Everything You Need to Know About Propecia (Finasteride)

What is Propecia?

Propecia a medication is used for the treatment of male pattern hair loss on the top of the head and along the anterior forehead. Male pattern hair loss also referred to as androgenic alopecia and is a very common condition that affects men in the prime of their life. It usually starts after the second decade of life and results in thinning of hair on the scalp. This is followed by a receding hair line. Propecia is one of the few drugs that actually helps prevent hair loss and increase growth of new hair. Propecia is for use only by adult males and is not to be used by women or children.

What are uses of Propecia?

Propecia is used for the treatment of male pattern baldness (also known as androgenic alopecia). The drug is only meant for use in adult males.

How does Propecia work?

Propecia prevents the conversion of the male sex hormone, testosterone, to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body. By lowering the levels of this androgenic hormone, it leads to increased growth of hair and reduces the rate of hair loss. Propecia for some unknown reason does not affect hair growth in other parts of the body.

How can one get Propecia?

Propecia is a medication that can be obtained with a prescription from your doctor. It is available in most retail pharmacies. The medication is also available online without a prescription. However, because of fakes and counterfeit products, it is highly recommended that you buy your pharmaceutical medications from a trusted and reputable pharmacy.

When will I see the benefits of Propecia?

The benefits of Propecia are not immediate. You will begin to see fine hair growth after 10-12 weeks. Over the next 6-9 months, you will begin to notice that hair growth is thicker, especially in the midline and at the top of the scalp. You will also notice that the rate of hair loss is significantly reduced.

Can I use Propecia with other hair growth products?

It is not recommended that you use Propecia with other hair care products because there is a potential for interaction. However, there is no harm in using shampoos or conditioners at the same time as Propecia.

How long do the benefits of Propecia last?

Once Propecia works and you have noticed hair growth, the benefits will last as long as you take the medication. Once you stop the medication, the hair will start to fall off within 12 months. This means that to maintain your hair, you will need to continue taking Propecia consistently.

How should I take Propecia?

The recommended dose of Propecia for hair growth is 1 mg taken once a day. Propecia is best taken at the same time every day. When you take Propecia, swallow the entire tablet, do not chew or crush it in your mouth- as this will result in inactivation of the active agent. Because the drug can cause dizziness, it is best to take it just before bedtime. Propecia can be taken with a glass of water or food. Propecia works best when it is taken regularly for at least 3-4 months. In general if you do not see any hair growth after 9 months, it is unlikely to work for you.

What are side effects of Propecia?

In general Propecia is a relatively safe drug. Some people may develop the following side effects:

These side effects occur in a few people and are not life threatening. As soon as Propecia is discontinued the side effects disappear.

Can Propecia cause an allergic reaction?

Like any drug, there is a risk of allergic reactions with Propecia, but it is rare. It may present with a rash, difficulty breathing swelling of the lips and mouth. Whenever these symptoms occur, one should seek immediate medical assistance.

Will I lose my new hair when I stop taking Propecia?

In general, if you stop taking Propecia, you may lose some of your new hair. It is recommended that if you have responded to Propecia that you take the drug every day or every other day to prevent hair loss.

Does everyone see hair growth with Propecia?

Propecia works in most men but not everyone. Why it does not cause hair growth in all men is not well understood. For men who are completely bald before taking Propecia, the drug will not work. Men who get the maximum benefit from Propecia are those who have just noted early hair loss. Propecia tends to be most effective in young men who have just noticed hair loss.

Do I need to see a doctor after I start taking Propecia?

A follow up with a doctor is recommended after beginning a regimen of Propecia. You want to make sure that the medication is working and that it is not causing any negative side effects. In elderly males, the healthcare provider may check the prostate gland and also do some blood work.

What happens if I miss a dose of Propecia?

If you miss a dose of Propecia and you remember within a few hours, then take the dose. However, if you miss the dose and it is almost time for the next dose, never double the dose of the drug. Doubling the dose usually results in a higher risk of developing side effects.

What should I avoid when taking Propecia?

Because Propecia can sometimes cause dizziness it is important not to get up very quickly from a sitting or lying position. Always get up slowly and let your body adjust to the upright position for a few minutes. This is the reason why Propecia is best taken before bedtime.

What are contraindications to Propecia?

Men who have prostate cancer should not use Propecia as it may increase the risk of the cancer. Women and children should not use Propecia. Pregnant women should avoid handling Propecia tablets as there is always a risk of absorption from the skin. The manufacturers have added an extra layer of coating on the Propecia pills which usually prevents absorption of the drug from skin contact. Nevertheless, if a pregnant woman does come into contact with the medication, she should wash her hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Does Propecia interact with other medications?

Yes Propecia can interact with several medications. When you go to your doctor you should inform him or her about all the medications, supplements, and over the counter medications that you take.

How should Propecia be stored?

Propecia tablets should be stored at room temperature away from excess heat, light and moisture. It is important to keep the tablets away from the reach of children.

Is there a generic version of Propecia?

Yes, there is a generic version of Propecia available. When you go to the pharmacy, ask for generic finasteride. It works just as well as the brand name drug and is a lot cheaper.