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Is Finasteride Right For Your Hair Loss?

Finasteride is arguably the most effective hair loss medication available today, and it’s also one of only two medications to be approved by the U.S. FDA. Ever.
Finasteride is an oral medication that can help to slow hair loss, prevent thinning, and regrow hair. For men with androgenic alopecia, or male pattern baldness, it’s top of mind for most dermatologists.
Branded as Propecia when it was first introduced, finasteride is now available as a generic at very affordable prices.

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How Effective is Finasteride?

Finasteride has a great track record on both effectiveness and safety. It’s been used by millions of men since its creation over a decade ago, and it’s still one of the top hair loss solutions available.
For instance, an analysis of Phase 3 studies involving finasteride showed that oral finasteride (1 mg/day, the standard dose) promoted hair growth and prevents further hair loss in a significant proportion of men with male pattern hair loss. These researchers wrote, “In men with vertex hair loss, global photographs showed improvement in hair growth in 48% of finasteride recipients at 1 year and in 66% at 2 years compared with 7% of placebo recipients at each time point. Furthermore, hair counts in these men showed that 83% of finasteride versus 28% of placebo recipients had no further hair loss compared with baseline after 2 years.” 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates prescription medications, approved this hair loss solution based results like these:

At 12 months, the investigators rated 65% of men treated with finasteride as having increased hair growth compared with 37% in the placebo group.

65%

At 2 years, the investigators rated 80% of men treated with finasteride as having increased hair growth.

80%

And, the researchers recognize that finasteride has long-lasting impacts:

At 5 years, the investigators rated 77% of men treated with finasteride as having increased hair growth.

77%

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How Does Finasteride Work?

Finasteride is known as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. To understand how it works, it’s worth understanding what causes androgenic alopecia, or male pattern baldness. 

Finasteride is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. By reducing the 5-alpha reductase, it subsequently reduces the amount of DHT in the body, and the amount of DHT able to act on your hair follicles. Finasteride can reduce circulating DHT levels by as much as 70%.
DHT is produced FROM testosterone, and it’s much more potent. The enzyme that catalyzes this translation – from testosterone to dihydrotestosterone – is called the 5-alpha reductase.
The hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is widely recognized as the root cause of this kind of male pattern baldness. It’s a natural hormone and necessary for normal physiological function, but certain men are genetically susceptible to DHT. Their hair follicles can begin to shrink and die off after being exposed to DHT for extended periods of time. This is called androgenic alopecia due to its relation to the “androgens” or sex hormones: DHT and testosterone.

This mechanism is understood, and it’s clear that finasteride works well. So, is finasteride right for you?

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Should I Try Finasteride

Finasteride begins working right away to reduce DHT in your body. But the effects can take 3 months to begin to show, and most physicians will tell you that the full effects won’t be apparent for 6-12 months.
Testing over the years suggests that finasteride may be effective for any and all presentations of male hair loss, including the vertex, frontal, and temporal regions of the head.

If you’re experiencing hair thinning or hair loss, you should consider finasteride. Finasteride is affordable and easy to use; it has a strong track record in male pattern baldness; and it can work in the earlier stages of hair loss to help prevent further loss.

Finasteride works best to slow and prevent further hair loss and to help maintain the hair you already have. The more hair you still have, the better, and the earlier you can begin using finasteride to prevent hair loss, the better.

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How Do You Use finasteride?

Finasteride is a once-daily oral-medication that comes in a 1mg dose. You typically take finasteride at the same time each day, at the instruction of your prescribing physician. 

You should expect to continue taking finasteride if you want to continue seeing the benefits. It’s not a one-time fix, and researchers have shown that continued use can have benefits for 10 years and more!

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Is Finasteride Safe?

Finasteride has been used by millions of men with great success, but it does come with some known side effects

Finasteride can also affect blood levels of the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA). These levels are used in screening for prostate cancer, and finasteride can decrease your PSA levels. You should tell your physician that you’re taking finasteride, and any changes in PSA levels will need to be evaluated by your provider.
Some people have reported swelling of the hands or feet and swelling or tenderness of the breasts/chest, depression, allergic reactions, and testicular pain. These are uncommon side effects.
The most common adverse reactions, reported in 1% or more of patients treated with finasteride and greater than in patients treated with placebo have been: a decreased libido, erectile dysfunction and ejaculation disorder.

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any bothersome or noticeable side effects, or those that don’t go away.

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Can Women Use Finasteride?

Women and children should not use or handle finasteride as its effects can be dangerous to these groups.

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How to Try Finasteride?

If you’re experiencing hair thinning or hair loss, Shapiro MD can help you get a finasteride prescription and personalized treatment plan with the help of our licensed physicians. Talk to a professional today and find out if finasteride is right for you.

Finasteride is a great option for most men with androgenic alopecia. It has a strong safety and efficacy track record.

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