Is Finasteride Safe To Use Long Term
Since finasteride only prevents hair loss while its active in your body, youll need to use it daily over the long term if your goal is to stop baldness and keep as much of your hair as possible.
For many men, this means taking finasteride for years. Currently, studies show that finasteride is safe to use over the long term.
For example, a study from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial of almost 19,000 men who had taken finasteride for seven years concluded that there is little need to worry about any long-term consequences from finasteride.
Other long-term studies of finasteride show similar results, with a 1mg dose of finasteride well tolerated over a period of five years.
There have been reports of a slight increased risk of High Grade Prostate Cancer for men over age 55 years old. Again, this is at a much higher dosage than we prescribe for hair loss.
My Doctor Has Asked Me To Take Finasteride Less Than Daily
You should follow your physicians advice which is likely to be bespoke to you, as it is for patients at our Clinic. Finasteride binds the type II 5 alpha reductase enzyme permanently so the effects of Finasteride may last longer than one day. Alternate day and twice a week regimes in some instances may still have a desired effect.
How Should I Take Propecia
Take Propecia exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Take this medicine with a full glass of water.
Propecia can be taken with or without food. Take the medicine at the same time each day.
It is important to use Propecia regularly to get the most benefit. You may need to take Propecia daily for three months or more before you see a benefit. Propecia can only work over the long term if you continue taking it. If the drug has not worked for you in twelve months, further treatment is unlikely to be of benefit. If you stop taking Propecia, you will likely lose the hair you have gained within 12 months of stopping treatment. You should discuss this with your doctor.
To be sure this medication is helping your condition and not causing harmful effects, your blood may need to be tested often. Your doctor will also test your prostate specific antigen to check for prostate cancer. Visit your doctor regularly.
Store Propecia at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
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Minoxidil Finasteride Or Both 6 Factors To Consider Before You Start Treatment
Its not a life or death decision. But its a big decision nevertheless and if you choose the wrong treatment plan, it may cost you your hair.
Obviously, finasteride AKA Propecia, is far more effective than minoxidil. It works astoundingly well, stopping hair loss in its tracks and often promoting some regrowth too in about 90% of its users.
But finasteride comes with a variety of unappealing, potential side effects, including impotence, gynomastia , depression, and others.
Minoxidil works too but its more of a hassle to use and unlike finasteride, it doesnt address the root cause of pattern hair loss. Sure, minoxidil may buy some time. But its effectiveness will decrease a little with each passing year and it works best on mild hair loss.
So which product should you use for your hair loss battle? Or should you use both of them simultaneously?
Here are the factors you should consider as you put together your treatment plan.
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.
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Speaking To Your Doctor
As mentioned, finasteride is prescription only. That means you need to consult a physician to begin treatment and determine the right dosage for you.
If you are concerned that the 1mg dosage might be too much for you, discuss this with your doctor. Together, you can decide on a lower dosage regimen, which will most likely be around 0.2mg.
Finasteride pills are not available in strengths lower than 1mg. This means that if you want to take a lower dosage, your doctor can advise you on a) either skipping the pill on certain days or b) cutting the pill into smaller pieces with a pill cutter.
Which Types Of Hair Loss Does Finasteride Treat
Its common and normal to experience a little bit of hair loss on a daily basis. In fact, most guys shed 50 and 100 hairs per day, even if they arent affected by male pattern baldness.
This level of hair shedding occurs as part of your natural hair growth cycle. As hair grows to its full length, it starts to transition from active growth to rest.
Eventually, its replaced by new hair, resulting in a certain amount of daily shedding.
This level of hair loss is so insignificant that its usually not even noticeable. If youve begun to experience noticeable hair loss, however, it could be a problem.
Currently, finasteride is approved by the FDA to treat male pattern baldness, which is the most common type of hair loss in men.
However, male pattern baldness isnt the only type of hair loss. Other types of hair loss that can affect you may include:
Telogen effluvium. This is a temporary form of hair loss thats caused by severe stress, infections, surgery, illnesses that cause fever, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal changes and certain types of medication.
Alopecia areata. This is a form of autoimmune hair loss, in which your hair can fall out in small, round patches. Experts arent completely sure about what triggers this type of hair loss, although it may be related to stress, infections and certain medications.
Tinea capitis. Also referred to as scalp ringworm, this is a type of fungal infection that can cause patchy hair loss.
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Vitamin D Hair Loss: What To Do
If youve noticed your hair shedding or looking thin and think that it could be due to a vitamin D deficiency, talk to your healthcare provider.
They will be able to test you for a vitamin D deficiency and, if appropriate, may recommend using a vitamin D supplement.
You may also be able to increase your vitamin D levels by changing your diet to include more foods that contain vitamin D, or by spending 10 to 15 minutes outside during sunny weather a few times each week.
There are numerous reasons that you might lose hair. While a vitamin D deficiency could be a cause of your hair loss, it may also be due to male pattern baldness, stress, use of medication or many other factors.
Other Finasteride Side Effects
As is the case with any prescription medication, Propecia has many potential side effects. Some of the serious side effects include chills, cold sweats, confusion, dizziness, and lightheartedness. Allergic reactions have also been reported, including rashes, hives, and swelling of the lips and face. Sexual side effects, as discussed above in detail, are also possible. If youre looking for an exhaustive list of Propecias possible side effects, you can review this drugs.com medication profile.
Propecia and Prostate Cancer
In the aforementioned Prostate Cancer Prevention study, researchers found that finasteride reduced the overall risk of prostate cancer by 25% however, it increased the risk of high-grade prostate cancers among the participants by 27%. Finasteride itself wasnt the reason for the uptick in high-grade cancer diagnoses, according to the researchers.
The drug is known to shrink the prostate. And, according to Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, doctors are more likely to diagnose prostate cancer in men with smaller prostates. He says, this drug wasnt causing more prostate cancer. Its causing more prostate cancer to be diagnosed .
Finasteride and Infertility
The Belagravia Centre of England advises their patients to discontinue Propecia a week before attempting to conceive .
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Are There Any Contraindications For Finasteride
Finasteride is not indicated for use in women or children. However, it is sometimes prescribed off-label for postmenopausal women without problems. Finasteride is contraindicated in women who are or may potentially be pregnant. Finasteride is contraindicated in patients who are hypersensitive to any component of the product.
It is not recommended in men that are subfertile. In men planning to have children, some doctors check sperm counts prior to starting finasteride and repeat it after 6 months of treatment. If the sperm count has reduced, finasteride should be stopped.
Warnings For People With Certain Health Conditions
For people with liver disease: This drug is processed in your liver. If you have liver disease, your body might process this drug more slowly. This could lead to a buildup of this drug in your body, which could increase your risk for side effects. Your doctor might reduce your dosage of finasteride.
For people with prostate cancer: Finasteride can increase the chance of a faster growing or irregular form of prostate cancer. If you have or have had prostate cancer, this drug can make it worse.
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Stages Of Hair Growth Miniaturization
Hair is made up of the hair follicle and the shaft . In the hair bulb, located at the base of the follicle, cells divide and grow to produce the hair shaft, which is made from a protein called keratin. Papilla that surround the bulb contain tiny blood vessels that nourish the hair follicles and deliver hormones to regulate the growth and structure of the hair.
Hair follicles, much like all cells, have cycles. A natural part of the cycle involves shedding around 50 to 100 hairs per day.
Each follicle produces hair for 2 to 6 years and then takes a break for several months. While the hair follicle is in its rest phase, the hair falls out. There are around 100,000 follicles on the scalp, but because each follicle rests at a different time and others produce hairs, hair loss is usually unnoticeable. More noticeable hair loss occurs when there is a disruption to the growth and shedding cycle, or if the hair follicle is obliterated and replaced with scar tissue.
Scientists now understand that pattern baldness occurs through a phenomenon known as miniaturization. Some hair follicles appear to be genetically oversensitive to the actions of dihydrotestosterone , which is a hormone that is converted from testosterone with the help of an enzyme held in the follicles oil glands.
The only two drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat hair loss are minoxidil and finasteride .
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.
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Finasteride Helps Up To 90% With Male Pattern Hair Loss
Studies looking at photographs of men aged 18 to 41 taking Finasteride for 5 years showed 48% had improved hair appearance and another 42% were unchanged. This means that about 90% of men may benefit from taking Finasteride when looking at the appearance of the scalp hair. 10% of men may not benefit.
In another study looking at hair counts, men taking Finasteride saw an increase of hair counts by 10% at the end of the first year. Hair counts decline following this but at a slower pace and at end of 5 years, hair counts were better than they were before starting treatment. This is important as men suffering from pattern hair loss may lose 26% of their terminal scalp hairs in 5 years without any treatment.
This means that Finasteride boosts hair counts in the first year, and then slows down the rate of progression of male pattern hair loss after the first year.
It is important to understand that Finasteride does not permanently stop male pattern hair loss or reverse it.
Does Propecia Actually Work
With the sheer number of products promoted as hair loss solutions marketed to those suffering from male pattern baldness, its perfectly understandable that people would question the efficacy of finasteride.
The good news is, finasteride is very effective in the majority of people who take it to treat their male pattern baldness.
Study after study totaling thousands of men observed over a period of up to five years has shown that Propecia not only slows the process of hair loss, but it actually helps regrow some of the hair the person has already lost.
In fact, clinical trials showed that the progression of hair loss stopped in 86% of participants. Furthermore, 65% experienced a substantial increase in hair growth. Theres even evidence to suggest that finasteride is more effective in year five of use than in year one.
Because of its efficacy in such a large portion of those who take it, finasteride is often the first recommendation doctors give to patients experiencing male pattern baldness who are interested in seeking treatment even before over-the-counter treatments like minoxidil.
Its important to note that finasteride is most effective in those with mild to moderate hair loss. Frankly, theres less ground to cover if the person is earlier on in the hair loss process. If the patient has lost too much hair, the effects will barely be noticeable.
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