Complete Guide to Finasteride (Propecia) hair loss treatment for men

Thinning hair can be a matter of disappointment particularly if one suffers from extreme baldness. For women and men, this is something that they would never ever want to happen. Thanks to technology, there are now various products being offered in the market which are created to treat hair loss. Among the different hair loss solutions, Propecia is considered to be one of the most popular prescription option.

What is Propecia (Finpecia)?

Propecia, an offshoot of Proscar, is a widely used hair loss medication since 1992. It is a 1 mg tablet which contains Finasteride, an ingredient known to decrease the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels which affect hair follicles and hair growth primarily in the front, top, and crown of the scalp region.

Hair loss is linked to DHT which in short contributes to hair loss by shortening the growth, or anagen phase of the hair cycle, contributing to a minimization in the hair follicles. The effected hair area continues to be reduced until the hair follicles completely dwindles away. The primary agent behind DHT is an enzyme referred to as 5-alpha reductase on testosterone.

Finasteride is a lipophilic, which means it is a chemical compound that can easily dissolve through the blood stream via the pores in the skin. Finasteride (Protecia is the brand name) which is marketed by Merck corporation was designed to reversing the process of enzyme 5-alpha reductase Type II that transforms testosterone to (DHT) in the hair follicle. According to the FDA, it is an inhibitor of teroid Type II reductase.

During the FDA trials there were able 1,500 men who experienced surprising results in using Finasteride. About 83% of them experienced effective results when it comes to completely stopping hair loss and in increasing hair growth in both the vertex and anterior of the head. 1mg version known as Propecia was launched in 1998. Today, this drug is considered to be one of the most used treatments when it comes to hair loss problems.

About Generic Finasteride/Finpecia

Generic Finasteride also known as Finpecia basically contains the same set of ingredients found in Propecia. Finpecia contains 1 mg tablet of Finasteride. Just before you finally purchase this product, it is strongly recommended that you learn more about this drug. You can actually purchase it online. But if you are unsure, it helps if you consult your doctor. If you have allergies, you should consult your doctor.

Who Can Use Propecia?

Generic Finasteride is recommended for men who are in search of an effective hair loss treatment. Those who are currently experiencing thinning hairline can definitely use Propecia. The drug is clinically-approven and FDA approved hair loss solution. With this product, you can prevent further hair loss. Coupled with hair growth stimulant products like Rogaine Foam, you can witness optimal results.

Dr. Reddy

In January of 2013, Dr. Reddy become the first genertic drug maker to produce a version of the anti-hair loss drug, which has annual sales in the United States of over $136 million. Patients who purchase drugs from Costco, Walmart, Walgreen and other pharmacies may get the Dr. Reddy version when filling their next prescription.

Some customers have experience no difference when switching from Propecia to Dr. Reddy’s, while others complain about side effects like drop in libido and shedding of hair. The price of the generic version is about $30.00 lower than Merck’s.

Side Effects

For people who want to try what Propecia can offer, they want to know if there are side effects. Yes, you may experience some side effects when you use the drug. But the good thing is that you can try this treatment for one month and see how you can tolerate it. In using the drug, some experience common side effects just like other hair loss solutions. But if ever you experience symptoms that are alarming, you should consult your physician. Better yet, before you finally use Propecia, consult your doctor.

There are rear cases when the side effects continue when the medication has been stopped. During the FDA trials some of the men experience a minor reduction is prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. Since African Americans have a higher rate of prostate cancer, it is important that African American men consult their doctor before use.

effects of Finasteride
Data collected from 2004 – 2012 by drugscite.org (website that collects data from the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS)) on the effects of Finasteride

A small percentage of men (less than 2%) will experience some sexual side effects such as reduction in desire for sexual intimacy, difficulty in obtaining an erection and reduction in semen count. However, Merck says that these side effects are quickly reverse with cessation. Contrary to Merck’s claim, some users of the product have complained about side effects being permanent.

Caution:
Patients with liver abnormalities should seek advice from the physician before attempted to use Propecia as finasteride is metabolized in the liver.

Do not donate blood while you are on this prescription as it can be harmful to the fetus of pregnant women.

FDA study found minimal effects of the use of Propecia
First FDA study found minimal effects of the use of Propecia

Essential Tips in Using Propecia

Propecia is not for men with bald head, but for those experiencing the minimization of their hair follicles or receding hairline. Propecia, reverses the minimization process and allows the hair follicles to experience health growth. To ensure effective results, you have to use 1mg of Propecia everyday.

Skipping or using Propecia other than the given directions will not yield the results you want. It is important that you follow everything that is written on the instruction and label description to avoid experiencing any problem. Remember that hormones are delicate and sensitive. You have to be very careful.

Once you are already using Propecia, it is normal for you to experience what they call the shedding phase. This is a period wherein you experience thinning hair. There is nothing to worry about since this is normal. After the shedding phase, you will start to notice that your hair is getting thicker.

Just be patient when using the drug. There is no hair loss solution that can give you instant results. For those who are using Propecia, you may have to wait around 4 to 12 months to see the significant changes in your hair. Continue using the product to see the amazing benefits.

Use in combination

Research has indicated that the effects of Propecia increases when used with hair growth shampoo, laser hair therapy or rogaine foam (minoxidil). It is occasionally recommended that the right combination should be  0.1% finasteride and 3% minoxidil.

Age and Sex

No Propecia trials was ever conducted with young men below the age of 18.

A trial involving 137 postmenopausal women with androgenetic alopecia resulted in no material effect. Therefore, women should not use this product. In addition, it can pose a risk to pregnant women with male fetus.

The effects of the product on men dwindles as they pass the age of 70. No significant difference was observe in respect to the use of the product by men of varying race. Therefore, Caucasian, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and others can use this product.

How to take it:

  1. Take one tablet by mouth each day.
  2. You may take Propecia with or without food, it will not irritate your stomach or cause dizziness
  3. Propecia will not work faster or better if you take it more than once a day
  4. Anyone allergic to any of the ingredients should consult their doctor before use

Generic Version

The generic version may come in a 5mg dose. Since the daily recommendation is only 1mg it would be prudent to cut the pill. Visit your local pharmacy and purchase a pill cutter ( or get the Apex Pill Splitter from Amazon) for less than $6.00. You will need to cut your generic version in 4 equal pieces to achieve the equivalent of 1mg of Propecia.

First Few Months

Some patients may experience shedding of hair during the first 6 months of treatment. This is normal and is an indication that the medication is effective. Please continue to use the prescription unless advised otherwise by your doctor. It usually takes about 12 months to see the full effect of the medication.

Buy only in the United States

There are a lot of counterfeit medication online. Please purchase your medication through United States manufacturing entity or trusted websites like Walgreens, CVS, etc. It is important to buy from sources within FDA jurisdiction.

Who uses Propecia

According to CVS 43% of the product is used by men age 20 -40, 44% by men 40-60, 11% by men over 60 and less than 1% by men under the age of 20. Purchase was practically split between Propecia and the generic version.

propecia use by age
Propecia use by age: Courtesy CVS

 

Video from Dr. Samuel Lam, Dallas, Texas Hair Transplant Doctor, on the use of Rogain and Propecia

What those experiencing baldness are saying

bernstein-propecia-example
Dr. Bernstein Famous NYC Hair Transplant Doctor before and after photo example of 13 months of finasteride treatment

There are many men on Propecia, with just over half of them are very happy with the results. Some patients have experienced amazing hair growth within 12 months while others has suffered from side effects bordering on concern. Those suffering from hair loss have to find a method or prescription that works for them. While Procerin may not work for you, Propecia could give amazing results. Still, other achieve results with laser therapy.