Hair loss can turn into balding causing permanent hair loss from the scalp mainly at the temples or at the crown area in males. The most popular oral medication proved to be effective in treating male pattern baldness is known as Finasteride. Finasteride is sold under brand names Proscar and Propecia. These medicines contain Finasteride as an active ingredient that works by slowing the hair loss in men.
Benefits Of Finasteride Tablet
- Treat Androgenetic Alopecia – Finasteride is the most effective medication used to treat androgenetic alopecia in males. It is scientifically proven to reverse the effects of male pattern baldness and promote hair growth especially at the temples and at the crown area of the head. FDA has approved 1mg dose of Finasteride to treat hair loss in men.
- Slow Down Hair Loss – Finasteride is used as the first line of treatment by the dermatologists to slow down extreme hair loss. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a key chemical in the process of hair loss. Finasteride works by stopping the conversion of testosterone to Dihydrotestosterone. The decreased amount of DHT will eventually slow down the process of hair loss. The best thing with Finasteride is that it doesn’t impact the hair growth on other body parts.
- Hair Regrowth – Finasteride is recommended for hair regrowth in men. After continued use of Finasteride, not only slow hair loss is reported but also hair regrowth occurs. Hair regrowth is usually seen after one to two years of continued use of Finasteride in most cases.
- Preserving Hair – In several studies, it is seen that after taking Finasteride 1 mg, it preserved the original hair follicles and hence the original hair count.
- Rare Negative Effects – The negative side effects of Finasteride are fairly rare as compared to other medications available for the treatment of hair loss in men.
How Does Finasteride Work For Hair Loss In Men?
Male pattern baldness is caused largely by the hormone Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The DHT hormone acts on the hair follicles by shrinking them. This eventually results in stopping the growth of hair. Once the shedding phase of hair growth cycle starts, the hair will shed at a faster rate than new hair replacing them.
The continued hair shedding will lead to thinning of hair and receding hairline in the form of ‘M’ shape at the top of the head. When you take Finasteride, it acts by blocking the 5-alpha reductase enzyme which is responsible for the production of DHT from testosterone. Using the Finasteride continuously leads to a drop in this hormone in the bloodstream. The decreased amount of DHT will lead to slower hair loss and increase hair regrowth.
Finasteride is used for hair growth by taking this medication orally as directed by the doctor. The tablet is taken once daily or as prescribed by the dermatologist. It should not be crushed or broken and should be taken as whole by mouth, with or without food.
Finasteride 1 mg dose is used to effectively lower the DHT hormone level in the scalp and treat hair loss. 1 mg dose equals one tablet of Propecia taken once in a day for effective results. Also, it must not be taken by anyone under the age of 18 years.
How Long Before You See Results?
Finasteride works effectively the most at the initial stage of hair loss. It benefits people experiencing hair loss at age 30 or above. After just 3 months of taking Finasteride, results can be seen. The hair loss slows down and hair becomes thicker. Also, hair regrowth can be seen due to decrease in DHT. With continued use, Finasteride stimulates hair growth and denser hair regrowth can be seen.
Common Side Effects Of Oral Finasteride
Finasteride is effective in reversing the hair loss caused due to male pattern baldness and has a high success rate. It is prescribed by the dermatologist between three months to one year before you actually see results. However, it has some side effects as well which are mentioned below –
- Decreased Sexual Ability – The most common side effect of using Finasteride tablets for hair loss is the loss of sexual appetite or decreased sexual ability. The side effects may be harmless in some cases but the doctor may recommend stopping the treatment if the problem persists or worsens.
- Depression – Depression is also a common side effect of using Finasteride for hair loss treatment in most men.
- Pain In The Testicles – Some men may experience pain in the testicles or tenderness as a side effect after using Finasteride.
- Painful Urination – In some cases, serious side effects such as pain while urinating is also seen due to the effect of Finasteride.
- Swelling Of The Face – An allergic reaction caused due to the use of Finasteride may result in unusual swelling of the face, neck and throat.
- Rashes or Itching – This side effect occurs in people who are allergic to Finasteride. They may develop rashes, itching or swelling of tongue and lips.
- Troubled Breathing – A severe side effect from using hair-loss medication Finasteride is having trouble in breathing. In some cases, the shortness of breath and dizziness are also reported.
- Prostate Cancer – Finasteride is also known to affect prostate-specific antigen (PSA). This medication results in lowered PSA levels while taking readings for prostate cancer. Any rise in PSA levels while taking Finasteride may indicate prostate cancer and should be checked immediately.
How Long Do Side Effects Of Finasteride Last?
The side effects may last a year after discontinuing the use of Finasteride.
How To Reduce Side Effects Of Finasteride?
The surest way to reduce or eliminate the side effects of Finasteride completely is by not taking the drug. However, the side effects can be reduced to a good extent by reducing the dose from 0.5 mg to 0.25 mg. The doctor may also suggest reducing the intake of doses. Another successful alternative that works without stopping the treatment is to use topical finasteride in conjunction with oral medicine. The topical Finasteride will be absorbed by the scalp and side effects will be much less.
What Other Treatments Are Available If Finasteride Does Not Work?
Though Finasteride for hair loss is proven to be the most effective treatment, if it doesn’t work (in rare cases) then other treatment options can be considered.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is another popular choice for hair loss treatment where the patient’s own blood is used to treat hair loss. The treatment involves extracting blood plasma and then activated accordingly before injecting in the scalp. The activated platelets present in the blood plasma are rich in growth factors and nutrients required for regrowth of hair naturally.
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Topical Vs. Oral Finasteride
Finasteride is commonly used in tablet form to treat male pattern baldness. In case of side effects, the other popular alternative is using it topically. Topical finasteride offers localized treatment for hair loss and is used on the scalp. Topical Finasteride offers a safe yet effective option for treating hair loss and can also be used in combination with the oral drug. Studies show that 0.25% topical finasteride is the same as using 1 mg of tablet. However, topical Finasteride is not an FDA approved treatment for hair loss, unlike oral Finasteride.
Minoxidil Vs Finasteride
Minoxidil and Finasteride are both popular oral medications used to treat hair loss. Finasteride is available as Propecia and Minoxidil is available as Rogaine respectively in the market.
Finasteride is a popular choice for treating male pattern baldness as it halts hair loss and can even regenerate new hair. It is an FDA approved medicine that offers a safe and painless solution for treating hair loss. It works best in males above age 30. However, it is not recommended for the females. Finasteride works effectively and has a higher success rate.
Minoxidil is a more effective option in treating early alopecia and promotes hair regrowth. But it doesn’t work for every case of male pattern baldness. As compared to Finasteride, Minoxidil has a lower success rate as many people report no change in hair loss after taking Minoxidil. Minoxidil has fewer complications or side effects and can be used in females as well.
Must Read: Minoxidil Hair Loss : Uses, Side Effects
Dutasteride Vs Finasteride
Finasteride and Dutasteride are both used for treating hair loss because of their property of being used as alpha-reductase inhibitor.
Finasteride was developed in the 1970s and is successfully being used in treating male pattern baldness. It is an FDA approved drug that is taken orally to effectively slow down hair loss as well as promote hair regrowth.
Dutasteride is fairly new and was only patented in 1996 and approved for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in 2001. Unlike Finasteride, it has not received FDA approval for hair loss drug in the US. It also works by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone into Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – the androgen that causes male pattern baldness.