Hair Loss Lawsuits Galore

Every now and again, I read about class action lawsuits against major hair loss product manufacturers. It seems like 2021 will be a record year for such legal actions.

Merck, Propecia and Lawsuits

The most famous of these entails various class action lawsuits against Merck (US) (the manufacturer of Propecia). The initial accusations against Merck pertained to Propecia causing persistent long-term sexual side effects in men. Despite the company settling the lawsuit with most litigants in 2018, further class actions continue to stack up to this day.

The latest allegations state that Propecia causes depression and suicide in males. This story was covered by many major news sources in February, 2021. However, these issues were already in the news for several years. I have not tried to find out if suicide rates in men taking Propecia are higher than in those not taking the drug. I also wonder if some of these suicides occur due to the fact that Propecia is not stopping hair loss in some desolate men? Or causing serious sexual side effects in some, in turn leading to depression? I would also guess that depression in balding men and women is higher than in those without any hair loss.

“Annual US prescriptions of finasteride for hair loss increased to over 2.4 million in 2020, more than double the number in 2015”. Source: IQVIA.

At the same time, these drugs do alter hormones. In particular, Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is drastically reduced in men taking Propecia or generic finasteride. Moreover, finasteride affects both estrogen and testosterone levels. Albeit by a small amount in most users. Hopefully topical finasteride may lead to fewer side effects.

Out of respect to families affected by these tragedies, I will delete any comments in this post that seem insulting or demeaning. Voicing some support or skepticism about this issue is fine.

I wonder if such lawsuits against Merck were what prevented GSK (UK) from obtaining US FDA approval to sell Avodart (dutasteride) as a hair loss drug? Almost everyone agrees that dutasteride causes more side effects than finasteride. As of 2021, dutasteride is only approved in Japan and South Korea to treat male pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia). In the rest of the developed world, it is approved to treated enlarged prostates in older men.

Gorilla Glue Lady

My favorite story from 2021 is probably the Gorilla Glue lady Tessica Brown. It is also the biggest story in the hair loss world so far this year. Luckily, it had a happy ending. Many sources reported that Ms. Brown would be suing Gorilla Glue, but this is not true as of the time of writing this post. She received a lot of backlash on social media when people thought that she was going to take legal action against Gorilla Glue.

Unilever and Tresemmé

TRESemmé (owned by UK-based Unilever) is a very famous brand of shampoos. I have used it many times in the past, and always liked the product. However, in January 2021, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Tresemmé. Apparently, some Keratin lines of this shampoo contain formaldehyde-releasing preservative DMDM hydantoin. It is alleged that this ingredient caused hair loss, scalp irritation and burning in many women using the shampoo. Unilever faced similar allegations against its Suave range of products in 2012, forcing it to recall the offending items.

Sanofi-Aventis and Selsun Blue

In 2021, Sanofi-Aventis (France) is facing legal action from several parties in relation to its Selsun Blue dandruff shampoo. The plaintiff alleges that the product contains chemicals that cause scalp irritation and hair loss. In 2020, Sanofi-Aventis faced another lawsuit claiming that the company’s Selsun Blue line of natural dandruff shampoo is, in fact, not natural.

While I have reservations about most such lawsuits, I do find it undesirable that most hair loss shampoos contain so many harmful ingredients. Even something as popular and effective as Nizoral shampoo contains ingredients that often dry out the scalp. A recent NY Times article on declining sperm counts blames endocrine disruptors (including ingredients in plastic bottles and shampoos) as contributing factors. Hormone disrupting phthalates should be avoided in hair and beauty products. Parabens and sulfates are also undesirable.

DevaCurl Lawsuit

In 2020, curly hair line DevaCurl was in the news almost every month due to a class-action lawsuit that was heavily promoted on social media. Perhaps the biggest reason was this video from Ayesha Malik:

Monat Lawsuit Resolution

Also in 2020, Monat finally seemed to have resolved continued lawsuits that first commenced in 2015. Consumers have complained that Monat products cause hair loss, itching, sores and skin lesions. Monat is a multilevel-marketing company, renowned for its natural hair and skincare products. The company is now banned from making false or misleading claims about the health benefits, safety or performance of its hair and beauty products.

40 thoughts on “Hair Loss Lawsuits Galore”

  1. It is already proved by multiple studies ( can be found on pubmed ) That 5- alpha-reductase is parte of many reaction in our body, not only converting T into DHT . So why there is not a indication about this on propecia instructions ? For example, 5- alpha-reductase convert pregnolone into allopregnolone that act like GABA agonist in our brain . So, it is even demonstrated how it cause depression . It is a shame what FDA did with Merck, it sounds like corruption. Specially, when they have in their history VIOXX . Merck is a really shady company.

    1. james+booker it shouldn’t be a surprise, the fda is corrupt. And also former fda commissioners are on boards of big pharma companies. That said though finasteride is a miracle drug for me and i need it so until you know what comes out.

    2. Back in the day when fin was released in Europe, I took it for a while. It ruined my libido and my marriage. I talked many years later to a pharmacist who told me that among her customers she heard a bunch of stories like mine, I was stunned. Thank God my libido is normal now but some men never recover. Don’t tell me that Merck didn’t know. How f up is that?!!!

      1. Post Finasteride Syndrome is a very real risk. Never had depression or sexual issues prior to taking it and had major depression (suicidal ideation) followed by sexual problems. 2 years of my life wer living hell! Only improvement came when a doctor finally believed me and prescribed of Testosterone and another three letter thing (can’t recall) and have been taking for 8 years. Never had issues since.

    3. Depression is a stated side effect of Propecia, as per the patient leaflet, the user is advised to stop taking the pill and inform their Doctor. So not really a valid criticism is it?

  2. I always found it interesting that people were willing to take propecia, despite the fact that the breakdown to dihydrotestosterone is something all men experience, hairloss or not. My understanding has always been that the issue is with individual sensitivity to DHT not DHT itself; so why risk taking a drug that interrupts a natural process we don’t fully understand and which most likely has benefits we don’t fully understand? I do understand the desperation though, and I feel bad for the victims and their families.

    1. You “found it interesting”? “Despite the fact that the breakdown to dihydrotestosterone is something all men experience, hairloss or not.”?

      After that you suggest that “the issue is with individual sensitivity to DHT not DHT itself”, as if a doctor can prescribe you substances which drastically reduce hair sensitivity to DHT! And even if you would be able to significantly reduce hair sensitivity to DHT, you could double-guard yourself against hair loss by reducing DHT itself.

      I am interested in keeping my hair. I am not interested in having punctate marks and scars caused by hair transplants. Maybe you’re not as vain as I am.

  3. Fin sides are real. Many dont want to believe it. And I’m telling you right now, the depression people get from taking fin is NOT the same depression that some people get if the drug isnt stopping their hair loss. So please dont think it’s the same. When I was on fin nothing made me happy, and the drug worked wonders for my hair.

  4. in general, i don’t get to excited about pharmaceuticals but hope medicines and kintors degrader could become the ultimate two drugs for hair loss, with a nice safety profile.

    Admin do you believe jon knight has given up his mission to find a cell processing company?

  5. Time and again, microneedling + minoxidil has proven to be the most effective treatment. Any additive to minoxidil that makes minoxidil more effective will make this option even more attractive. Plus regular PRP injection will make the outcome more long lasting. No need for Propecia.

  6. Yep, I got sides from Fin, (I realise most don’t) but depression wasn’t one of them. However, when I first became aware of any hair loss, well before I took any pills of potions, it certainly wiped the big sh*t-eating smile from my face.

  7. Often our body produces substances vital to us in excess or in too limited quantities, when this happens we must take action to correct the imbalances …

  8. Has anyone here ever taken accutane?

    If so, I stumbled across an old thread (on another forum) that I found very interesting.

    I had a full, thick head of hair until I was about 29. After I took accutane (for acne) my thinning began, and it has continued gradually. Now, I have always thought that accutane caused thinning while you used it, and perhaps for a few months after, but someone proposed a theory that accutane causes various permanent changes (which is why you don’t get acne again) and these changes are linked to hairloss.

    The poster said that accutane causes CCCA, high atRa levels, altered vitamina metabolism, altered RA receptors, high levels of trans retinol acid (in tissue) and lichen planopiloris inflammation.

    He sited a research paper, and I have contacted the authors of the study to see what they advise.

    I don’t know if anyone here has taken accutane, but if you have, this stuff is quite interesting. I might look into seeing if I test the following:

    -atRa levels
    -vitamin a metabolism
    -trans retinol acid
    -lymphocyte inflammation

    The original poster suggested that ALDH1A1 would be necessary to regulate our retinol acid and potentially stablise some of the after-effects of accutane.


    1. About 13 years ago I used to work with a bald guy who claimed it was the accutane he took as a teenager that caused his hair loss. He was mid 20s at the time and was Norwood 6. I also took it for a long time to treat severe acne as a teenager. I was the same age as him and my hair was starting to thin so tried propecia. I put on 10kg of weight within the first few months, despite exercising like crazy. I went off it and the weight came off instantly. 13 years later and I’m Norwood 5 and never tried anything else to stave off the inevitable – I just shave it and get on with life. Although, I do come on here every 6 months or so to check if there’s a breakthrough. ;)

    2. I had terrible acne when I was 17-18. Heavy doses of antibiotics mostly cleared it up, but when I was about 25 it started coming back again. I was sick of being on antibiotics, so I convinced my doctor to prescribe me accutane. Within 2 weeks, I went from a Norwood 0 to a 2. I was stunned and stopped taking it immediately. Ever since then, the hair loss has been steady. Other friends of mine took it and are still NW 0 at 40. I have a feeling that it just speeds up hair loss if you’re predisposed to it.

      1. I was on 60mg of accutane for a year 2019-2020 and experienced zero hairloss, been on dutasteride since 2017.

  9. You posed the same thought I had: those suffering from hair loss and losing the battle are seriously depressed and many are suicidal. Correlation vs. causation is difficult to determine at times.

  10. Admin, have you heard back from the Hope Medicine representatives? I’m really curious about their product and the intended phase 2 trial in 2021. Thank you in advance!!

      1. Thanks for answering, admin! While this doesn’t sound like good news, I’m still cautiously optimistic as I found an article from December 2020 stating that Hope Med. hired a new company president who used to work for Boehringer Ingelheim for 30 years. Apparently he has plenty of experience with bringing products to the market and it seems as they hired him to do exactly this with the “BAY”/HMI-115 product. Looking forward to their phase 2 clinical trials & results!

  11. Admin did you see this product: ? The website says three natural ingredients but the only thing I could find is it looks like it is topical fin + minoxidil + a PGF2a stimulant which are hardly “natural”. I get sides from regular fin so topical fin is going to be a no for me.

    1. Thanks. Was posted a number of times in the past by readers or in the chat, but I am skeptical about natural products giving better than modest gains. Will write about their two products as the release date gets closer.

  12. Tom Jones who knows and honestly who cares. Its prob bs results just like everything else in the pipeline. I’m just lucky propecia and rogaine worked for me as long as it did. I’m not optimistic about anything else in the pipeline. Maybe that bayer prolactin drug but I am keeping my expectations low for now.

  13. Hello Admin,

    Can we expect some updates on HairLoss Herbal (Mangrove Tree) from Thailand/Phillipines? They said after 6 months will be available to end-user.


  14. Mjones, sounds like you’re no longer confident in your boy. When mjones no longer trusts Cots, then you know we are in trouble.

  15. TomJones….yeah man. 20 years waiting for something new and it’s all delays, mediocre results if any. So yeah I lost my confidence in the hair loss industry. Tired of it.

    1. Exactly there’s nothing in the pipeline for the foreseeable future that will give you at least a 70% density pffff not even 20%, other than the noble Nobel laureate Dr tsuji. And stemson Therapeutics hopefully they could come to the market within this decade,l mean we’re just about to set foot on Mars and start a colony in a couple of years but we just can’t clone a hair on a human but we’ve been cloning mammals since 1997!

    1. 44 percent improvement, end of phase 2 meeting with fda. The picture was results after 85 days. Maybe phase 3 will be only three months. I think this is our best, fastest to market option

  16. Concerning Follica …

    Question 1 … In-Office. How often? I think this is a no go. Why not at home?
    Question 2 … the Drug to use. Is it a new drug or just Minox? Can I use it at home?
    Question 3 … Can I just use a somple dermaroller and use the Drug so I would never need to go to see the “Office”

    1. Page 64 Strong proprietary device create high barriers to entry and protect against off label Maybe the device is a lot more advanced than a derma roller. 5 minutes in dermatologist office. You have to pay up for new technology till a competitor comes along

  17. i don’t know if there is a post about how people have dealt with the side effects of fin, but i fell like i should share how im dealing with it. Im 26 yrs old and and ive had to stop taking fin. i’ve taken fin since i was 19 and i did notice that it had definitely slowed down the hair loss by a lot. i used to brush my hair above the sink and just watch as all my hair fell. After awhile of taking fin, the hair lose was noticeably less, but by then the recession had started and fin didn’t stop it, just slowed it down. Now back to the side effects of fin. Sadly im one of the unfortunate people who had the side effects. at first my libido took a hit but after a couple of weeks it came back. Erections also were a little hard to achieve but same as my labido. it came back. i did notice some atrophy after a while, sadly, that one never came back to normal but i wasn’t bothered by it, it wasn’t much. As the years went by i’ve started to struggle with maintaining an erection. Libido was fine. But erections were sometimes embarrassing on rare occasions. I just always felt like i was working at an 80 to 90% not a 100% how i remember before taking fin. a couple months ago i noticed that my libido was completely gone. and erections where hard to achieve. so thats when i finally decided to cut off fin. At times i fell like it was probably too late. i fell like i should have stopped it sooner but i was scared to start loosing my hair. Ive tried looking up ways on how to go about it, and was not very successful. I know for a fact some of you guys also struggle with this and that’s why i am sharing this unnecessarily long story. But the only thing thats been helping me lately is that i’ve started taking a supplement called L-citruline that i used to take years back for working out and zinc vitamin. apparently l citruline can treat ed. i guess its a mild substitute for viagra or cialis. i have noticed that my erections are prolonged for sure and labido is slightly coming back. Hopefully this information is useful for someone out there. i hate that we have to deal with this. It sucks loosing your hair, and on top of that having to loose another part of yourself.

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