Finasteride, the principle active ingredient in pills branded as Propecia, is a licensed drug specifically used to treat hair loss and male pattern baldness. Finasteride is available in the form of a 1mg tablet. This drug treatment is only suitable for men.
How does Finasteride work?
It is medically known that the gradual thinning of successive hair, and the eventual loss of hair on the scalp in men, can be caused by the action of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Finasteride works by inhibiting Type II 5-alpha reductase, the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. In doing so it reduces the level of DHT in the scalp which can shorten the hair growth cycle, and allows hairs to revert back to a normal growth cycle.
Clinical Trials conducted on thousands of men all draw pretty much the same conclusion – Finasteride can work very well for hair loss sufferers, however it does depend on the individual. Those using Finasteride in the hope of regrowing lost hair will be disappointed. If however your hair is still thinning, Finasteride may help to restore density and thickness. Finasteride does not work for everyone, however a trial period of at least 6 months is required to assess its effectiveness.
How often do I take it?
Propecia tablets are to be taken once daily. Please note that Finasteride tablets are supplied for hair loss in a 1mg dosage. Pills of up to 5mg are available for treating an enlarged prostate, however there is no evidence to suggest that a higher dosage makes any difference for hair loss sufferers.
Are there any side effects?
Finasteride is very well tolerated in men, however a small proportion of patients do suffer some side effects. These can include headaches, allergic reaction, impotency and decrease in libido. These are however, often temporary and resolve when medication is stopped. Official figures show that only 2% of men experience any side effects.
Is it worth trying Finasteride?
If you still have a significant amount of remaining hair, then probably yes. Finasteride, or Propecia as it is more commonly known, is the worlds most widely used hair loss treatment. Many hair loss sufferers swear by it, however for others the drug produces no benefits whatsoever. Only through personal usage will you be able to assess the solution for yourself, however the relatively low risk makes it an attractive proposition for many people.