Finasteride is both the active ingredient and the generic form of Propecia, used to treat male pattern baldness or hair loss. This treatment is commonly used among men suffering from hair loss. It works by preventing the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone or DHT.
What Is Finasteride?
Finasteride is the active ingredient in branded hair loss treatments, Proscar and Propecia. It is also the generic, yet equally effective drug used to treat hair loss in men. Finasteride is also frequently prescribed to treat an enlarged prostate. It can be used to treat various other issues including excessive hair growth in female patients. It is also one of the drugs in a hormone therapy transgender women use. The drug is administered orally.
What Is Finasteride Used For?
Some men in their 30s start experiencing the first symptoms of hair loss. Finasteride is used as a treatment for male pattern baldness. The effectiveness of the treatment depends on various factors including age, genetics, overall health condition as well as their response to the treatment.
Some patients respond faster to the treatment, while others have to take it for some time before any signs of improvement start to manifest. However, most patients should start seeing the first signs of improvement within a year of starting the treatment. If not, they should consult their physician about a possible alternative.
What Does Finasteride Do?
Finasteride is an alpha-reductase inhibiting medication meaning it blocks the function of the enzyme which converts the male hormone testosterone into its active form dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
As men age when testosterone gets converted to DHT, prostate glands become more susceptible to getting enlarged. Therefore, as Finasteride helps prevent conversion to DHT, it can also help treat enlarged prostate and related issues.
On the other hand, hair loss is common in over 80% of Caucasian males and very rare in females under the age of 50. In males, the thinning of the hair usually occurs in patterns, mainly the central scalp area as well as scalp vertex, therefore it’s commonly referred to male pattern baldness.
Finasteride blocks the 5 alpha-reductase enzymes and inhibits DHT, which has proven to be one of the most effective ways of preventing male pattern baldness symptoms. This is because excess DHT negatively affects hair growth as it shrinks the follicles in the scalp area. Less DHT means fewer follicles shrink and those that have can regenerate and grow hair again. Therefore, the drug is highly effective in preventing and reversing the effects of hair loss in men.