Propecia - Treatments For Hair Loss

Propecia, commonly marketed as Finasteride, is generally used to treat benign prostate hyperplasia and prostate cancer. It is currently approved in many countries to also treat hair loss.

Propecia works by inhibiting type II 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme necessary for the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The reduction of DHT available at the scalp causes a shortening of the hair growth cycle, which allows the hair to return to a normal, non-balding, cycle. The normal growth cycle may result in hair re-growth and a decrease in hair loss.

In a study involving men with androgenetic alopecia, 48% experienced an increase in hair growth and 42% experienced no farther hair loss after receiving treatment with propecia. The drug is most effective at re-growing hair at the crown of the head. The re-growth of hair is only effective during the treatment. Patients’ hair will return to their original level of baldness within one year of ending treatment.

Propecia has not been found to be effective in post-menopausal women. It may still be prescribed to women who are pre-menopausal, but it’s vital that female patients take adequate birth control measures before starting propecia treatments. Propecia has been proven to cause birth defects in males if mothers are exposed to the substance during pregnancy. It is possible for propecia to cause malformation of the male genitals. Men and women taking propecia tablets are advised to avoid breaking, cutting, or cracking the pills in the same household as a pregnant woman. Even dust or small fragments of propecia can cause birth defects.

Side effects of propecia include a number of sexual dysfunctions including decreased libido, pain in testicles or breasts, infertility, reduction in the volume of ejaculate, and erectile dysfunction. Additional side effects include swelling of the face and hands, itchiness, and rashes. Most patients taking propecia report only minor side effects.

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