Finasteride for Male Hair Loss
Finasteride is a pill that is taken once a day.
How It Works
Finasteride lowers the level of androgens, a class of hormone that affects hair loss.
Why It Is Used
Finasteride was originally used to treat enlarged prostate glands (benign prostatic hyperplasia). In a much lower dose, it is now also used to treat inherited hair loss in men (androgenetic alopecia), the most common cause of hair loss.
Finasteride is not effective in postmenopausal women.1 It is not approved for women by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Women and children should not use finasteride.
How Well It Works
Finasteride is recognized as a successful therapy for inherited hair loss for men. Research reports that it slows hair loss on the scalp and helps regrow hair.2 But bald spots may not be completely covered, and visible results may take from a few months to a year.
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call your doctor if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Finasteride is for men only. Women and children should not use it.
Women who are or may become pregnant should not take or handle crushed or broken tablets because finasteride can cause birth defects.
Finasteride must be taken daily. If you stop taking finasteride, any regrown hair will gradually be lost, and within 6 to 12 months your scalp will most likely appear the same as before treatment.
If you are having a prostate screening, tell your doctor you are taking finasteride because it may affect the results of your test.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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