Some 40 million people in the U.S. are losing their hair. Whether from the temples, the crown or an overall thinning, everyone is looking for a solution from hair restoration to medical therapy and Rogaine. Many of the male patients at our Los Angeles hair transplant clinic inquire about Propecia. What are the side effects? Does it actually work?
First, let’s explore how Propecia works for hair loss. Initially, Propecia (Finasteride) was developed to shrink enlarged prostate glands. Researchers began to notice that it was also helping with hair loss — so a lower-dose was created for treating hair loss specifically. So how it works is this: Finasteride interferes with the conversion of testosterone to dihydro-testosterone, also known as DHT. DHT, known as the “hair killer” respectively, basically kills the hair follicle activity. Overtime, DHT makes the hair follicles grow thinner and eventually the hair stops growing altogether. So, when Finasteride blocks the DHT from killing hair follicles, the thinning of hair stops and allows for a more normal growth.
In clinical studies of the drug, about 20% of men taking a daily dosage for one year grew “moderate to heavy amounts of new hair after one year.” The numbers only inched up when the drug was taken for two years. Rogaine is also another option and sometimes a cocktail of both Propecia and Rogaine can help for men experiencing hair loss on the top of their scalp.
Propecia got a bad rap when it was reported that the side effects varied from low sex drive to occasional impotence. However, these side effects are not common and typically go away when the drug is stopped.
The trick with Propecia is patience. You must be willing to start a regimen with the drug, and you may not even notice hair growth until 3–4 months after the use.