What Is Finasteride And How Does It Help To Reverse Hair Loss In Men?
Let's learn about this medication, how it works, what are its benefits, side effects and more.
No matter how old you are, hair loss is something you don’t want to experience. Though you cannot avoid this problem altogether, its symptoms can be reversed with proper care and medication. Finasteride is one of the prescribed treatment options that help men to deal with excessive hair fall, hair thinning, receding hairline and decreasing hair density.
In this article, let’s learn from a known dermatologist, Dr Nivedita Dadu about what finasteride is, how it works and what are its side effects.
What is Finasteride and how does it work?
Finasteride is an oral medication approved by US-FDA (Food & Drug Administration). It is most commonly used when it comes to treating male pattern baldness.
It works by blocking an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase which converts the male hormone testosterone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone). This results in low levels of testosterone getting converted into DHT. And as DHT is responsible for all the hair problems like hair damage, hair thinning, receding hairline and decreasing hair density, so when its level decreases, hair slowly starts growing and their density also increases.
In total, Finasteride reduces scalp concentrations of DHT and therefore interrupts a key factor responsible for the development of pattern baldness in men.
Finasteride dosage for Hair loss
Finasteride is available in the form of 1mg tablets. You must have it only after consulting a doctor, who may either prescribe you to take it daily or on alternate days or twice a week.
It is available in the form of lotion. If a lotion gives you good results, then there is no need to take a tablet.
Side effects of Finasteride
As per Dr. Dadu the side effects of finasteride are seen only in 4-5% people and these are reversible. The main side effect is it can affect the male sexual functions. It can cause loss of libido which describes a person’s sex drive and sexual appetite, or erectile dysfunction among men.
It is important to note that male sexual functions are determined by testosterone and DHT do not have a much role to play. And as Finasteride is only stopping the formation of DHT, the male sexual functions are not much affected. But still, it is advisable to take the finasteride pill only under the supervision of a dermatologist.
Sometimes, it’s also seen that the side effects of this drug are psychological. People when read about the medicine and come to know about its side effects, they themselves start experiencing them, in case they are taking it.
Who should avoid Finasteride
Finasteride is not recommended to men who have gone through anxiety and depression. You should also avoid it if you are allergic to any ingredient of this drug or are planning a family. The drug should also never be taken by a woman or a child. Moreover, a broken finasteride tablet should not be handled by a pregnant woman as it could cause birth defects.
Other conditions finasteride can treat
Finasteride is also used to treat BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia). It is also called prostate gland enlargement and is a common condition as men get older. Men diagnosed with BPH take higher doses of Finasteride than men treating hair loss.
Developed in the 1970s, Finasteride is successfully being used in treating male pattern baldness. It’s most effective at the initial stage of hair loss. You can start seeing the result after three months of taking this medicine; you’ll notice that your hair loss has slowed down and your hair density has increased and due to decrease in DHT, your hair has also started growing.
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