Finasteride is a drug used in the treatment of androgenic alopecia, which is more commonly known as male pattern baldness. This is a condition that affects around half of men by the time they reach the age of 50. However, it often begins much earlier than this. The drug acts as an inhibitor, preventing the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that can have a damaging effect on hair follicles.
Finasteride is the active ingredient in Propecia and is available in a generic, unbranded tablet. Finasteride and Propecia are medically equivalent but Finasteride is available at a much lower cost.
Alopecia is another name for male pattern baldness. Alopecia causes one or more patches of hair loss. Alopecia affects both genders. It is an autoimmune disorder, in which the immune system attacks hair follicles
By inhibiting a specific enzyme, the treatment blocks the conversion of testosterone to the androgen DHT, resulting in a major fall in the concentrations of the hormone in the serum and tissue of the scalp. This helps hair follicles to recover and it can lead to a slowing, stopping and reversal of the balding process.
While on regular Finasteride you may begin to see the results within a few months, although it could take up to a year to notice the full benefit.
For the best results, you should take this medication at the same time each day with a full glass of water. You can have it on an empty stomach or with a meal. It can take three to six months to see results, and if you stop taking the treatment, hair loss is likely to resume.
The side effects associated with Finasteride are uncommon and generally mild, but they can include a lower sex drive, rash, tenderness around the nipples, abnormal ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. In a small minority of cases, more serious side effects can be experienced. For full details, read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medication. You can also consult our experts if you would like additional information.
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