Finasteride is the generic name of the drug Propecia. As Finasteride is non-branded, it is available for less than Propecia but works in exactly the same way. Finasteride belongs to a group of medicines called Type II 5-alpha reductase inhibitors and is manufactured by Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited. It contains the active ingredient finasteride. Finasteride can treat male pattern hair loss (also known as androgenetic alopecia or AGA). Propecia helps increase hair growth on the scalp and prevents further hair loss in men.
How does it work
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a male sex hormone which in high levels is thought to contribute to male pattern baldness. DHT shrinks the hair follicles resulting in decreased growth and thinner hairs. It is produced by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase in the hair follicles. Men who have less of this enzyme have lower levels of DHT and are less likely to develop male pattern baldness.
Finasteride has been shown to inhibit the human Type II 5-alpha reductase, decreasing the formation of DHT from testosterone and thus helping to inhibit hair loss.
Can I take Finasteride?
Propecia is suitable for men aged 18 and above. If you have a prostate condition or if your partner is pregnant or trying to get pregnant you cannot take Propecia.
How do I take Finasteride?
Finasteride is taken once a day. It may take 3-6 months before you start to see the full effects of Propecia and if you stop taking finasteride you may lose the hair you have gained within 9-12 months.
Are there any side effects?
Like all medicines, finasteride may cause side effects – however at the recommended dose these are usually mild and infrequent.
Patient Information Leaflet
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