Available only by prescription, Propecia is a medication that is well known for its ability to treat male pattern baldness. This medication is classified as a synthetic anti-androgen that works to inhibit the enzyme that changes testosterone to dihydrotestosterone and can cause male pattern baldness. It wasn’t until 1997 that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the medication for male pattern baldness, and for this use the drug began being marketed as Propecia as it is known today.
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This medication has been proven to be very effective in treating male pattern baldness. There was a five year study using the medication with some taking it and some not taking it. 48% of the men who were taking the medication saw new growth of hair. 42% of the men who were taking the medication had no further hair loss. The men who did not take the medication at all continued to see hair loss. Unfortunately, when you cease taking the medication you begin to experience hair loss again within six to 12 months so the treatment needs to be ongoing to maintain the new growth. Even in men who are not able to grow new hair, hair loss was stopped, allowing for them to retain their current hair.
Propecia is associated with some side effects that patients should be aware of before they begin the medication. Side effects usually cease when you stop the Propecia therapy. Some side effects of this medication include but are not limited to: impotence, abnormal ejaculation, decreased ejaculatory volume, abnormal sexual function, gynecomastia, and erectile dysfunction. Men should discuss these side effects with their doctors as they occur to determine if this is the proper treatment for each patient, as each patient is different and may respond differently.
Propecia should only be taken by MEN and should not be used by women or children. Propecia consumer information