Propecia is a medication that works to stop hair loss associated with male pattern baldness. While hair loss isn’t a serious medical condition, it can cause emotional distress and lack of confidence. Men who treat hair loss with Propecia stop losing hair within 12 months, and most men see some new hair growth.
Male pattern baldness is caused by sensitivity to the androgen DHT. Propecia blocks the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into DHT, slowing or stopping hair loss. Take Propecia daily because if you stop the medication, your DHT levels will rise, and hair loss will resume.
Clinical trials have shown that Propecia is an effective treatment for male pattern baldness. The results show that 90 percent of men were able to stop their hair loss with Propecia, while 67 percent of men grew more hair. Propecia is convenient because it’s a pill that only has to be taken once daily with no need to use messy creams.
Propecia is a small once-per-day pill taken discretely. You may take Propecia any time during the day, with or without food. While some men see results in as little as three months, it can take up to 12 months to see noticeable results.
Doctors advise their patients to take Propecia for at least one year before assessing the results. It would help you continue taking Propecia even after hair loss has stopped. Otherwise, your hair loss will resume.
Propecia, an oral medication, begins to work as soon as you take it, reducing hormone levels that impede hair growth. However, it will probably be 3 to 12 months before the drug’s hormone-lowering effects materialize in the form of new hair growth.
Men who experience male pattern hair loss have a limited number of treatment options. Propecia is the brand name of a prescription drug called finasteride and is the treatment for male pattern baldness, one of the most typical types of hair loss.
Male pattern hair loss happens because hair follicles are susceptible to androgenic miniaturization. Hair follicles shrink and will eventually stop producing hair due to the conversion from normal testosterone to a form of testosterone called DHT.
Some men’s scalp hair follicles respond to increasing levels of DHT by shrinking and producing thinner hair until sometimes stopping hair production altogether. It affects up to 70 percent of men over their lifetimes.
Propecia works by blocking the conversion of testosterone into DHT, and in many men, this process stops male pattern hair loss. Ninety percent of men taking Propecia over five years grow new hair or do not lose more hair, while 75 percent of men taking a placebo continue to lose hair. The following table outlines five years of treatment effectiveness with Propecia versus placebo.
Hair goes through three distinct phases during its lifespan — a three(ish)-month period of active growth (anagen), a transitional phase (catagen), and a resting phase (telogen). After around three months in the resting phase, the hair disappears to make room for a new one. Hair growth cycle.
Usually, around 90 percent of the hairs on your head are in the active growth stage, with the remainder in transition or rest. At this rate, you lose about 100 hairs a day.
Being subjected to severe stress or shock can cause up to 30 percent of hairs to prematurely switch from active growth to the telogen or resting phase. Stress can lead to hair falling out three times faster than average, a condition called Telogen Effluvium, or TE.
It’s thought that, in addition to any direct aftereffects of COVID-19, recovering from the infection and the disruption it causes to normal life can trigger this stress-induced hair loss.
Major physical or psychological trauma
High fever severe infection or other illness
Abrupt hormonal changes
Extreme weight loss or dietary changes
TE is different from more common causes of hair loss like androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness). It can affect both sexes, and only appears two to four months after the triggering event — the length of time hairs stay in the rest phase before falling out. Instead of the gradual, age-related hair loss experienced by many men, stress-related hair loss comes on fast and intensely.
That can be a little disconcerting, as you may suddenly notice a large amount of hair accumulating on your pillow, in the shower drain, or on your hairbrush. Your scalp hair may also feel or look thinner. An excellent way to tell if you have TE (versus another cause) is to tug gently on a few hairs on your scalp. If four or more come out, it’s likely TE.
Fortunately, TE doesn’t affect all your hairs at once, so there’s no risk you’ll suddenly go completely bald. But if you have large clumps of hair or new bald spots, you should see a doctor asap so they can determine the cause.
Side effects are typically mild and completely reversible. The most expected side effects include decreased libido, skin rash, abdominal pain, back pain, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, and edema. Men taking Propecia may also have difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. Contact your doctor for advice if you experience side effects while taking Propecia. In the possibility of an overdose, seek medical help immediately.
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Important Patient InformationFINASTERIDE (HAIR GROWTH) - ORAL (fin-AST-er-ide) COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Propecia
IMPORTANT: HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION: This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
USES: This medication is used to treat male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) at the crown and in the middle of the scalp. It should be used by adult men only. This medication works by decreasing the amount of a natural body hormone (DHT). Decreasing the amount of DHT leads to increased hair regrowth and slower hair loss. Hair growth on other parts of the body is not affected by finasteride. Women and children should not use this medication. Finasteride is not approved for prevention of prostate cancer. It may slightly increase the risk of developing a very serious form of prostate cancer. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks.
HOW TO USE: Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking finasteride and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually once a day. If the tablet is crushed or broken, it should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or by a woman who may become pregnant (see also Precautions section). Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same time each day. It may take up to 3 months to notice a benefit. You must continue to take this medication to maintain your hair growth. When you stop taking finasteride, any gain in hair quantity is generally lost within 12 months. Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it gets worse.
SIDE EFFECTS: Decreased sexual ability/desire may occur. In some men, this medication can decrease the amount of semen released during sex. This is harmless, but has continued in some men even after stopping treatment. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: lump in the breast, nipple discharge, breast enlargement/tenderness/pain, pain in the testicles, inability to urinate. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
PRECAUTIONS: Before taking finasteride, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver disease, prostate cancer, infections, urinary problems. Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). The drug can be absorbed through the skin. If the film coating of the tablet has been broken or the tablet crushed, it should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Exposing a developing male infant to finasteride can result in abnormalities of the genitals. This medication should not be used in women, especially during pregnancy or breast-feeding. It may harm an unborn or breast-feeding baby. Consult your doctor if you have any questions about this medication.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. This medication can affect the results of the blood test used to detect prostate cancer (prostatic-specific antigen or PSA levels). If you have a PSA test done, make sure laboratory personnel and your doctors know you use this drug.
OVERDOSE: If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
MISSED DOSE: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
STORAGE: Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company. safely discard your product.
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