Side Effects & Reactions
Like any other medication, Finasteride can come with several side effects depending on the individual. This is why it is important to know just what could happen should Finasteride react with your body.
Any reactions and effects are generally thought to be reversible but there may be some persistent side effects too. The true rate of long-term side effects is not clearly known.
You should read this information along with the information leaflet that is provided with your medication. If you are concerned by these side effects, then you are advised to discuss this with your practitioner and consider alternative hair loss treatments.
Who Should Use Propecia
FDA-approved for men only, Propecia is best used for men experiencing crown thinning or baldness. Dr. Matthew Lopresti of Leonard Hair Transplant Associates explains that Propecia is, typically the first-line therapy in nearly all men with crown thinning or baldness. He specifically notes that Propecia doesnt necessarily target the frontal areas, so those with a receding hairline may not see results.
Propecia can, and sometimes should be used in tandem with other preventative hair loss treatments, such as shampoos and other topical treatments.
Meanwhile, it is not recommended for women of childbearing capacity because of the potential for fetal birth defects. It is absolutely not recommended for any woman of childbearing age, whether she plans to be pregnant or not, Dr. Sieber says. The drug does cause fetal malformations or abnormalities and can cause loss of a fetus, so it is recommended to be avoided completely in any woman of childbearing age.
However, women who experienced hair loss after menopause has found success in using Propecia.
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Taking Finasteride
Before taking finasteride, tell your healthcare provider if you:
- have any other medical conditions, including problems with your prostate or liver
- Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.
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Can Finasteride Regrow A Receding Hairline
So, does finasteride regrow hair? Since hair loss can vary in severity from one man to another, theres no precise amount of hair that finasteride will help to protect or regrow for everyone.
As a general rule, its best to think of finasteride as a form of protection against further hair loss, and not as a guaranteed way to regrow hair youve already lost.
However, almost all scientific research shows that finasteride produces a reduction in hair loss and, for many men, improvements in hair growth.
For example, in a study published in the late 1990s, 66 percent of men with hair loss who used finasteride experienced improvements in hair growth over the course of two years, compared to just seven percent of men who used a non-therapeutic placebo.
In the same study, 83 percent of men who used finasteride showed no progression of hair loss over the two-year study period.
Now, does this mean that finasteride will completely restore your hairline? Not necessarily, as a variety of factors all play a role in hair loss.
If youve had a receding hairline for some time, or if youve already lost a lot of hair around your hairline, finasteride may not completely restore it.
However, using finasteride could cause some amount of hair regrowth in the areas of your scalp where youve only recently started to notice thinning and recession.
Why Is The 1mg Finasteride Tablet Used For Hair Loss
Dose-ranging studies were conducted in 1999 to help verify which dose of Finasteride is the best choice for male pattern hair loss.
In these studies, men were given either 0.1mg, 0.2mg, 1mg, or 5mg of Finasteride daily, or a placebo, and then their hair counts, self-reports, and clinical assessments were conducted by researchers.
The two lower doses of 0.1mg and 0.2mg were way less effective than the two higher doses, with the 0.1mg dose being about the same as the placebo .But, the two higher strengths of 1mg and 5mg were much better at improving hair counts, self-reports, and visual hair inspections.
The thing is, both the 1mg dose and the 5mg dose gave similar results, leading researchers to conclude that the 1mg dose of Finasteride is the optimal strength to prescribe for male pattern hair loss.
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Can Finasteride Cause Problems
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the ones associated with finasteride. You will find a full list in the manufacturer’s information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Finasteride side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Reduced desire to have sex, inability to get an erection, breast tenderness, depressed mood, allergic-type reactions||If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor|
Important: if you develop any pain or lumps in your breast area, or any discharge from your nipples, you should tell your doctor. This is because there have been a few rare reports of breast cancer in men taking finasteride.
In addition, there have been reports of depression in men taking finasteride, and in rare cases, thoughts of self-harming. If you develop any signs of depression whilst being treated with finasteride, stop taking it and make an appointment to see your doctor.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the tablets, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
Important Information About All Medicines
If you buy any medicines check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading and references
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Finasteride For Womens Hair Loss
Propecia is not approved by the FDA for use in women and we will not prescribe it for our female patients. Considering its effectiveness for use in men, one would assume it would also work for women, assuming that their hair loss is caused by the shrinking of DHT-sensitive hair follicles. However this drug is a category X and therefore has never gained FDA clearance for use in women.
If your hair loss is determined to be female pattern baldness, your physician can recommend over-the-counter minoxidil or other prescribe medication for you though it will not be finasteride. There are other medications intended for completely different purposes that are also anti-androgens and tend to block the production or absorption of DHT.
Studies have been conducted on women and dosages have been experimented with. For example, a study conducted from 2007 to 2011 observed 256 patients diagnosed with female pattern hair loss who took 5mg of finasteride for the specific purpose of studying adverse effects.
Its very important to note that women who are pregnant, or attempting to become pregnant should not, under any circumstances, take finasteride. Propecia is considered a Category X drug for pregnancy risk, meaning that theres reason to believe the medication causes birth defects. In this case, external genitalia abnormalities in a male fetus were reported in a study performed on animals.
Getting The Most From Your Treatment
- Each time you collect a new supply of tablets from your pharmacy, make sure they look to be the same as you have had before. This is because there is a high-dose brand of finasteride tablet available for the treatment of a different condition. If you are unsure that you have the correct tablets, ask your pharmacist to check for you.
- Your hair growth may start to improve within a few months, although it can take up to a year or so for you to notice the full benefit. You will need to continue treatment to maintain this effect, as the balding process returns when you stop.
- Finasteride may cause harm to an unborn baby. Because of this, women who are pregnant should not handle the tablets. Also, very small amounts of finasteride will be in your semen while you are taking this medicine. If you need further advice about this, speak with your pharmacist or doctor.
- If you are having an operation or any medical treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking finasteride. This is because finasteride can interfere with a blood test used to detect prostate cancer, so you must tell your doctor about taking finasteride if you need this test.
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Combine It With Other Treatments
There is nothing to stop you from combining finasteride with minoxidil, the other FDA-approved treatment for male baldness. These two drugs do not interact, and results will typically be superior to either treatment on its own.
There are also various natural compounds you can try, some of which will be oral and others topical. Some of the most popular topical treatments are caffeine, castor oil, and various essential oils .
Are Finasteride Results Legit
Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Male pattern baldness is a common issue that the majority of men will have to deal with at some point in life.
In fact, according to research published in the journal, Dermatologic Surgery, 53 percent of men aged from 40 to 49 have moderate to extensive hair loss.
Up until a couple of decades ago, hair loss was something that guys just had to accept and take in stride.
Then came finasteride, a medication for treating hair loss that gained approval from the FDA as Propecia® in 1997.
As a daily-use medication, finasteride offered men with hair loss the option of slowing down, stopping or even, in some cases, reversing baldness.
If youre starting to lose your hair, you may have looked into using finasteride, either by itself or in combination with other treatments, to shield yourself from further hair loss.
Below, weve explained what you can expect in terms of finasteride results, from how long it takes to produce improvements to the type of regrowth and general success rate you can expect from finasteride.
Finally, weve shared a few practical, science-based tips and techniques to help you get the best possible results from finasteride.
Read more: Propecia vs Finasteride
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Why Isn’t Propecia Working For Me
Everyones bodies are different, and while one treatment might work for 1 person it may not work for another. If after 3-6 months of taking Propecia youve not seen any improvement in your hair loss, its worth speaking to your clinician. They will be able to advise what the best next steps are.
Regaine is a popular hair loss treatment. The active ingredient in Regaine helps to slow hair loss and encourage regrowth. Its usually applied to the head in a foam.
How To Take Finasteride
For hair loss, you should take one tablet of finasteride daily.
You should not crush or break finasteride and you should swallow the tablet whole with water. This is because finasteride can be absorbed through the skin and can potentially cause birth defects if a pregnant woman comes into contact with it.
You can take finasteride on an empty stomach, or after a meal. There is no best time to take finasteride, but you should try to take it at the same time each day to help you get into a routine. This reduces the chances of forgetting to take a dose.
Missing a dose of finasteride occasionally is unlikely to affect your hair growth. However, finasteride has a short half-life which means that it exits the body quickly. Missing frequent doses can negatively impact results. If you do miss a dose of finasteride, do not take an extra tablet to make up for the missed dose. Continue to take your tablets as normal when it is time to take your next dose.
Tip: You can set a reminder on your phone to help you remember to take your tablets. Alternatively, you can leave your tablets by your toothbrush to remind yourself that you need to take a tablet.
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What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Finasteride
Proscar, a higher dose of finasteride prescribed specifically to shrink an enlarged prostate, showed that regular use for up to seven years decreased the risk of low-grade prostate cancer â but high-grade cancers were more common in the finasteride group compared to placebo.
That being said, when someone is taking finasteride for androgenetic alopecia, theyâre taking the medication at a lower dose and are unlikely to see this side effect.
Other rare finasteride side effects include:
- Depression and anxiety
- Breast enlargement and tenderness
Most people who experience these rare side effects get used to the medication and donât experience side effects after a few days or weeks.
If you experience any of the following side effects on finasteride, see a doctor immediately:
- Suicidal ideation
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, or face
- Lumps or pain in the chest area
You should also know that women who are pregnant or trying to conceive shouldnât even touch finasteride â literally. The medication can pass through the skin and potentially cause birth defects in babies.
Does Finasteride Cause Any Interactions With Other Drugs
No drug interactions of clinical importance have been identified. Studies have been conducted with finasteride and antipyrine, digoxin, glyburide, propranolol, theophylline, and warfarin, and no interactions were found. In clinical trials, finasteride was used concomitantly with ACE inhibitors, acetaminophen, alpha blockers, benzodiazepines, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, cardiac nitrates, diuretics, H2 antagonists, HMG-CoA Reductase inhibitors, prostaglandin synthesase inhibitors , and quinolones, without evidence of clinically significant adverse interactions.
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Is Topical Finasteride Effective For Hair Loss
Topical finasteride works excellently against hair loss. Whats more, topical finasteride avoids many of the adverse side effects that may deter others from completing treatment. The following are studies highlighting the effectiveness of oral finasteride.
- A 2016 article published in the journal Dermatology Clinics and Research of 107 people found that:
- Both topical and oral finasteride are equally effective.
- However, participants on topical finasteride were more likely to complete treatment because there were less side effects.
To summarize, the topical application of finasteride is as effective as taking the drug orally. However, adverse side effects are less common with the topical application of finasteride when compared to oral treatment.
A Definitive Guide To Finasteride For Male Androgenetic Alopecia By A Dermatologist
Finasteride is a medication used to tackle the condition androgenic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness.
If you are here then the chances are youve heard about Finasteride being used against hair loss. But what does it actually do and does it help?
Take a look below to find out more about this medication and the general FAQs with regards to Finasteride.
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Does Propecia Work Permanently
It is important to remember that Propecia is a hair loss treatment, not a cure. Once you stop taking Propecia your testosterone will start converting into DHT as before. Gradually your hair loss will resume, and it is likely that you will lose any hair that you have gained within 12 months of stopping the treatment.
Clinical Evidence For Propecia
In a five year medical study, two groups of men took a daily tablet of either finasteride or a placebo . The results were striking.
Over 80% of the men taking finasteride found that their hair loss stopped within 6 to 12 months, and 66% even reported regrowth. In contrast, the entire placebo group experienced hair loss. Furthermore, Men taking finasteride reported significant increases in hair density, and improvement in the appearance of their hair after treatment.
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Sexual Dysfunction And Finasteride
Sexual dysfunction can include lowered libido, erectile dysfunction and ejaculatory problems.
1.9% of men may experience low libido and 1.4% erectile dysfunction in the first year of treatment. This compares to 1.3% and 0.6% of men on placebo.
Many men suffering from sexual side effects will see their problems resolve when they stop the medication and even if they continue.
Some men may, however, have persistent difficulties that may last 3 or more months after stopping treatment. The true incidence of persistent problems is unknown.
How Should I Take Finasteride
- Take finasteride exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to take it.
- You may take finasteride with or without food.
- If you forget to take finasteride, do not take an extra tablet. Just take the next tablet as usual.
- Finasteride will not work faster or better if you take it more than once a day.
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