William McKee claims baldness drug, Propecia, turned him into a woman

Nadine Bells
Shine OnJuly 25, 2012

Talk about severe side effects!

Bald might be beautiful to some, but William McKee wasn't a fan of his receding hairline. He decided to fight his hair loss with a generic version of the baldness drug, Propecia, and is now claiming the drug turned him into a woman.

McKee, who now goes by Mandi, said that after nine months on finasteride (Propecia's generic version), breasts started to develop.

"My rock-hard chest from the gym began to soften… reaching the point where I had noticeable 'breasts' even under my clothing," he tells the New York Post.

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McKee also cites widening hips and more feminine shoulders. The 38-year-old software engineer spiraled into depression, separating from his wife of 10 years.

McKee now cross-dresses — something he didn't do prior to taking the drug — is only attracted to men, is considering a breast enhancement, and might undergo a surgical sex change.

"It felt like the 'me' that I've always known was not there any more," McKee tells the New York Post.

McKee chronicles his life on his blog, writing that he now knows finasteride is often used by men who want to transition into being a woman.

"It is one of the main anti-androgen drugs given to M2F transgender women as a main part of transition therapy," he writes.

The New York Post reports that Propecia inhibits testosterone conversion, subsequently resulting in increased estrogen. Since its introduction in the 1990s, side effects like impotence, decreased libido and genital shrinkage have been reported.

A study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine confirms a potential link between sexual function and 5α-reductase inhibitors found in the drug. Some doctors speculate the drug might do permanent damage.

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Drug manufacturer Merck denies the link between sexual-dysfunction and Propecia.

"Merck believes that Propecia (finasteride) has demonstrated safety and efficacy profiles and that the product labelling appropriately describes the benefits and risks of the drug to help inform prescribing," the company writes in a statement.

McKee's story may sound hard to believe, but it's not the only one. MSN reports there have been lawsuits filed in 27 states by more than 300 men who claim Propecia affected their sexuality. Many of them report breast growth.

Marc Grossman, a lawyer who represents these Propecia users, is concerned there are thousands more affected by the drug who are choosing to suffer in silence.

"Many men are embarrassed to reveal their problems to anyone, including their doctors, so thousands more will go on living with the condition in private."

McKee can't participate in the lawsuit as he took the generic version of the drug. Still, he plans to sue Merck for $1 billion, Huffington Post reports.

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