Propecia (finasteride) for Hair Restoration and Hair Loss Prevention
Propecia™ is the only FDA approved pill for hair loss. Its main ingredient, finasteride, was first developed to treat men with an enlarged prostrate condition known as benign prostratic hyperplasia (BPH). Finasteride is manufactured by Merck & Co.
“Based on a photographic assessment by an expert panel of dermatologists following 5 years of clinical studies. Most men see results 3 to 12 months after starting PROPECIA.” – Merck Pharmaceuticals, 2002. “The effectiveness of PROPECIA was demonstrated in studies of men, aged 18 to 41, with mild to moderate hair loss at the top and middle front of the head. There is not sufficient evidence that PROPECIA works for receding hairlines at the temples.”
Finasteride blocks an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase, which is a naturally occurring enzyme that transforms testosterone into dihyrdotesterone that causes the prostate to grow. When DHT is produced, it also attacks the hair follicles, slowly causing them to shrink and eventually fall out. By blocking 5-alpha reductase, from converting Testosterone to DHT, we enable the follicle to continue growing hair.
To clear up some confusion about finasteride, when marketed as a treatment for BPH, it goes by the name of Proscar and comes in 5mg pills. Propecia is the name used when marketed as a hair floss pill and the FDA allowed dosage is 1mg pills.
The results of a five-year, double blind, placebo clinical study testing propecia for hair loss are widely known and include the following highlights:
- Two out of three men regrew hair as measured by hair count.
- Three out of four men were rated as improved by an independent panel of doctors.
- At the end of the five-year study, an independent panel of dermatologists concluded that 90 percent of men using propecia either saw new hair growth or no new hair loss.
- A majority of men reported their bald spot got smaller and their hair loss slowed down while the overall appearance of their hair improved.
- Those taking Propecia may see improvements within 3 months of taking the pill. Maximum results will be visible by the second year of usage. Unfortunately, if one stops taking Propecia, all new hair growth will be lost in 12 months.