Propecia Is An FDA-Approved Hair Loss Medication

Propecia Is An FDA-Approved Hair Loss Medication

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Have you noticed your hairline receding, thinning hair on the top or middle of your head? You may simply be experiencing male pattern baldness, the most common form of hair loss in men according to the American Hair Loss Council. If you are worried about your male pattern baldness, you can ask your doctor about a prescription for Propecia to slow your hair loss and possibly regrow some hair that has been lost.

The facts are that age coupled with your genetics creates a chemical by-product in your body called DHT. If your body is genetically programmed not to be able to dispose of DHT efficiently, it can reside in the scalp where it attacks and shrinks hair follicles, resulting in hair loss in many men. “Propecia blocks the action of the DHT allowing follicles to keep growing hair,” explains Dr. Sara Wasserbauer, a board-certified, California-based hair transplant surgeon. “You can’t block genetics but you can block DHT with Propecia.”

“You can’t block genetics but you can block DHT with Propecia.” — Dr. Sara Wasserbauer, Hair Transplant Surgeon

Is Propecia for me?

  • Are you a young man diagnosed with male pattern baldness?
  • Are you willing to take a pill every day, for the rest of your life?
  • Can you afford the cost of the prescription?
  • Are you willing to live with any side effects, and/or give them time to resolve?
  • Are you willing to wait approximately three months to begin to see effects?

How does Propecia work?

Scientists have discovered a chemical produced in the human body as we age called DHT, which, depending on genetic factors, can shrink hair follicles until they no longer produce visible hair. The FDA has approved Propecia as the only pill taken once daily that blocks DHT from attacking follicles and thereby allowing hair to grow. Propecia was developed to treat mild to moderate male pattern hair loss on the top and middle scalp areas of the head although it is not proven to work on receding hairlines.

What can I expect from Propecia?

You’ll need to visit your doctor to confirm the diagnosis for your hair thinning or hair loss. Once you receive a prescription from your doctor, you will begin taking Propecia once daily. In clinical studies, less than 2% of men experienced some sexual side effects, breast tenderness and enlargement and testicular pain. Dr. Wasserbauer cautions that while side effects might at first seem alarming, that in most cases, hormone increases level off in a few weeks and side effects dissipate. Either way, any side effects are completely reversible if you stop taking Propecia.

You’ll need to take Propecia daily for about three months before you see any noticeable differences because that’s about how long the hair growth cycle takes. If you don’t see any improvements by 12 months most experts agree on discontinuing the drug. “I call it ‘Vitamin P’ for men — because you take it every day for strong hair follicles, just like other vitamins,” says Wasserbauer.

Complications of Propecia

Propecia can affect some blood tests, so always tell any doctor you are seeing for any reason you are taking Propecia. Report side effects, pain or lumps to your doctor. And, according to Propecia directions: Propecia will not work better or faster if you take it more than once a day.

Propecia: The Bottom Line

The American Hair Loss Council advises you stick to FDA-approved hair loss treatments because the vast majority of advertised treatments do not work for the prevention and treatment of hair loss. FDA approved treatments have been tested and proven to safely produce results.

Experts agree that Propecia is a long-term treatment and that if you stop taking it, you will likely lose any hair you have gained within 12 months of stopping treatment. However Propecia can also be a beneficial addition to treatments with low-level laser light therapy as Virg Christoffels, owner of Virg Christoffels and Company of Sioux Falls South Dakota explains, “The laser works on the outside and Propecia works on the inside — together the results can be quite measurable!”

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