What is Propecia (Finasteride)?
Propecia (Finasteride) is a prescription oral medication that can stop hair loss in some people, and even regrow hair in areas that are not bald yet. What it can’t do is regrow all the hair you’ve lost. It is unrealistic to expect the medication to regrow all of your lost hair
Effects of the medications will take months to work. Hair grows slowly, and a difference will not be noticed for at least 1 year. If you stop using the medication, expect to lose the hair that you may have gained, where you will go back to losing your hair at your pre-medication lose rate.
How it works?
Male pattern baldness is a result of the hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone) effecting specific hair follicles localized to the front, top, and crown of the scalp. DHT causes hair loss by shortening the growth phase of the hair cycle, resulting in shorter and finer hair until it stops growing.
Finasteride blocks testosterone from becoming DHT by almost 70%.
Does it work?
A five year study showed that almost 50% of men on finasteride had an increase in hair growth, and 90% of men maintained most of their hair in previously thinning area over that period.
Does it work for women?
Finasteride has not been approved for women.
What are side effects?
Side effects with the 1 mg dose are rare and reversible.
In 2-4% of the male population taking finasteride, they experienced either decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, or decreased ejaculatory volume. Symptoms appear within months, and will disappear within weeks of stopping the medication.
Gynocomastia is rare at 0.4%.
Other side effects are as common as taking placebo medication. They include, rash, hives, swelling, and testicular pain.
How do I take it?
Finasteride is an oral tablet, normally taken once daily. It is not affected by food, and can be taken at anytime of the day.
Effects on your PSA
It is important to inform your physician if you are taking finasteride as it can affect your PSA and prostate. Finasteride can reduce your PSA levels, prostate size, and as a result reduce your risk for the appearance of prostate cancer.