Propecia, which is the brand name for Finasteride, is a popular medication that is used for treating hair loss in men and also for enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia). The drug helps to stop further hair loss and to some extent help in regrowth of lost hair, particularly for the condition of male pattern baldness. The results of the hair loss medication are visible only when it is used long term. The prescription medication is the only oral drug that has been approved by the FDA for hair loss. It is indicated for use in men only and should not be used by women or children.
What is the way that Propecia works?
Propecia works in the system as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. The acts as an agent that suppresses the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), thereby reduces the androgen activity in the system. High DHT levels have been associated with increased hair loss as it weakens the hair follicles. The drug aids in stopping the hair loss problem and enables the strengthening of the existing hair follicles. With long-term use of the drug, the individual can achieve DHT suppression by up to 70%. Discontinuing the Finasteride medication can result in the reversal of effects.
Propecia is available as compressed tablets in the dosage strengths of 1mg and 5mg. The dose that is prescribed for male pattern hair loss is 1mg, which is to be taken on a once daily basis. It would take at least six to eight months of continuous use of the drug to see any results. If there are no changes to the hair loss problem even after twelve months, then you may have to opt for alternate treatments.
What is the effective way to take Propecia?
Propecia is effective when used according to the doctor’s instructions. Take the pill whole with a glass of water, either with or without food. It is recommended to take the medication at the same time every day so that the suppression of DHT is maintained. Keep a watch out for any side effects and get your blood checked regularly while on Propecia.
Important precautions of use
- Avoid using Propecia if you are allergic to the active ingredient Finasteride.
- The hair loss pills should be used only by men, and not by women and children as they would experience severe side effects. In case of accidental contact with the broken pills, the area of contact should be washed immediately or the drug can be absorbed through the skin.
- Propecia should not be handled by pregnant women. The ingredients of drug can cause defects in the genitalia of a male fetus.
- Avoid taking the drug if you have prostate cancer and inform the doctor of the same.
- Be sure to tell the prescribing physician of any health problems, especially kidney or liver issues, urethral stricture, trouble urinating, or any other condition that can make it unsafe to use the drug.
- You may consult with the doctor to see if it is safe to drink alcohol or not while on this drug.
Common side effects
- Runny nose
- Trouble ejaculating
- Swelling in the hands and feet
- Feeling like passing out
Severe side effects that require immediate medical attention may be
- Allergic reactions
- Lumps in the breast
- Nipple discharge
- Changes in the breast
- Sexual side effects
Propecia is likely to interact with other drugs that may be taken at the same time. Check with your doctor for potentially harmful interactions if any, whether you are taking prescription drugs, over the counter pills, herbal supplements, or vitamins.