side effects such as depression and sexual dysfunction have also been proven in studies - and these continued for "months to years" even after the therapy was stopped. In some case reports even longer than ten years.

In the summer of 2018, a “Rote-Hand-Brief” informed about risks: Sexual dysfunctions and reduced libido could also occur with the use of finasteride-containing drugs (1 and 5 mg dosage) in the indications “androgenetic alopecia” and “benign“ prostatic hyperplasia ” Depression with suicidal ideation.

On the first day of the trial in Paderborn, the judges first asked the defendant pharmaceutical company to provide the plaintiff with detailed information on effects, interactions, side effects and suspected cases that had come to light, as a court spokesman reported. (dpa)