Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a hair loss treatment in the form of a foam or solution that works on both men and women. It generally thought to be quite safe although it is deemed to be only somewhat effective (about 50% of the time).
Propecia (Finasteride), on the other hand, is far more effective (about 80% of the time), but the potential for side effects is also much greater, and those side effects can be far more severe. Propecia comes in tablet form and is only suitable for men.
Minoxidil is a stimulating agent, helping hair follicles grow by direct application. If the follicles are simply dormant, then it can be effective at stimulating them to regrow. If they are completely dead, then it won’t be effective at all.
Propecia works on a very different level, blocking enzymes and modifying testosterone to produce greater hair growth. This method works on the hormones, and that makes it more effective than the surface level efforts of its competitor. Propecia also affects primary sexual characteristics as well as secondary sexual characteristics. It can help stop prostate growth, and that makes it effective for treating an enlarged prostate.
The effect of Propecia on sexual characteristics means that in some cases, it may also cause gynacomastia (enlarged breast tissue in men). This problem may persist even after you have stopped taking the drug. It can also cause other sexual side effects, including impotence, loss of sexual drive and problems with ejaculation.
The milder side effects, like nausea, headaches and diarrhoea are comparable to the more common side effects of Minoxidil. Minoxidil can also cause irregular hair growth all over the body. However, Minoxidil can also cause severe side effects like chest pain, hives, weight gain and changes in heart rate.
For both drugs, if you were to start experiencing any of the major side effects, you should stop taking the drug immediately and consult a doctor.
You might have heard of people using both drugs together. While they can be more effective when paired up, you do have to be careful about the increased risk of side effects that come from combining two drugs. Many doctors recommend that you only take Minoxidil at first for approximately six months. If you don’t have any problems taking it and it doesn’t cause any major side effects, then you can add in Propecia at that point for a more effective hair growth treatment. If any problems become apparent when the two treatments are combined, you should stop taking them and seek the advice of a doctor.
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