What is Propecia?
Propecia is used to treat male pattern hair loss, a common condition in men aged 18-41 years old where the scalp hair thins and can result in a receding hairline or a balding at the top of the head. It contains finasteride as its active ingredient, which belongs to the type II 5-alpha reductase inhibitors class of medications.
How does it work?
Finasteride inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha reductase that normally converts testosterone to a hormone known as DHT (dihydrotestosterone) that causes a decrease in hair growth and thinning of the hair. This lowers the levels of DHT in the scalp, which helps to reverse the balding process, helping to increase hair growth and prevent further hair loss.
It is not effective for men with complete hair loss.
How effective is Propecia?
Clinical research data shows Propecia is an effective treatment for male pattern hair loss. In one study 279 men were treated with Propecia for 5 years, of which 48% were reported as having increased hair coverage, and another 42% of men had unchanged hair loss. A total of 90% of men in the study benefited from Propecia treatment in comparison to the placebo part of this study where only 25% of men were reported to have improved or unchanged hair loss.
How do I use Propecia?
The recommended dose is one tablet per day, to be swallowed whole with water. You can take the tablet with or without food but it is very important that you do not crush or chew these tablets. If you forget to take a dose, do not take two to make up for the missed dose.
How long does it take to work?
It may take up to 3-6 months for the full effects of the treatment to become evident. It is important to keep using Propecia or any hair regrowth due to the medication can disappear within the next 9-12 months.
What is the difference between Propecia and Finasteride?
Finasteride is the generic version of the drug and the active ingredient in both branded Propecia and Finasteride. They are medically equivalent but the generic Finasteride is available at a lower price.
Propecia is only for men aged between 18-41 years.
How do you take Propecia?
Timely treatment is crucial to avoid losing as much hair as possible and you should therefore talk to you doctor about treatment options as soon as you begin to notice signs.
You should take Propecia at the same time every day with a full glass of water. It is important that you take it regularly to see the long-term benefits, so it is a good idea to incorporate it into your daily routine. You can take it with or without food, as desired.
It is best to take it exactly as prescribed. You should talk to you doctor before taking larger doses or for a longer period than recommended.
Does Propecia have side effects?
- All medicines have the potential to cause side effects on the body, although not everybody experiences them.
Some common side effects for Propecia include:
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Decreased Sex Drive
If you decide to continue using Propecia, these side effects may lessen after some time. If the symptoms are inhibiting and do not resolve, you can consider stopping the medication with your doctor.
- Some people can also have allergic reaction to this medication and the following symptoms are indicative of this:
- Skin rash and itching
- Swelling of lips, face, tongue or throat
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing.
If you experience these signs it is essential that you stop taking the medication and see your doctor immediately.
Always read the patient information leaflet before commencing treatment.
- The patient information leaflet can be found here.