Finasteride (Propecia) for Hair Loss

Usually, one of the most common causes of hair loss is male pattern baldness. This condition affects millions of men each year, causing them to lose their hair at a rate of about fifty hairs per day. Are you experiencing a hair loss problem? Then, oral finasteride is one of the most popular hair loss treatment options.

People typically begin with topical treatments like minoxidil (better known as Rogaine) because it can be purchased over the counter without a prescription. However, if minoxidil doesn’t work to your satisfaction, then you can talk to your doctor. He may recommend oral finasteride (Propecia).

What Is Finasteride?

Finasteride is a type II 5-alpha reductase inhibitor that blocks the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It also blocks the androgen production of your body.

DHT is one hormone responsible for hair loss in males. So, by reducing its levels in the body, you may stop or slow down your hair from falling out. Finasteride is an oral medication designed to treat male pattern baldness. The medication is most commonly known by its brand names, Propecia and Proscar. It comes in tablet form to be taken orally once a day with or without food. The drug’s side effects are usually mild and will go away after treatment has been stopped for some time. In more rare cases, these symptoms may persist even.

Do you suffer from male pattern baldness? If so, then there is a drug that might help. This drug wa developed to reduce hormones responsible for hair loss. Thus, it aims to stop hair loss or at least slow it down.

Finasteride works on a molecular level to prevent levels of DHT from increasing within certain areas of your scalp skin cells called hair follicles. This hormone is partly responsible for thinning hair as well as some cases of rapid male-pattern balding or even total baldness.

We understand the significance of hair to a man’s self-image and that’s why we provide Propecia.

Propecia is an FDA-approved oral medication for men who are experiencing hair loss. Select from four different dosing amounts: 1 mg, 5mg, 10mg, or 20 mg of finasteride per pill (fin).

Finasteride helps manage male pattern baldness through blocking DHT production, causing restriction of hair growth.

Is your hair thinning due to an imbalance of hormones or diseases like alopecia? Then, this could be your answer for getting those locks back on track.

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How Was Propecia Developed?

During clinical trials, drug companies also discover side effects that are a bit helpful for unrelated ailments. Perhaps Viagra (sildenafil citrate) is the most famous example of this discovery. Pfizer develops this medication to treat high blood pressure as well as angina. Angina is a chest pain often linked to heart disease.

In the period of clinical trials, researchers found that Viagra wasn’t doing much to help people’s blood pressure. However, men were experiencing different and unexpected side effects, which led to the repurposing and redevelopment of said drug. Today, Viagra is used to treat erectile dysfunction (impotence) in men.

Having said that, finasteride is not used for its original intended purpose. Merck developed Proscar (in 5mg doses) to treat enlarged prostate glands. Like Viagra, participants reported a fortunate side effect during the clinical trials. At this time, they noticed additional hair growth on their scalp.

Proscar was already approved for a different purpose. That is why Merck decided to repurpose it and create the first hair loss medication in a pill form. During that time, minoxidil was already on the market.

In the year 1997, Proscar underwent more clinical trials to determine dosage. After that, the FDA approved a 1mg dose to treat male pattern baldness. This is the time that Propecia was born and became the first drug to treat androgenic alopecia. Thus, it remains extraordinarily popular today.

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Does Propecia Actually Work?

Despite the popularity and promotion of Propecia as a hair loss solution, it is understandable that people would still question the efficacy of finasteride. The good news is this medication is very effective in the majority of people who take it to treat their male pattern baldness.

Based on studies, thousands of men have shown that Propecia slows down the process of hair loss. Finasteride helps regrow some of the hair the person has already lost. During the clinical trials, progression of hair loss stopped in 86% of participants. Furthermore, 65% of the participants experienced a “substantial” increase in hair growth. There is also evidence to suggest that finasteride is more effective when used for five years than in year one.

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01
Finasteride: Is It OK to Use for Severe Hair Loss Problems?

Because of its efficacy, finasteride is often the first recommendation....

02
How Long Do I Have to Take Finasteride to Function Properly?

You must seek and follow professional medical advice....

03
How Does Finasteride Work?

Finasteride can reduce a very specific enzyme called....

04
Finasteride for Women's Hair Loss (Not FDA Approved)

For women's hair loss problems, the FDA.....

05
Will a Hair Transplant Physician Recommend Finasteride?

If you have female pattern baldness, your hair doctor.....

06
Finasteride Side Effects

Finasteride is largely well-accepted by patients.....

07
What If Finasteride Does Not Work?

Have you been using finasteride for a year, yet you haven't.....

Finasteride: Is It OK to Use for Severe Hair Loss Problems?

Because of its efficacy, finasteride is often the first recommendation of doctors for those who are interested in seeking treatment.
Note that this oral medication is most effective in those with mild to moderate hair loss. To be honest, there’s less ground to cover if the person is earlier on in the hair loss process. So, if the patient has already lost too much hair, then this will not be the right solution.

How Long Do I Have to Take Finasteride to Function Properly?

You must seek and follow professional medical advice about this medication. This drug has been used in clinical trials to show effectiveness in treating male pattern baldness. Although it has minimal side effects when taken as directed for up to 12 months, clinical studies have shown that finasteride can reduce hair loss in men who are genetically predisposed to it with no significant side effects when taken as directed for up to three years (5 mg/day).

How Does Finasteride Work?

Finasteride can reduce a very specific enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. In male-pattern baldness, this is important because the 5-alpha-reductase creates the byproduct of DHT. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is believed to be the main culprit behind male pattern baldness.

For some, hair loss is caused by:

  • Hormone imbalances.
  • Illness.
  • Stress.

However, hair follicles that are sensitive to DHT cause male pattern baldness. Here, DHT causes hair follicles to shrink over time. As they shrink, hair follicles only produce fewer hairs. All the while, we think that one hair follicle equals one hair. The truth is, each hair follicle can produce anywhere from one to five hairs.

As the hair follicles continue to shrink, the hairs they produce may change in thickness and texture. Eventually, they’ll stop producing hairs altogether.

Oftentimes, the top and crown of the head contain DHT-sensitive follicles. That is why we usually see androgenic alopecia beginning with a receding hairline on the forehead.

Typically, men are left with a horseshoe pattern in the later stage of androgenic alopecia. They often exhibit remaining hair only on the sides as well as the back of their head. However, some men also experience bald spots in those areas. Propecia reduces the dominance of DHT by reducing the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme. These drugs eliminate the cause of hair loss. Finasteride is reducing this enzyme consistently. That is why it may take some time before the effects become noticeable. Typically, you will notice the visible results in six months. However, for some, it could take up to one year.

Note that stopping the medication can still result in increased production of the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme again. Having said that, it will lead to additional DHT production, and of course, hair loss problems.

Thus, any re-grown hair as a result of finasteride will also fall out. Moreover, your hair loss problem will resume as well. Needless to say, those people who begin taking Propecia or finasteride should intend to continue taking it for the foreseeable future.

So, if you don’t see any meaningful results with finasteride for one year, it is unlikely that you ever will. If that is the case, then your prescribing doctor will advise you to look into hair transplant surgery.

Finasteride for Women’s Hair Loss (Not FDA Approved)

For women’s hair loss problems, the FDA does not approve Propecia. Thus, The Hair Transplant Center – New Jersey surgeons will not prescribe it to our female patients. Yes, Propecia is effective and FDA-approved for men. However, this medication is a Category X, which are known to cause birth defects. Therefore, it has never gained FDA clearance to be used for women’s hair loss problems.

Will a Hair Transplant Physician Recommend Finasteride?

If you have female pattern baldness, your hair doctor can recommend over-the-counter minoxidil. There are other hair loss medications intended for completely different purposes. Also, there are anti-androgen drugs that tend to block the production of DHT available in the market.

There have been studies conducted on women and they have been experimenting with dosages. For instance, a study conducted between 2007 and 2011 shows the adverse effect on women who took 5mg of finasteride.

Take note that pregnant women should not attempt to take finasteride. This drug is considered a Category X drug for pregnancy risk. This means that there is reason to believe the medication causes birth defects.

Finasteride Side Effects

Finasteride is largely well-accepted by patients who take it. However, there are possible side effects with any drug. This medication has a variety of possible side effects.

The most common side effect reported was sexual dysfunction, which decreased over time after stopping treatment. Besides, only 1% of patients taking finasteride experienced erectile dysfunction after 18 months of treatment, with none being impotent before starting therapy.

The good news is Propecia’s side effects tend to dissipate as the body adjusts to the medication. Still, some more serious side effects are possible. Other less frequent but potentially serious adverse reactions include:

  • Breast tenderness and enlargement.
  • Hypersensitivity reactions, including rash erythematousmucocutaneous reactions (elevated skin temperature).
  • Urticaria (hives).
  • Angioedema (swelling).
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety disorders.
  • Suicidal ideation.
  • Common cold symptoms — runny nose, drowsiness, or congestion.
  • Completed suicide, which may be related to post-marketing reports on others.

Contact your doctor immediately when you experience any of the following while taking finasteride:

  • Chills.
  • Confusion.
  • Cold sweats.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness when standing up.
  • Swelling in your face or extremities.
  • Tingling in your hands or feet.
  • Breast enlargement or tenderness.
  • Rashes or hives.
  • Unusual weight gain or loss.

What If Finasteride Does Not Work?

Have you been using finasteride for a year, yet you haven’t noticed any hair growth? Then, hair transplant surgery is more likely to be your next option.

The classic “strip” procedure has greatly improved over the past decade. The Hair Transplant Center – New Jersey specialists use the latest hair restoration technology, along with a more precise Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) method.