Taking a pill to reduce hair loss is common among men with androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness), and there are many medications in the market, of which Propecia is one. However, there are various factors to consider before you start using hair loss pills, considering their extensive profile of side effects. In this article, we cover the question of does Propecia work, including what the science says, mode of work, and adverse experiences.
What is Propecia?
Before looking at how does Propecia work, it is vital to know what it is. Propecia is the brand name of Finasteride, an FDA-approved formula originally designed to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Patients given Finasteride for BPH (Proscar) also experienced an increase in hair growth, which led to studies to determine its potential for hair loss treatment. Propecia is the hair loss pill that emerged from these studies and available commercially for those looking to reverse hair loss and promote growth. But does Propecia work?
How Does Propecia Work?
Finasteride is a DHT blocker that prevents the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase from converting testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone). DHT is a molecule linked with shrinking hair follicles and causing hair loss and attaches to receptors in the hair follicles. When taken orally, Propecia prevents this conversion, thereby preventing DHT damages on your hair follicles. However, users will begin to experience hair loss as soon as they stop taking the pills. Propecia has also been shown to have various side effects that steer people away from oral tablets. Compounding pharmacies can provide a topical version of the formula applied on the scalp, but there’s little to suggest that topical formulas are nearly as effective as the pill. Topical Finasteride is also not approved by the FDA.
The safety of Propecia for Hair Loss
It is vital to review the safety concerns before determining the answer to how does Propecia work. Hair loss pills are known to have a litany of adverse effects, and Propecia isn’t any different. Some of the side effects of using Propecia for hair loss treatment include:
- Stomach upset and diarrhea
- Nausea and vomiting
- Erectile dysfunction
- Prostate enlargement
- Darkening and thickening of facial hair
- Premature and delayed ejaculation
- Water retention
Hair loss pills have also been reported to cause liver damage, pancreatitis, and bleeding in the brain, although these reports are rare. It is advisable to avoid using hair loss pills before consulting a dermatologist or licensed doctor. The medications have many adverse effects, and there’s no guarantee you’ll reverse hair loss. In most cases, users must take the pill for at least six months before they begin to see any changes.
Still pondering how does Propecia work? Well, it might. According to studies, Propecia can reduce hair loss in 88% of men with alopecia and promotes re-growth in 66%. However, there are limited studies about the efficacy and blocking of DHT can result in many undesirable side effects. As such, patients with androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness should avoid Propecia unless recommended by a licensed doctor. Although the formula works to slow down hair loss, it is no cure for receding hairline, or baldness.