Propecia and Hair Loss FAQ: Common Questions And Answers

Q: What is Propecia?

A: Propecia is the first pill on the market to effectively treat male pattern hair loss on the vertex (top of head) and the front mid-scalp area.

Q: How does Propecia work?

A: The causes of hair loss are not well known; however, researchers have found that men with male pattern hair loss (also known as male pattern baldness) have increased levels of DHT in the balding area of their scalps. DHT is believed to contribute to the shortening of the growth phase and a shortening of the time it takes for the hair to fall out. This results in thinning of the hair on the scalp.

Finasteride (the active ingredient in Propecia) blocks the formation of DHT, lowering levels of DHT in the scalp and helping prevent further hair loss.

Q: What exactly is DHT?

A: DHT is one of many male hormones in the body. DHT is developmentally important early in a man’s life but appears to cause hair loss as he gets older. DHT shrinks the hair follicle until it no longer produces visible hair.

Q: How well does Propecia work to stop hair loss?

A: In two 24-month studies of men aged 18 to 41 with mild to moderate hair loss, the clinical results of Propecia were impressive. A panel of independent dermatologists reported that:

83% of the men taking Propecia maintained their hair based on hair count (vs. 28% with placebo, a pill with no medication), 66% had visible regrowth (vs. 7% with placebo), 80% were rated as improved (vs. 47% with placebo), and most men reported an increase in the amount of hair, a decrease in hair loss, and an improvement in their appearance.

The manufacturers of Propecia say you may need to take Propecia daily for 3 months or more before seeing visible results. Propecia may not regrow all your hair. And if you stop using Propecia, you will gradually lose the hair you have gained. Propecia is not prescribed as a treatment for receding hair loss at the temples; it works best at the crown and forehead. If you haven’t seen results after 12 months of using Propecia, further treatment is unlikely to be of benefit.

Q: What are the most important health facts I need to know about Propecia?

A: Propecia is used for the treatment of male pattern hair loss in men only. Women who are or may potentially be pregnant must not use or even touch Propecia because the active ingredient may cause birth defects.

Propecia was studied in men aged 18 to 41 with mild to moderate amounts of hair loss. Most of them either stopped losing their hair and/or grew new hair. A small number of men taking Propecia experience minor sexual side effects. Propecia can affect a blood test called PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) for the screening of prostate cancer so if you have a PSA test done, you should tell your doctor that you are taking Propecia.

Q: Can Propecia help me keep my hair?

A: Propecia is proven to help most men maintain their hair count. In clinical studies, hair count was maintained in men taking Propecia, while men taking a placebo continued to show progressive hair loss.

Q: Can Propecia also increase the amount of hair I have?

A: At 24 months, 66% of the men studied regrew hair at the tops of their heads (vs. 7% with placebo). The experts also said 80% of the men on Propecia had improved (vs. 47% with placebo). This was not just "peach fuzz" but real hair–and growth occurred in both the vertex (top of the head) and front mid-scalp area. But there is no evidence that Propecia works for receding hair loss at the temples.

Q: How long will it take for Propecia to work?

A: Propecia begins to block the formation of DHT almost immediately; however, because hair grows slowly, visible results from Propecia take some time. In clinical trials, most men began to see the first benefit of Propecia–slowing hair loss–as early as 3 months. After 6 months, men may begin to experience regrowth. If Propecia does not work within 12 months, further treatment is unlikely to be of benefit.

Q: Can I get better results by taking Propecia more than once a day?

A: Take Propecia only as prescribed, and always follow your doctor’s instructions. Propecia won’t work any faster or better if you take more than one tablet a day.

Q: How long do I have to take Propecia?

A: You need to take Propecia for as long as you want to continue to benefit from it. If you stop taking Propecia, you will likely lose any hair you have gained within 12 months of stopping treatment.

Q: What about long-term use of Propecia?

A: The longest study of Propecia lasted five years. The independent panel of dermatologists who conducted it found that 9 out of 10 study subjects using Propecia showed visible results… a full 90% had improvement in their hair or no visible hair loss after the five years.

Q: Does Propecia have any side effects?

A: Propecia may cause side effects but in clinical studies the side effects were uncommon and did not affect most men. A very small number of men experienced certain sexual side effects, such as less desire for sex, difficulty in achieving an erection, and a decrease in the amount of semen. Each of these side effects occurred in less than 2% of men on Propecia. The side effects were reversible and went away in men who stopped taking Propecia.

Q: Who should not take Propecia?

A: Propecia is for the treatment of male pattern hair loss in MEN ONLY. Women who are or may potentially be pregnant must not use Propecia and should not even handle crushed or broken tablets of Propecia because the active ingredient may cause abnormalities of a male baby’s sex organs. Propecia tablets are coated and will prevent contact with the active ingredient during normal handling.

Q: How does Propecia compare with other hair loss treatment products?

A: Propecia is the only FDA approved pill for male pattern hair loss. The manufacturer of Propecia, Merck, has not conducted clinical trials comparing Propecia with other medicines. You should discuss with your doctor which hair loss product is best for you.

Q: How is Propecia taken?

A: Propecia comes as a 1-mg tablet taken orally each day. This tablet is tan in color and is octagonal (has 8 sides). Each coated Propecia tablet is marked with a stylized "P" logo on one side and "Propecia" on the other. Propecia tablets come in individual bottles of 30 tablets and in a carton of 3 bottles, each containing 30 tablets for a total of 90 Propecia tablets.

To learn more about Propecia and to order Propecia online, visit’s Propecia Product Information Page.

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