Propecia (Finasteride) for Hair Loss and BPH Treatment | 5-Alpha-Reductase Inhibitors
- Generic Name: Finasteride
- Brand Name: Appecia/Finotop/Proscar/Fincar/Finpecia/Finax/Finast/Finara/Finalo/Prosteride
- Active ingredient: Finasteride
- Used for: The treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia and pattern hair loss
- Dosages (mg): 1/5
- Drug Class: 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors
- The pharmaceutical miracle of Propecia
- What is Propecia?
- Propecia action
- Off-label uses
- Propecia Interesting Facts
- Propecia dosage and adjustments
- Drug interactions
- Side effects
- Warnings, Precautions & Contraindications
- Propecia FAQs and answers
- Customer Reviews on Propecia
The pharmaceutical miracle of Propecia (Finasteride)
So far, Propecia (also known as Finasteride) is the only FDA-approved oral drug aimed to treat male baldness (alopecia) and shedding of hairlines. A magic action of this medication lies in its ability to restore hair follicles by interfering with the chemical process when testosterone converts to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) – the main causal factor of hair fall in men. If you need to get your hair back with a help of Finasteride to save your man’s handsomeness, this article will bring you a lot of vital information.
What is Propecia?
Propecia relates to a class of competitive 5α-reductase inhibitors – drugs that cure androgenic alopecia and other androgenic-associated conditions such as benign enlargement of the prostate and female hirsutism.
An active agent of Propecia inhibits (blocks) 5α-reductase – an enzyme that participates in metabolic transformation of androgens (sex hormones like testosterone).
Put it simply, Propecia does not allow testosterone to fall into chemicals (you know, testosterone is responsible for primary and secondary sexual characters, including body hair).
A mechanism of Finasteride action involves decreasing of DHT (5α-dihydrotestosterone, potent androgen) levels up to 90% via interrupting the testosterone conversion to dihydrotestosterone, which is formed at the hair follicles site. Production of DHT badly affects a man’s hair: it gets loose and eventually drops out.
The 5α-reductase androgen turns testosterone into DHT in skin, prostate gland, and liver. DHT binds to testosterone receptors in the cells of these organs. By blocking the production of DHT, Propecia reduces an activity of dihydrotestosterone in a male’s scalp and decreases the volume of prostate and hence minimizes a risk of prostate cancer.
Propecia is a prescribed medication used to handle male-pattern hair loss. The six-month treatment provides over 50% improvement in androgenetic alopecia.
Another indication of Propecia is the treatment for mild and moderate benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH or enlarged prostate) and the therapy of lower urinary tract disorders.
Finasteride improves symptoms triggered by BPH: difficult urination, frequent urination at night, and urinary flow impairment. In the long term (about 4 years), this medicament reduces a risk of acute retention of urine and the need for surgical interference.
The following Propecia uses are not approved by FDA, but still there reports that this agent is clearly effective for:
- Unwanted breast and facial hair in women,
- Prostate cancer chemoprevention,
- Hormone replacement therapy for transgenders,
- Polycystic ovary syndrome.
Propecia Interesting Facts
Short vital facts about Propecia everyone should know:
- Since hair loss is typically an inherited condition, positive effects of Propecia become evident at least in three months of everyday administration;
- A 1mg tablet is a daily dose of Finasteride to treat alopecia, though a 5mg tablet per day is recommended for other conditions;
- Propecia proved its effectiveness in 83% of cases after two years of taking;
- There are reports confirming that Propecia not only decreases serum DHT levels but increases the testosterone level by 9-10%;
- If taken as BPH treatment, Finasteride may insignificantly influence the seminal quality. Good seminal quality is normalized once the drug is discontinued. Beside this, Propecia does not interfere with inadequate sexual function;
- Finasteride is meant for men only, though in off-label uses it is prescribed for women with excessive facial hair;
- If a woman pregnant with a male baby takes a tablet of Propecia or absorbs it through the skin, the baby has a risk to be born with abnormalities of genitals;
- Propecia is approved for prostate cancer prevention;
- Propecia is not used in pediatric patients;
- The risk of sexual side effects induced by this medication is just 1.8%;
- Propecia has no side effects in 97% of incidents.
Propecia dosage and adjustments
- The standard Propecia adult dose for BPH is 5mg orally a day.
- The standard Propecia adult dose for hair loss treatment is 1mg orally a day.
- The daily use during at least 3 months is necessary before positive results can be observed. The continual use is necessary to maintain an achieved benefit. The discontinuation of treatment leads to the loss of effect within several months.
There is no necessary dose adjustment for:
- Elderly patients;
- Renal impairment;
- Heart conditions;
- Mental disorders;
- GI tract disorders.
The dose of Propecia must be adjusted under liver conditions because the active substance is highly metabolized in the liver tissues.
Propecia taken in combination with doxazosin (an alpha-blocker) is reported to reduce the risk of BPH symptomatic progression.
No severe interactions were identified during Propecia trials. Drugs tested in combination with Finasteride were: theophylline, digoxin, propranolol, and antipyrine. No clinically significant interactions were established.
In post-marketing studies, Finasteride was tested as a concomitant treatment with acetosalicylic acid, alpha-blockers and calcium channel blocking agents, ACE inhibitors, anti-convulsive drugs, analgesic agents, diuretic medications, vasodilators, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents. The tests did not find meaningful drug interactions, what proves Propecia be an absolutely safe hair loss medication.
There is a 3% chance that Propecia will cause any side effects. If occur, adverse effects are typically mild and moderate. In Summary
The commonly reported side effects are: sexual frustration and decreased sexual drive.
A comprehensive list of Finasteride potent side effects includes:
- Excessive sweating;
- The swelling of limbs or face;
- The enlargement of breasts;
- Nettle rash;
- Itching or skin redness;
- Tingling in limbs;
- Rapid weight changes (gain or loss) – these side effects require immediate medical attention.
Still, there are side effects that do not require medical help. They may occur because a body tries to adjust to a new medicine.
So these side effects will go away in a short time:
- Abdominal head or back pain;
- Decreased libido;
- Erectile problems;
- Rhinitis or stuffy nose;
- Unusual sneezing.
Warnings, Precautions & Contraindications
In clinical testing, Finasteride diminished a PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) concentration by nearly 51% during 6 months of continual treatment. Such a decrease is critical for symptomatic BPH sufferers. To establish an impact of Finasteride on BPH progression, the lab tests are taken at least 6 months after onset of Propecia therapy. If the lowest PSA value increases during Propecia taking, it may denote the prostate cancer risk. The intolerance to this agent may affect PSA test results as well.
Before using Propecia you must tell your healthcare provider if you:
- are pregnant, plan to have a baby or breastfeeding;
- take any prescription or non-prescription drug, herbal or dietary supplements;
- have allergies to some drugs or foods;
- have urinary tract diseases, bladder problems, prostate cancer, or severe difficulty in urination;
- have a history of increased serum PSA levels, liver dysfunction or abnormal liver tests.
Pregnancy and nursing:
Women must take in or handle a crushed or broken Propecia pill if they are pregnant or plan a baby because Finasteride is a highly absorbable substance and poses a potential threat to an unborn child as an abnormal genital development in a male fetus is possible when the conversion of testosterone to DHT is blocked by 5α-reductase inhibitors like Finasteride.
It is not established whether Propecia penetrates into the human milk so that nursing women should avoid taking this medication.
Contraindications for Propecia include:
- Hypersensitivity to Finasteride;
- Severe liver conditions;
- Pediatric use (under 18 years);
- Prostate cancer;
- severely decreased urinary flow.
Propecia FAQs and answers
Can Propecia badly affect male potency?
In a four-year-long premarketing safety study, 1,524 men were treated with Propecia and 1,516 men were treated with placebo (simulated medication). The most commonly reported side effect was associated with sexual disorders (57 patients or 3.7% who took Propecia and 32 or 2.1% patients who took placebo).These events were reported in men over 55 taking the drug as a concomitant medication for the BPH treatment. Younger men with a hair loss problem did not report any sexual dysfunction.
Can Propecia cause breast cancer?
Within a seven-year long placebo-controlled Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial which involved 18,882 males, there was a single case of breast cancer in men who took Propecia, and a single case of breast cancer in men who took a placebo. The connection between persistent administration of Propecia and male breast cancer was not established.
Is Propecia good for female hair loss?
According to a research held by the University of California at San Francisco, after one year of Propecia treatment, hair loss did not stop in females, despite the good tolerance of the medication. Today the European researchers are testing the effects of higher doses of Propecia on women with female-pattern hair loss. FDA did not approve Finasteride for therapy in women.
What if I miss a dose of Propecia?
Take a missed pill once you remember. Though its overdose is not life-threatening, do not try to take two or more pills a day to make up a missed dose in order to avoid unpleasant side effects.
How is Propecia taken?
Follow your doctor’s prescription when you take Propecia. Avoid taking the drug in larger amounts or for longer periods than prescribed.
A tablet is taken with water regardless food. It is important to administer the pills at one and the same time every day to get the maximum benefit. The drug works over the long term (at least three months). If the drug has no effect for a year, it is not the right choice for you.
Customer Reviews on Propecia at My Canadian Pharmacy
A good many of Propecia takers are very satisfied with this androgenetic alopecia medication and give it 9 stars of 10. The users like that they have a real chance to re-grow their hair and stop its fall. Moreover, newly grown hair gets much thicker as before. The patients also report that beneficial results are evident in just one month – there is a remarkable decrease in the hair loss after a shower or combing. On the sexual function side of things, some men notice a decrease in sexual urge at the very beginning of treatment, but this symptom is soon over once the body adjusts to a new preparation.
The only thing that makes men sad about this 5α-reductase inhibitor is that it is not covered by insurance and they have to buy it at a high price (about $2 per a 1mg pill). Fortunately, there are online pharmacy service like My Canadian Pharmacy where everyone can order generic Propecia (Finasteride) at a huge discount up to 90%.