Propecia for hair loss
What is Propecia?
Propecia is the worlds largest selling hair loss treatment and is the only drug approved by the American FDA for the treatment of hair loss.
Propecia actually belongs to a group of medicines called 5 alpha reductase inhibitors. It is a tan octagonal tablet available in a 1mg strength, manufactured by Merck.
It works by blocking an enzyme, type II 5 alpha-reductase, which in turn reduces the level of the hormone in the scalp which is responsible for shortening the hair growth phase. This effectively treats the hormonal cause of this type of hair loss, which can prevent further hair loss and increase new hair growth in men with male pattern baldness.
Clinical trials conducted on thousands of men have shown that after 2 years of use 66% (two thirds) of men showed increased hair growth. 30% of men showed a slight improvement, 31% showed a moderate improvement and 5% showed a great increase. 83% of men in the trial showed no further hair loss.
How to use Propecia
Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Take this medicine with a full glass of water.
Propecia can be taken with or without food. Take the medicine at the same time each day.
Propecia Possible Side Effects
Taking Propecia at the recommended dose, the side effects are very usually mild and generally have not caused the men to stop taking the medicine.
Men have reported decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and decreased ejaculate volume.
Any sexual side effects of Propecia (decreased libido, trouble having an erection, ejaculation problems) usually discontinue if you stop taking this medication.
The FDA added new warnings regarding the use of Propecia in 2012, stating that sexual dysfunction including erectile dysfunction (ED) may continue even after stopping treatment.
Finasteride’s hair-raising success is due to its ability to specifically inhibit 5-alpha-reductase, the enzyme that converts testosterone into a more potent androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Propecia’s 1 mg dose of finasteride can effectively lower DHT levels in the scalp by as much as 60% when taken daily. It is DHT that shrinks or miniaturizes the hair follicle, which eventually leads to baldness. This 60% reduction in DHT has proven to stop the progression of hair loss in 86% of men taking the drug during clinical trials. 65% of trial participants had what was considered a substantial increase of hair growth.
During the trials on men with prostate problems, researchers noted an intriguing side effect: hair growth. Since finasteride had already been approved by the FDA to treat enlarged prostates in men, Merck decided to pursue the possibility of developing finasteride as the first pill to treat male pattern baldness. Minoxidil, a topical liquid solution, was already on the market (see below).
In December 1997, the FDA approved a 1mg dose of finasteride for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness) in men. Propecia is the first drug in history to effectively treat male pattern baldness in the majority of men who use it.
Propecia was developed to treat mild to moderate male pattern hair loss on the top of head and middle front of head in men only. Propecia has not been proven to restore hair in the frontal areas. Propecia generally only works in stimulating re-growth of thinning hair in crown area of the scalp, though why this is the case is not fully understood. Only hair transplant surgery has been successful in restoring hair in the frontal hairline area once it has been lost.
Propecia is also less effective in growing hair in older men. It works best for men who have been balding for less than five years. Propecia can work over the long term only if you continue taking it. If you stop taking it, you will likely lose any hair you have gained within 12 months of stopping treatment.
Side effects from Propecia at the standard 1 mg daily dose are rare, and fortunately if they do occur, they’re not permanent. However it is important that you are aware that side effects can happen and what they are.
In a study of men taking Propecia 1 mg, around 2 to 4 percent experienced some form of sexual dysfunction (decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, or decreased volume of ejaculate) compared to just over 2 percent of men treated with a placebo. For those men who reported cases of sexual dysfunction soon after starting the medication, it appeared generally within months. A small number of men saw a change in their libido or sexual function months or years into taking the drug.
Propecia hair loss