Finasteride, also know as Propecia, is a hair loss medication that can be used to treat male pattern baldness (Androgenetic alopecia). The medication works by decreasing the amount of the natural hormone DHT, as DHT is the hormone which causes hair loss.
Finasteride works by blocking an enzyme, Type II alpha-reductase. Blocking this enzyme reduces the level of the hormone DHT in the scalp, DHT shortens the hair growth cycle which leads to hair loss.
By reducing the level of DHT the hair can revert to its normal growth cycle, this results in stopping further hair loss and increasing new hair growth.
The benefits of this medication are only seen if you use Finasteride once a day for 3-6 months. If you stop using the medication the effects are reversed at around 6-12 months after the treatment is stopped. Continuous use of Finasteride is recommended to ensure you get the best benefit.
As with most medications, Finasteride can have some possible side effects. The possible side effects that have been identified with Finasteride include; erectile dysfunction, breast tenderness and enlargement, decreased libido, rashes, itching and swelling of the lips and face; and testicular pain.
If you do experience any of these side effects please contact your prescriber and ask for any advice regarding discontinuing the treatment. If you do decide to stop using the treatment, these side effects are reversed after the treatment is discontinued.
Before being prescribed Finasteride you will have a consultation where the recommended dosage will be discussed. When you take the recommended dose, the possible side effects are usually quite mild and generally have not caused men to stop taking the medicine.
Finasteride is in most cases safe to use, it is advised to tell you doctor or pharmacist if you have any allergies as this product could contain inactive ingredients, which could cause you an allergic reaction.
If the film coating of the tablet has been broken, or if the tablet has been crushed the medication can be absorbed though the skin. A woman who is pregnant or planning to have a child should not handle the medication.
If you have any questions regarding Finasteride and how the medication might affect you please contact us for further advice.