Finasteride, also known as Propecia® or Proscar®, is an FDA-approved drug for hair loss treatment. Finasteride was originally developed to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate). Finasteride is available by prescription for men to treat male pattern baldness and should not be taken by women.
Male or female pattern baldness, known as Androgenetic alopecia (AGA), is a common form of hair loss in men and women. Male pattern baldness is caused by an overproduction of the androgenic hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a potent form of testosterone known to stimulate prostate growth and scalp hair loss. An enzyme produced in the prostate, adrenal glands and scalp, called 5-alpha-reductase, metabolizes the male hormone testosterone into DHT. Finasteride acts as 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor that blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT in the hair follicles.
Research suggests that finasteride slows hair loss and improves hair growth in men with AGA. In a long-term, placebo-controlled study, researchers administered 1 mg finasteride daily or a placebo to 1,553 men with male pattern hair loss for up to five years. "In men with male pattern hair loss, long-term treatment with finasteride 1 mg daily over five years was well tolerated, led to durable improvements in scalp hair growth, and slowed the further progression of hair loss that occurred without treatment," the study authors conclude.
Most men taking finasteride experience no side effects. Less than 2 percent of men may experience some sexual side effects, such as decreased sexual desire or lowered amount of ejaculate.
An effective hair loss treatment would be to use finasteride in conjunction with Advecia® or Procerin, all-natural hair loss supplements. Since Advecia and Procerin target DHT and 5-Alpha Reductase, when combined with finasteride they may help increase the rate of hair growth.
Life Extension eds., Disease Prevention and Treatment, 4th ed. (Hollywood, Florida: Life Extension Media, 2003), Balding, online:
About Propecia, AskDocWeb, online:
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FMPHLSG., The Finasteride Male Pattern Hair Loss Study Group. Long-term (5-year) multinational experience with finasteride 1 mg in the treatment of men with androgenetic alopecia. Eur J Dermatol. 2002;12(1):38-49