Finasteride is used commonly to treat enlarged prostates, and may decrease the need for prostate surgery. Finasteride is also used to treat male pattern hair loss IN MEN. Finasteride (marketed as the brand Propecia) treats male pattern hair loss by blocking the body’s production of a male hormone in the scalp that stops hair growth.
Finasteride is a prescription tablet that is taken orally. The typical dosage is once a day, and may be taken with or without food. Finasteride should be taken at around the same time every day, and exactly as directed by the prescribing doctor.
When used to treat male pattern hair loss, Finasteride may take at least 3 months before showing noticeable improvement. Results should be seen during the first 12 months of treatment. If no improvement is seen after 12 months of taking Finasteride, further treatment probably will not help.
Finasteride will slow hair loss while the medication is being taken, and should be continued if improvement is noticed.
Before taking Finasteride it is important for you to:
- discuss any allergies you may have with your doctor and pharmacist
- make sure your doctor and pharmacist are aware of all other medications or supplements you are currently taking
- let your doctor know if you have or have ever had liver disease or prostate cancer
It is also important to note that Finasteride should only be used by men. For women, Minoxidil is typically prescribed.
Vertex (Top of the Head) Study
Propecia was demonstrated to be effective in the longest controlled study of male pattern hair loss ever conducted. In this 5-year study of men with mild to moderate hair loss:
- 9 of 10 men on Propecia had visible results (either regrowth of hair, 48% [134 of 279], or no further hair loss, 42% [117 of 279]) vs 25% (4 of 16) on placebo (sugar pill), according to an assessment of photographs by an independent panel of dermatologists.
- 2 out of 3 men on Propecia regrew hair, as measured by hair count. All the men in the study who were not taking Propecia lost hair.
- A majority of men on Propecia were rated as improved by doctors: 77% (210 out of 271) vs 15% (2 out of 13) with placebo.
- A majority of men on Propecia reported their bald spot getting smaller, their hair loss slowing down, and the appearance of their hair improving.
What’s more, in the first year of the study, 86% (587 out of 679) of men on Propecia maintained hair or increased the number of visible hairs vs 42% (282 out of 672) on placebo.
Anterior Mid-Scalp (Middle-Front of the Head) Study
Propecia also was shown to be effective in a study of men with hair loss on the middle front of the head.