There are many different types of hair loss. The most common is male pattern baldness. By the age of 50, over 30% of all men will suffer from male pattern baldness, also known as androgenic alopecia. This condition is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic factors and a hormone called DHT (dihydrotestosterone).
Propecia is used for the treatment of male hair loss and works by lowering the levels of DHT in the scalp. This helps to reverse the balding process, with 90% of people seeing either increased hair growth or prevention of further hair loss.
Propecia is for use by men only and not to be used by women or children. Studies have shown that Propecia is not effective in the treatment of baldness in women.
Propecia (Finasteride) is normally well tolerated, however side effects can include:
In rare cases Propecia is associated with a small increased risk of male breast cancer or infertility but the relationship of these illnesses to the medication is unclear. For this reason you should report any changes in breast tissue to your doctor immediately (anything like lumps, pain, enlargement or nipple discharge).
You must also be aware that pregnant women must not handle crushed or broken tablets as Propecia can be harmful to an unborn foetus. In addition, you must be aware that Propecia is excreted in semen and you must use a condom if your partner is pregnant or likely to become pregnant.
If you ever require a Prostate Specific Antigen Test (PSA Test- for prostate cancer), then you must tell your doctor that you are taking Propecia as it can interfere with the test and results must be adjusted accordingly.
Since finasteride has been marketed there have been a number of spontaneous adverse drug reaction reports suggesting a possible link to depression, and in rare cases, suicidal thoughts. Patients should stop finasteride 1 mg (Propecia) immediately if they develop depression and inform a healthcare professional.
Always read the patient information leaflet before commencing treatment. Patient information can be found here.
If you have any questions about this medicine, please contact us in the pharmacy to discuss on 01625 460621 or email [email protected] One of our healthcare professionals will be happy to discuss side effects, drug interactions and your particular situation.
Male pattern hair loss is a hereditary condition. It occurs in men who are hypersensitive to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) (a hormone found near the scalp). Men who are hypersensitive to DHT find that their hair grows for a far shorter length of time than normal during the hair production cycle which eventually causes hair follicles to shrink and stop producing hair.
Propecia/ Finasteride works by blocking the production of the enzyme that makes testosterone into DHT. This, in turn, reduces the level of DHT in the body and so, sends hair growth back to normal.
This varies between individuals. Most people will notice results within 3-6 months although for some people it may take up to a year to see the full benefit.
If you haven’t noticed any benefit from taking Finasteride (Propecia) for a year it is unlikely to benefit you so it is recommended to stop use.
If Finasteride (Propecia) is helping you and you decide to stop treatment, it is likely you will lose any hair growth gained in the previous 12 months of treatment so for persistent results you need to commit to the treatment ongoing.
If you have any questions about the effectiveness or side effects of this medicine, please feel free to contact us in the pharmacy on 01625 460621 or email [email protected] One of our pharmacists or doctors will be happy to help.
There are other medical treatment options instead of Finasteride (Propecia) such as Minoxidil. This treatment can be used by both men and women (unlike Propecia which is only licensed for use in men). It is a topical application as either a cream or a foam and is effective for 52% of men in clinical trials (compared with 90% for Propecia/ Finasteride).
There are also surgical treatment options including hair transplants. (These are not available on the NHS and are less popular as they are more invasive).
Research into different hair loss treatments is ongoing and scientists are currently researching the possibility of cloning a person’s hair. However, this technique is not yet available and will require further research and medical trials.
Branded Propecia is exactly the same thing as generic Finasteride- the only difference is the company who makes them. Propecia is made by Merck Sharp & Dohme and Finasteride is made by Actavis- a UK company based in Devon.
There is no medical difference between the medicines- they both carry the same active ingredient and will have exactly the same effect.
However, there is a large difference in price between the two medicines. Generic Finasteride is nearly half the price of the branded Propecia product. Merck Sharp & Dohme has held the patent for Propecia for a number of years and Propecia has only recently come off patent allowing other companies to manufacture it. Because MSD no longer have a monopoly on manufacturing Propecia, it allows other companies such as Actavis to compete in the marketplace which allows us at Assured Pharmacy to pass these discounts onto our patients.
Finasteride (or Propecia) is normally only available via a private prescription from your own GP (it is not available on the NHS). However, if you don’t want to visit your GP, you can also consult with our online doctor, Dr McHugh via our medical questionnaire who will issue a private prescription direct to us here at Assured Pharmacy for us to post it out to you.
It is important to us that you are happy with the medication you are taking so please feel free to call and talk to one of our healthcare professionals.
In clinical trials, it was reported that after two years of treatment;
• 66% of men had hair growth
• 33% had no further hair loss
• 1% had a visible decrease of hair.
After 5 years of treatment;
• 48% of men had hair regrowth
• 42% had no further hair loss
• 10% had a visible decrease of hair.
Men who benefit the most from Propecia are those with mild to moderate but not complete hair loss. In addition, studies have not yet proven Propecia to be effective at treating men who have hair loss solely at the temple area (it works best on the crown of the head).
One tablet to be taken each day; it can be taken with or without food. It may take 3-6 months for the full effect to develop. If you stop taking Propecia, you are likely to lose the hair that you gained within 9-12 months.
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