An Introduction to the Hair Loss Drug Finasteride

Finasteride is the popular hair loss drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of androgenic alopecia or more simply male pattern baldness.  This type of hair loss condition is known to be hereditary in trait.  However, it has also been classified to be hormonal in issue.  This is because the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is responsible for the thinning of hair follicles that contributes greatly to the loss of hair.

This hormone DHT is the byproduct of the hormone testosterone and the enzyme 5-alpha reductase.  At normal levels, DHT does not pose any risk of hair loss.  However, at higher levels, particularly in the scalp, it seems to squeeze the life out of hair follicles progressively which is why the thinning occurs.  In due time, these hair follicles won’t even be able to support hair growth.

Male pattern baldness is often characterized by a receding hairline along with a balding on the top of the head.  When left untreated or without any intervention, hair loss will progress and the receding front hair line will meet with the balding top until only a line of hair at the side and back are left.  The eventual result when no act of intervention or treatment is made is alopecia totalis or total loss of hair.

The hair loss drug finasteride actually didn’t start off as a hair loss remedy at first.  Finasteride was developed to be a treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia or the abnormal enlargement of the prostate glands.  When the medication was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for that treatment, it was found out that the drug has a beneficial side effect in which it stopped the progression of male pattern baldness.  Through the experiences of the patients that used finasteride, the manufacturer of the drug took notice and began to perform research on the drug.  It was then found out that it works in treating androgenic alopecia at lower doses.  In short, finasteride 5mg for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia, and finasteride 1mg for treating male pattern baldness.

Finasteride is effective in treating androgenic alopecia because it treats the condition at the source and not just on the scalp where the hair loss occurs.  By preventing the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, it therefore prevents the formation of DHT.  Once DHT levels in the scalp have been brought down for a continuous period of time, the progression of hair loss will stop and possibly the recovery of newly thinned out hair follicles occurs.  In due time, new hair growth with more normal hair strands occur.

Side Effects

The side effects when using finasteride 1mg are rare, but in case they do occur, they are nevertheless reversible.  This makes the usage of this drug very safe without actually any worries.  Possibly the most reported case when using finasteride are erectile issues.  Then again, as said earlier, once you stop taking the medication, any form of side effect you have experienced from taking the drug is reversed.  When discontinuing the use of finasteride, it will take a few weeks before DHT levels rise up again and a few months before hair loss resumes.

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