What is Finasteride?
Finasteride (FIN) is the only FDA approved active ingredient in a hair loss medication that causes a rapid decrease of DHT levels in scalp tissue. DHT is a male androgen that can sometimes block the hair’s ability to receive nutrients. For this reason, reducing the amount of DHT by taking Finasteride is an extremely effective method for fighting male patterned hair loss.
Finasteride is more effective at treating hair on the crown of the head than hair on the temples, though this area is general least affected by male-pattern baldness (MPB).
How Does Finasteride Prevent DHT?
FIN blocks an enzyme named 5aR from metabolizing hormones into DHT. This is known as a 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor. If 5 alpha-reductase cannot convert male hormones into DHT, then it cannot gather in receptors in the hair follicles and block nutritional pathways.
How Long For Finasteride Results?
The solution to MPB can sometimes be as slow as the initial onset. Hair goes through natural cycles of growth that can take some time to activate, which is why it typically takes a few months to a year before any changes can be visually recognized.
What Form Does Finasteride Come In?
FIN is available as an oral tablet that is usually taken once day. No food is necessary at the time of dosage.
Does Finasteride Work for Men and Women?
Only men should take FIN. In fact, pregnant women should not even come in physical contact with the medicine because it can be absorbed through the skin (as is the case with most tablet based medications) and potentially cause birth complications of a male fetus. If a pregnant woman handles this medication, she should be sure to thoroughly wash the area that came into contact, and then contact their primary care provider or family doctor.
What if I Miss a Dosage of Finasteride?
If you forget to take your next dose, continue the medicinal regime as normal. Do not take double the amount next time. FIN should always be taken as directed, and the advised amount should never be exceeded.
What are Some Side Effects of Finasteride?
Side effects can include:
- Decreased ejaculate
- Erection difficulties
- Decreased sexual appetite
- Testicular pain
- Mood deregulation
These side effects are somewhat regular, but should still be discussed with your doctor if they occur in excess.
What are Some Serious Side Effects of Finasteride?
Be sure to contact your doctor immediately if there is:
- Any change in breast tissue (size increase, painful limps, or discharge).
- A rash
- Facial swelling
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
These side effects can be indicative of a serious reaction and should be reported as soon as possible.
What are Some Brands of Finasteride?
Propecia and Proscar are both tablets that contain the active ingredient Finasteride. Both of these medications have been proven effective against alopecia in clinical studies, and have been approved for prescription-use only. They are not available over-the-counter. Propecia has been available since 1997, and Proscar was released in 1992.
Dutasteride is another 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor that can be used to combat MPB (male pattern hair los). The primary use to combat benign prostate hyperplasia (prostate enlargement). DHT regulates prostate growth, and inhibiting DHT can reduce prostate swelling.