Propecia (finasteride) is a medication used to treat hair loss in men who are suffering from male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia).
Propecia contains the active ingredient finasteride, which is a type of drug known as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. It works by limiting the conversion of testosterone into another hormone called DHT (dihydrotestosterone). DHT is involved in the regulation of hair growth and hair loss. By reducing the DHT levels, Propecia should help to reduce hair loss.
Propecia should be taken regularly and can take up to 3–6 months to have noticeable effects. effect.
Research shows that Propecia (finasteride) is highly effective at treating hair loss in men. In clinical studies over a period of 5 years, a slowing of hair loss was noted in 90% of men, and an increase in hair growth was noted in 65% of men.
The active ingredient in Propecia is finasteride.
The inactive ingredients in Propecia are lactose, microcrystalline cellulose E460, pregelatinised maize starch, sodium starch glycollate, docusate sodium, magnesium stearate E572, hypromellose E464, hydroxypropyl cellulose E463, titanium dioxide, talc, yellow iron oxide E172, and red iron oxide E172.
Always take Propecia as instructed by your doctor or pharmacist. Take one tablet per day with or without food, at around the same time each day. Propecia will not work faster if you take a higher daily dose and if you take too much Propecia, you should contact a doctor immediately. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, but do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. It can take between 3 and 6 months for Propecia to start to have noticeable effects. If you stop taking Propecia, you are likely to lose the hair you have gained within 9 to 12 months.
The recommended dose of Propecia is one 1 mg tablet taken daily.
Like all medicines, Propecia can cause side effects in some patients. If you experience either of the following, stop taking Propecia and contact your doctor immediately:
Uncommon side effects of Propecia, affecting up to 1 in 100 men, include:
The following side effects have also been demonstrated, however, the frequency is not known:
Do NOT take Propecia if:
Before taking Propecia, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are going to have a blood test for prostate cancer called PSA (prostate-specific antigen), as Propecia can affect the results of this test.
Do NOT take Propecia if you are already taking finasteride or dutasteride for BPH. Before taking Propecia, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medications, including those purchased over the counter without a prescription
While Propecia’s main function is to reduce DHT, it can also slightly increase oestrogen levels as well. By interfering with the levels of sexual hormones in this way, Propecia can have related side effects such as reduced libido or erectile dysfunction. A natural way to help with libido and erectile dysfunction is to lose weight, as weight loss naturally reduces oestrogen levels in men. If you are worried about erectile dysfunction, speak to your doctor about prescription treatments, such as PDE-5 inhibitors like Viagra, Cialis, Levitra or Spedra.
Propecia can affect libido in some men who take it, although normal sex drive is expected to resume when you finish taking Propecia.
Infertility has been reported in men who took Propecia, although these men had other risk factors that may affect fertility. When you stop taking Propecia, the quality of your semen should start to return to normal.
Propecia is the brand name for the generic drug finasteride. Both contain the active ingredient finasteride and work in the same way, although the generic version is significantly cheaper.
An alternative hair loss treatment is minoxidil, which, unlike Propecia, is a topical rather than oral treatment. When applied to the hair, minoxidil works by relaxing the blood vessels to increase blood flow to the hair follicles. Minoxidil differs from Propecia in that it encourages hair growth, rather than preventing hair loss. Minoxidil is also suitable for both men and women, whereas Propecia is only suitable for men.
Propecia works best in a preventative capacity and is unlikely to restore an area of complete baldness. However, it is proven to aid the regrowth of hair in over 60% of men who use it regularly over a period of time.
Propecia is safe for long-term use and is usually taken for life, as hair loss will resume once treatment is stopped.
Propecia is not suitable for the treatment of hair loss. Minoxidil is a treatment available to both men and women. Other treatments are available for female hair loss depending on if there is an underlying cause.
Propecia is not available on the NHS for treatment of hair loss.
Even if Propecia does not stimulate the growth of new hair, it can cause your existing hair to grow thicker and denser.
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