Propecia, a creation of the Merck Pharmaceutical Company was an unintended discovery that happened 2 decades ago. Originally, Proscar or Finasteride was prescribed to treat a condition for enlarged prostates called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BHP). It was identified after studies showed that it had some desirable side effects on its patient’s hair growth. With millions of dollars in research scientists discovered that a 1mg dose of Propecia or Finasteride effectively corrected male pattern baldness in order to prevent hair loss. However, recent anecdotal reports have dampened the original fanfair that was associated with the drug discovery.
Propecia is a drug that belongs to the class of 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. This class of drug acts to stop the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) a derivative of the testosterone hormone responsible for inducing male pattern baldness. Propecia or Finasteride works by preventing the conversion of DHT which is linked to BHP and male pattern baldness. This is just a tip of Propecia’s biochemistry. Research has clearly shown Propecia can effectively decrease the levels of DHT by 60% if is taken daily. This proves it has the ability to stop the progression of hair loss caused by genetic predisposition.
When considering the rate of hair growth being approximately 1 centimeter a month, daily use of Propecia is recommended. Typically you will not see the benefits of Propecia before 3 months. When you stop taking this medication, it leads to the reversal of effect within 12 months. Therefore if you are considering this medical therapy to decrease hair loss you need to consider longer term usage to maintain the positive results.
What Are The Side Effects From Using Propecia?
Adverse male sexual health quickly comes to mind whenever the question regarding the side effects of using Propecia is posed. The most common side effects reported are decreased sex drive, trouble getting or keeping an erection, and a decrease in amount of semen. True, sexual health of some males on Propecia may be affected, however the proportion of those experiencing long-term effects are quite low compared to those who are on the drug and show no clinical adverse side effects. We advise our patients when prescribed Propecia that if they experience these negative sexual side effects to stop taking the medication. In addition, research trials show a significantly high number of similar symptoms in patients taking water pills: placebo effect. This is the truth taking Propecia,
Propecia may also cause decreased blood prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels, and can affect the PSA blood test by approximately 50%. For men diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BHP) caution should be used when taking Propecia and monitored by your treating physician. Propecia may also interact with other drugs. Tell your doctor about all medications and supplements you use.
Female hair loss and taking Propecia compared to males is another story. The etiology of female pattern hair loss has greater variety due to hormonal variances. If all women with hair loss suffered from Androgenic Alopecia like male pattern baldness, which is an androgen-dependent process, they would be able to take Propecia when post-menopausal. Women who are post-menopausal can be prescribed Propecia or Finasteride as an off label usage if the medication is appropriate for your situation. Women of child bearing age should not take Propecia or Finasteride.
Classic Case of the Benefits Outweighing the Risk
Science is about evidence-based studies. Studies reported on the side effects of Propecia indicate that the undesirable effects of the drug are uncommon. Men on Propecia suffer a mere 3.8 % of side effects compared to those who were on placebo (a pill lacking the major therapeutic compound on trial) reported a 2.1% form of sexual dysfunction. All the other associated sexual health side effects being under 0.3%. What do these figures mean? According to Dr. Harold Bornstein, a self-professed user of Propecia and more interestingly, doctor to President Trump. He breaches patient –doctor confidentiality by letting the cat out of the bag that the president is on Propecia too! He adamantly denies any loss of sexual drive at 70 years of age! Though I personally think he needs to change his hairstyle (Lol).
Why Recalling Propecia Is Still Not an Option
The insufficiency of an evidence-based scientific causal relationship of the adverse effect of Propecia hinders its recall from the pharmaceutical store. Until that link is clear, the current facts will guide the FDA and Propecia remains available.
Estetigraft is a hair restoration center located in Florida, Palm Beach. We are part of the Estetica Institute Plastic Surgery family, which has been serving our community for 22 years. For more information please call 561-776-9555 or go to our site www.estetigraft.com.