) 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
- 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
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
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
There are no significant drug interactions associated with
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
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