Propecia is a drug used to treat male pattern baldness on the top of the head. It is a type of drug called a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor, containing the active ingredient Finasteride. It is thought to work by preventing the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. Serum Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT has been shown by medical studies to be correlated with male pattern baldness and enlarged prostate.
Doctors studies found that men with baldness had a higher amount of DHT in their scalps, when compared to women or men without baldness.
DHT is thought to work by binding to receptors in hair follicles and cause them to shrink and eventually disappear. Propecia prevents the body from converting testosterone in the body to DHT so that the hair receptors can begin to regrow hair.
Finasteride use results in a decrease of DHT in the blood by about 65%-70% in clinical studies.
Merck & Co. developed Propecia in 1997 after discovering that the drug Finasteride in their drug Proscar, originally developed for enlarged prostate, it had the added benefit of correcting male pattern baldness in the patients taking it. After spending nearly half a billion in research, Merk & Co released the drug to the public. In its first year 400,000 people took the drug.
If you and your doctor decide to try Propecia, it should be taken regularly on a schedule and full effects should start to appear after three months of use. One of the more serious side effects that can occur is aggressive prostate cancer, so you will have to be monitored regularly through physical exam, and/or blood test.
Other side effects can include,
*sexual dysfunction, such as impotence, erectile dysfunction loss of libido, abnormal ejaculation, or trouble orgasming
*swelling of limbs, especially in the hands or feet.
* Swelling or tenderness in breast
* Weakness, dizziness, or fainting after getting up from a lying down position
* Runny Nose
* Skin rash.
Other side effects are possible, if in doubt be sure to discuss with your doctor any effect that you may feel after beginning this or any other medication.
Do not take Propecia if you have:
* Liver disease
* Prostate problems, including cancer
* Difficulty urinating or urinary problems
* Any allergic reaction to similar drugs in the past.
Some off label uses for Propecia include preventing abnormal hair growth in women with hyperandrogenism due to persistent adrenarche syndrome, and use in hormone replacement therapy.
Warnings: It should not be used by women or children, and direct contact should also be avoided as the Finasteride, the active ingredient in Propecia, can be absorbed through the skin. Finasteride is thought to cause developmental problems in children, and birth defects in pregnant women.
Propecia has a coating to prevent direct contact with the skin through normal handling, but a broken or crushed tablet could potentially bring the medication into contact. If contact occurs, make sure to wash with soap and water immediately.
Sexual dysfunction in relation to Propecia, can potentially persist for months to years after stopping the drug. If after stopping Propecia you continue to experience sexual dysfunction, please discuss it with your doctor.