Active ingredients: finasteride
Propecia® is a prescription medication for treatment of androgenetic hair loss (androgenetic alopecia). It promotes the growth of hair and reduces further hair loss. It was originally approved in the USA as a medication for prostate disease.
The male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) has an effect on genetically susceptible hair which is primarily located in the area of the forehead, top of the head and parting, and causes hair loss or androgenetic alopecia. DHT causes hair loss because it shortens the hair growth phase (anagen phase), whereby the hair becomes shorter (miniaturisation). The affected hair becomes increasingly shorter and finer until it probably disappears entirely.
The medicinally active ingredient finasteride belongs to the group of so-called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. DHT is formed through the effect of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme on testosterone.
Finasteridebrings about a clear reduction of DHT in the scalp as well as in the blood, and its effect seems to be associated with these two factors. One milligram of finasteride per day reduces the DHT level in the blood serum by nearly 70%. The testosterone level in the blood serum can increase up to 9%, but usually remains in the normal range for this hormone.
Only men with slight to moderate hair loss, but not complete hair loss, can expect amelioration from the treatment with Propecia®. For instance, the use among young men – in which it is still too early for an own hair transplantation – is advisable. The effect in the rear area of the head is better than in the area of the forehead.
Finasteride must be taken 1 time per day for at least one year so that it acts against hair loss.
Like all medications, the intake of finasteride (1 mg dose per tablet) can also have adverse effects, but these do not have to appear with everyone. Sexual dysfunctions, which disappear after discontinuation of the medication, can arise occasionally (in less than 1 out of 100 patients treated). These undesirable effects disappear among men who interrupt or stop taking Propecia® as well as among many men who continue the treatment. When the treatment is stopped the hairs which could be preserved fall out.