What is Finasteride? A Beginner’s Guide For Men

hair loss in men

Finasteride, often sold under the brand name Propecia, is a medicine that has a variety of uses and applications. However, its two primary uses are to treat hair loss in men or those with an enlarged prostrate. In the past, the drug has also been used to treat excessive hair growth in women and act as a form of hormone therapy for those changing their gender. For the sake of this article, we’ll focus on the drug’s use for men, particularly in terms of hair loss. So, if you think you could benefit from a course of finasteride, read on to find out more.

 

A brief history

The drug was patented in 1984, however, it wasn’t approved for any form of medical use until 1992. The drug is taken orally, which is quite rare, since most baldness treatments are topical (i.e. an over-the-counter cream). It is the 75th most prescribed drug in the US and as of 2016, there have been over 10 million Finasteride prescriptions.

 

Overview of side effects

Fortunately, the drug has minimal side effects, and if they do occur, they are generally quite mild. However, some side effects could affect some men more than others. Some men have complained about a lack of sexual drive and impotence (fewer erections) while taking the drug. A smaller number of men have also reported a mild skin rash while taking the drug and feelings of anxiety and depression.

If you find the side effects to difficult to bear, simply stop taking the drug. All side effects will be reversed once you stop taking the pills.

 

A normal prescription

A conventional Finasteride prescription lasts approximately 3 months. The patient takes 1 tablet (1 milligram) per day, generally the same time each day (as is advised). Some users have complained about a lack of results in the first few months. In fact, this is quite normal, since some men don’t notice hair growth or improvement until about 6 months into the course.

 

How does it help with baldness?

 

Finasteride can help men suffering from male pattern baldness. This is a condition that affects a lot of men over the age of 30. In fact, it affects more than half of men over the age of 50.

Male pattern baldness is caused by hormonal changes. Nutritional deficiencies, environmental circumstances and existing psychological conditions can also have an impact. While the primary baldness gene is on the X chromosome (meaning all men get it from their mothers), men with male pattern baldness often have a balding or bald father. Either way, men looking to regrow their hair should certainly consider a Finasteride prescription.

 

The scientific details

Tiny cavities in your scalp are called follicles (they are at the base of the hair). These follicles can become quite sensitive to a male hormone called dihydrotestosterone. Because of this sensitivity, hair growth often stagnates, meaning less hairs grow, and lost hairs are not replaced as quickly. This is the process of male pattern baldness.

 

How do I get a prescription?

If you think you could benefit from Finasteride, you’ll need to get in touch with a qualified doctor to get a valid prescription. Head to your local GP or hop online – there are plenty of online doctor services. These platforms are very popular in isolated regions, where access to medical treatment in person can be limited. They are also great for people who don’t have time to head down to their doctor or the energy to leave their home.

So, if you believe that you would benefit from a Finasteride prescription, do not hesitate to get in contact with a qualified doctor to get more information.

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