As a personal injury attorney, I hear of many different wrongful death claims that make their way to the courts each year. Given the wide variety of mistakes and misinformation that have occurred related to the medical community, we shouldn’t be surprised by anything, but most wouldn’t have expected the day when hair loss could be connected to premature loss of life.
That is exactly what is being seen now, and the connection is finding many families in the offices of personal injury attorneys.
The trouble with this story is that it hits so close to home. There are millions of men in Florida, a large number of those residing in St. Petersburg, who are suffering from hair loss. Many of those men are likely using hair loss medications to stop or slow the loss. Unfortunately, those people may not be aware of the potential side effects which can lead to hair loss becoming a fatal issue. A particular type of medication can produce severe depression in some users, leading to suicidal tendencies. Mourning families are seeking compensation for the traumatic losses faced.
Merck & Co, manufacturer of Propecia, is now facing a big class action lawsuit for failing to warn of this potentially fatal side effect for 13 years.
Propecia is a brand name of a finateride hair loss treatment, and it is highly regarded by many suffering with thinning hair. That is a big audience to serve. Thirty-five million American men are experiencing hair loss, and 15 percent of those who attempt to treat the problem rely on a finateride treatment, such as Propecia (Minoxidil medications, like Rogaine, remain the preferred treatment). Millions of men have tried Propecia and a notable percentage have reported feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts.
Propecia is used to treat a particular type of hair loss called Androgenetic Alopecia, which is just another name for male patterned baldness. This condition impacts up to 85 percent of men by age 50, and the majority of those will try to stop the loss. Androgenetic Alopecia is associated with the production of DHT. Dihydrotestosterone, DHT, is made from testosterone, and can be found in the prostate, skin, and in hair follicles. Many believe that an abundance of testosterone is to blame for hair loss, but it isn’t so much a result of too much DHT as it is about the sensitivity of the follicles. Some people can have very large levels of DHT present in the body, but suffer no notable thinning, while others will have average hair levels and begin losing hair in their 20s. The sensitivity of the hair follicles to the DHT is determined by genetics.
However, by reducing DHT in the body, there is less sensitivity-based reaction by the follicles, which is why Propecia (a medication that reduces the production of DHT) can prove so successful.
The trouble, of course, is that the potential for serious depression took many men by surprise, including some right here in Saint Petersburg. While the warning label mentioned a potential danger to women (women with an abundance of DHT can also benefit from the medication) who are pregnant or breastfeeding, patients with urinary or prostrate problems, those with certain allergies, and those with abnormal liver function, there was no mention of depression.
If you lost a loved one to suicide and you believe that it may be tied to the use of Propecia, or another finateride, speak to a personal injury attorney about your rights.