Finasteride is a prescription medication used to treat male pattern baldness. It is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, which means it blocks the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
DHT is the hormone that shrinks hair follicles and is the main cause of male pattern baldness. By blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT, finasteride prevents hair loss and can even stimulate new hair growth.
What is finasteride?
Finasteride was originally developed to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It was found to be effective in treating BPH and was subsequently approved for this use by the FDA. However, researchers found that finasteride also increased hair growth and decided to market the drug for male pattern baldness.
Finasteride is the active ingredient in the prescription medication Propecia. It is also available as a generic medication. Generic finasteride is just as effective as Propecia, but it is much cheaper.
Finasteride is not for use by women. This medication can cause birth defects in male fetuses. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not handle crushed or broken finasteride tablets.
A pregnancy test should be performed within 48 hours if a woman who is pregnant with a male fetus comes into contact with the active ingredient in finasteride.
Types of male pattern baldness
There are two main types of male pattern baldness
- Type I is characterized by a receding hairline
- Type II is characterized by thinning hair on the crown of the head
Both types of male pattern baldness are caused by sensitivity to DHT. Finasteride can help men with both types of male pattern baldness.
Side effects of finasteride
The most common side effects of finasteride are mild and include:
Sexual side effects: These are the most common side effects associated with finasteride. They include decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and decreased ejaculate volume. These side effects usually go away after a few weeks or months of treatment.
Gastrointestinal side effects: These side effects include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and flatulence.
Allergic Reactions: Some people may experience an allergic reaction to finasteride, which can include rash, itching, and swelling of the face, lips, and tongue.
Other side effects: Finasteride may also cause dizziness, headaches, and a runny nose.
Other less common side effects include gynecomastia and hypersensitivity reactions. These side effects typically resolve within a few months of stopping treatment. If they persist, or if you experience more serious side effects, talk to your doctor.
How to reduce side effects of finasteride
There are also a few things you can do to reduce the side effects of finasteride.
1. Drink plenty of water: this will help to flush the medication out of your system and reduce the side effects.
2. Avoid alcohol: Alcohol can increase the side effects of finasteride.
3. Take the medication with food. This will help to reduce gastrointestinal side effects.
4. Take a DHT blocker: DHT blockers work by binding to DHT and preventing it from attaching to the hair follicles. This can help to reduce the amount of DHT in the body and reduce the severity of the side effects.
5. Using 5-alpha reductase inhibitor: Another way to reduce the amount of DHT in the body is to use a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. 5-alpha reductase inhibitors work by inhibiting the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. This can help to reduce the amount of DHT in the body and reduce the severity of the side effects.
6. Reduce the dosage: A new study has found that by simply reducing the dose of Finasteride, the severity of these side effects can be greatly reduced.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, looked at the records of over 3,000 men who have been prescribed Finasteride for hair loss. The men were divided into two groups; those who took the standard dose of 1 mg per day and those who took a reduced dose of 0.5 mg per day.
The results of the study were very clear. Men who took the reduced dose of Finasteride reported far fewer side effects than those who took the standard dose. In fact, the incidence of sexual side effects was cut in half in those men who took the lower dose.
7. Apply a topical solution: There are topical solutions that contain minoxidil, which can help to reduce hair loss.
Finasteride is a medication used to treat hair loss in men. It is also used to treat an enlarged prostate. Finasteride can cause side effects, including decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and decreased ejaculation.
There are a few things that you can do to avoid these side effects. First, talk to your doctor about the possibility of taking a lower dose of the medication. Second, take the medication with food. This will help to avoid gastrointestinal side effects. Third, stay well hydrated. Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol. Alcohol can increase the risk of side effects.
Finally, if you experience any side effects, stop taking the medication and talk to your doctor.