) works by inhibiting conversion of the hormone testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. Men with lower dihydrotestosterone levels have smaller prostates and a much lower incidence of male pattern baldness.
Though the active ingredient, finasteride, is used to treat both male pattern baldness and benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate), the dosage is different:
- Propecia contains 1 mg of finasteride in each tablet. This is the typical dose prescribed for treating male pattern baldness.
- For an enlarged prostate 5 mg a day is the usually prescribed. Products designed to treat an enlarged prostate, such as Proscar, contain 5 mg in each tablet -- a more convenient way to administer each dose.
Clinical trials and real-world data show 2 out of 3 men will experience hair regrowth with Propecia.Treating Male Pattern Baldness (MPB) with Propecia:
For MPB, Propecia is beneficial in two ways:
- Stops further hair loss
- Promotes hair regrowth
As mentioned above, the usual dose is 1 tablet (1 mg) a day. It may be taken with or without food.
Most men notice a difference within three months of starting Propecia, but it may take up to six or even 12 months before an improvement is visually noticable. If no difference is seen by the end of 12 months, the product is unlikely to work at all. A physician can recommend alternative treatments to try.
There is no evidence that taking more than 1 mg a day will cause hair to regrow faster. The occasional forgotten dose may be skipped entirely without concern for reduced effectiveness.
Propecia only works for as long as it's taken. Upon stopping treatment, any regrown hair will likely fall out within 12 months and hair loss may resume.Precautions for Women:
Propecia is for adult men only and should never be used by women or children.
This product is known to harmful to unborn babies, particularly to male fetuses. The effects on nursing infants is unknown. Women who handle Propecia may absorb enough through the skin to damage a fetus or nursing infant, especially if the tablet has been split, broken or crushed.
Undamaged tablets have a protective coating to prevent absorbtion, but to be on the safe side pregnant or nursing women should not handle this product at all.
Trace amounts of the drug are found in the sperm of men using Propecia, but there is no evidence this will harm an unborn baby after intercourse with a pregnant partner.Contraindications and Drug Interactions:
Other than pregnancy or hypersensitivity to ingredients, there are no known contraindications for Propecia use. The safety of this medication in children and men over age 65 has not been established.
There are no significant drug interactions associated with Propecia.Side Effects:
A small percentage of men in clinical trials experienced side effects while using Propecia:
- Decreased libido
- Decreased ejaculate volume
- Erectile dysfunction
- Male breast tenderness
- Male breast enlargement
For many men in the trials, side effects disappeared while continuing to take the medication. Other men only stopped experiencing side effects after discontinuing use. A very small percentage of men continued to experience symptoms, but it is unclear if this is related to use of the medication or not.
There are no other side effects associated with this medication.Ingredients:
Active ingredient: finasteride
Inactive ingredients: hydroxypropyl cellulose LF, pregelatinized starch, docusate sodium, lactose monohydrate, microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate, sodium starch glycolate, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, yellow & red ferric oxide, talc, titanium dioxide
A rash, hives, or swelling of the face, eyes, lips, tongue or throat indicate an allergic reaction. Discontinue use and seek medical attention.