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How Does Finasteride Work For Hair Loss

Is Finasteride Safe To Use Long Term

Finasteride (Propecia) For Hair Loss

Research and studies prove that finasteride is safe for long term use. A study from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial concluded that âthere is little need to worry about long-term consequence of finasteride use in those who use it for hair growthâ. Another 5-year study showed that âFinasteride 1mg daily over 5 years was well tolerated, led to durable improvements in scalp hair growth, and slowed the further progression of hair loss that occurred without treatmentâ.

Finasteride side effects are not common, however, rare side effects include:

  • Depression or low mood
  • Reduced sexual desire and erectile issues

If you experience any of the above or any unusual side effects, you should contact your doctor.

Important points

  • There have been 3 reported cases of breast cancer in men taking finasteride 1mg. Although this may just be a correlation rather than a direct impact of finasteride, the risk cannot be excluded
  • There is a possible risk of birth defects in male babies, if pregnant women come into contact with finasteride. To date, there are no reports of adverse outcomes, however, this risk should not be excluded

Why We Go Bald

Androgenetic Alopecia is the most common cause of hair loss among men .

While researchers do not know its exact mechanism, they believe it involves sensitivity to the male hormone dihydrotestosterone .

DHT regulates sexual maturation and is a necessary hormone for male development. Adolescents who dont produce DHT can suffer various problems, including improperly formed secondary sexual characteristics .

For reasons that we dont yet understand, in adulthood DHT can be problematic. Researchers believe that some men are sensitive to the effects of DHT in the scalp, and that this sensitivity is the ultimate cause of AGA.

The hallmark of AGA is a process known as hair follicle miniaturization.

Under the influence of DHT, the hair follicles become progressively smaller and weaker. If left untreated, the hair shafts will soon fail to protrude through the scalp. In this way, most of the scalp can eventually become completely bald.

Who Should Not Take Finasteride

Do not take finasteride if you:

  • are pregnant or may become pregnant. Finasteride may harm your unborn baby. Females who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not come in contact with broken or crushed finasteride tablets. If a pregnant woman comes in contact with crushed or broken finasteride tablets, wash the contact area right away with soap and water. If a woman who is pregnant comes into contact with the active ingredient in finasteride, a healthcare provider should be consulted. o If a woman who is pregnant with a male baby swallows or comes in contact with the medicine in finasteride, the male baby may be born with sex organs that are not normal.
  • are allergic to any of the ingredients in finasteride.

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How Should This Medicine Be Used

Finasteride comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with or without food. Take finasteride at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take finasteride exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

If you are taking finasteride to treat BPH, you should know that finasteride may control your condition, but will not cure it. It may take at least 6 months before your symptoms improve. Continue to take finasteride even if you feel well. Do not stop taking finasteride without talking to your doctor.

If you are taking finasteride to treat male pattern hair loss, it may take at least 3 months before you see any improvement because hair loss and growth happen slowly over time. However, you should expect to see improvement during the first 12 months of your treatment. If you have taken finasteride for 12 months and have not noticed any improvement, further treatment probably will not help. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue your treatment.

Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.

What To Do If Finasteride Is Not Working

Finasteride Tablet 5 Alpha

You may not have been taking finasteride tablets for long enough. First ask yourself how long you have been taking finasteride tablets for. As humans, we all want to see results fast. Itâs human instinct. However, you must bear in mind that finasteride takes at least 3 months to start working. It may even take up to 6 months before you start noticing the positive effects.

Finasteride works to slow hair loss too. It may not work to regrow hair, but it may be helping to stop the natural balding process. This can be difficult to assess. The best way to gauge this, is to take regular pictures, so that you can assess your response before and after taking finasteride.

Forgetting to take your tablets. It can be difficult to remember to take your tablets daily, especially at the beginning. Setting a reminder on your phone or leaving your tablets by your toothbrush can help you to sop forgetting to take your tablets.

It may be too late. Finasteride is most effective in treating mild to moderate cases of hair loss. If you are experiencing hair loss that is within the moderate to severe category, finasteride is unlikely to work.

Tip: Using other hair loss products such as Regaine and hair loss supplements can help to speed up the results of finasteride.

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Propecia Vs Generic Finasteride: A Difference

While results are important to hair loss sufferers, so is cost. Brand-name prescription drugs can be costly, and you could end up spending thousands per year.

Propecia is the brand name of the original finasteride. It was the only available brand until 2006. Since then, multiple generic brands came to market as the patent expired.

Both Propecia and generic brands include the active ingredient finasteride. It is the inactive ingredients, packaging, and branding that differ from brand to brand.

Overall, this should not cause any problems for patients. By definition, inactive ingredients are not biologically active. This suggests most users will get comparable results switching from Propecia to generic.

One thing to consider, however, is the quality of the manufacturing process. It is possible that generic finasteride will have lower-quality inactive ingredients.

If you are considering purchasing generic finasteride, discuss this with your doctor. You can also speak to your pharmacist and read online reviews of other users.

Does Propecia Work For Everyone

Propecia is most effective for men experiencing male pattern baldness. Although female pattern baldness exists there is no clinical evidence to support the use of Propecia in women, in fact it can be dangerous for women. Certain types of hair loss – such as alopecia totalis – cannot be treated by Propecia. Ultimately hair loss is a natural result of ageing: the older you grow, the less effective Propecia will become.

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Does Propecia Cause Shedding

The common sentiment goes something like this: Once you start taking Propecia, you may experience a period of shedding that could last a couple, to several months. It is a very mild shed but it is advised that you hold off on your expectations for results during this time period if you are easily bothered, or tend to be OCD about your hair.

Shedding is completely normal, and is only temporary. Finasteride causes thinning hair to reset, which can put larger numbers of follicles into dormancy phase at the same time. This gives off the impression of increased baldness, but its only dormancy.

Shedding is Temporary

Getting The Most From Your Treatment

How Long Does it Take Finasteride to Work? Answers to Your Hair Loss Questions from Dr. Raman Madan.
  • 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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What Do Finasteride Meta

So whats the TLDR? If the table above was a dizzying amount of information, there is an easy way to get a summary. Researchers do whats called a meta-analysis to sum up lots of studies, where they systematically gather all the data on a drug, and run statistics to make an overarching statement on whether it works. They throw out all the studies with bias, like those sponsored by drug companies, and with mistakes in how they were conducted.

Here is what the meta analyses have to say on Fin:

  • One review, in 2010, combined several studies totaling in 3927 participants, showed a significant increase in efficacy for Finasteride versus the placebo.
  • Another review done in 2019 showed that Finasteride is effective, but a similar 5AR inhibitor, Dutasteride is slightly more effective.

What Medicines Are Fda

The two medicines approved by the US FDA to treat normal hair loss in men are Finasteride and Minoxidil. Weve reviewed dozens of clinical study abstracts, and these two medicines have been shown time and time again to help men keep their hair with a low instance of side effects. The table below lays out how these medicines are approved to be taken, and the percent of men who saw an improvement with each treatment. The percent improvement is from this clinical study, which we picked because its results are in line with many of the other studies weve seen.

And if you want to increase your odds to 94% from the percentages above, the same clinical study recommend combining oral Finasteride with topical Minoxidil.

If youre curious how Fin works to halt hair loss, heres the super quick version. A hormone called DHT in all health mens bodies interacts with hair follicles, causing them to shrink and eventually stop producing hair. Fin interferes with the DHT in your scalp, stopping it from shrinking your follicles, and thus helping you keep hair.

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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.

Combine Finasteride With Minoxidil

Finasteride for Hair Loss

Minoxidil is a medication that comes as a foam or liquid that you rub onto your scalp. Scientists believe it helps stimulate hair growth by increasing the flow of blood and nutrients to hair follicles.

A clinical trial of 100 people with androgenic alopecia found that using finasteride and minoxidil together was more effective than using either one alone . If youre interested in trying this combination, speak with your healthcare provider.

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Does Finasteride Dosage Matter

The recommended dosage of Finasteride is 1 mg. But research shows that any dosage over 0.2 mg per day was effective. Here is what one study found:


However, there was no reason found to increase to 5 mg, since its effects were equal to 1 mg. Plus, the side effects occurred less often at the 1 mg dose. So, 1 mg remains the optimal dose.

Is There A Difference Between Propecia And Finasteride

Propecia is the brand name of the medication, while finasteride is the active ingredient in Propecia. After the patent for Propecia expired, finasteride became a generic drug. You will find that generics are about 80% cheaper than buying brand name Propecia. They are both medically the same – the only difference is the price and the inactive ingredients in the pill.

Essential Clinic prescribes generic medication by default. However, you do have the choice of buying brand name if you prefer.

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Strut Topical Hair Loss Review

Struts topical hair loss product contains the two FDA approved hair loss medicines, Finasteride and Minoxidil, plus a vitamin-like compound, Tretinoin. The Finasteride, Minoxidil and Tretinoin concentrations Struts gel will vary they use a compounding pharmacy to mix different concentrations depending on what the physician orders for you. Unlike Hims or Happy Head, Struts medicine is delivered in a gel formula, which youll apply directly to your scalp.

As we mentioned in our Happy Head review, Strut contains a third active ingredient, Tretinoin. To quickly recap, the Tretinoin is Struts compound may help promote blood flow to your follicles, making them healthier. However, this is prescribed off-label, its not technically approved by the FDA to treat baldness. And it can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Because there isnt a ton of published medical research on Tretinoin and hair loss, its hard for us to say if this is a necessary ingredient or not.

Something totally unique to Strut is that they can also prescribe Dutasteride for hair loss either alone, or in combination with the Finasteride gel. Dutasteride is a drug prescribed off label for hair loss it works somewhat similarly to Fin in that it reduces DHT, which can help your follicles stay healthier.

However, it hasnt been FDA approved specifically to treat hair loss, and it mayhave a higher instance of side effects .


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