Treats: Hair Thinning (also known as Male Pattern Hair Loss, Reduced Hair Volume, Menopausal Hair Thinning, Androgenic Alopecia)
What is Finasteride?
Finasteride (the active ingredient in Propecia) was originally used to treat benign prostate enlargement. But it was also shown to reduce hair loss in some patients, and even to help a proportion of users regrow some hair.
Finasteride is taken orally, as a daily tablet.
It is usually not recommended for women.
What Does Finasteride Do?
Finasteride is a 5a-reductase inhibitor. This means that it blocks the enzyme 5a-reductase, which is responsible for converting testosterone in your body to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is the hormone that triggers hair thinning in those with a genetic sensitivity to it.
Does Finasteride Work?
Finasteride works very well for some people, but has no effect for others.
This is because there are two types of the enzyme 5a-reductase — Type I and Type II. Finasteride blocks Type II, but not Type I. So men whose bodies produce Type I of the enzyme may not see results.
Dosage of Finasteride
Finasteride is available from pharmacies and is taken as a daily tablet (containing 1mg of finasteride). Initial results (if the tablet works for you) should be seen after 3-4 months. Full results should be seen after 9-12 months.
If you stop taking finasteride, the beneficial effects on your hair will start to wear off after 6 months. By 12 months, your hair will revert to its original state before treatment. Any hair you have managed to regrow will most likely fall out.
Side Effects of Finasteride
The dosage of finasteride for male hair thinning (1mg a day) does not cause as many side effects as the 5mg dosage given to treat prostate enlargement. But undesirable side effects can still occur.
Possible side effects include (but are not limited to): erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, inability to ejaculate.