What is Propecia (finasteride)?
Propecia (finasteride) belongs to a group of medicines called 5 alpha reductase inhibitors. It is manufactured by Merck and comes in a tan-coloured octagonal tablet, available in a 1mg strength.
What are the key benefits of Propecia (finasteride)?
Clinical trials conducted on thousands of men have shown that after 2 years of use 66% (two thirds) of men showed increased hair growth - 30% of men showed a slight improvement, 31% showed a moderate improvement and 5% showed a great increase. 83% of men in the trial showed no further hair loss.
How does Propecia (finasteride) work?
Propecia works by blocking an enzyme, type II 5 alpha-reductase, which in turn reduces the level of the hormones in the scalp that are responsible for shortening the hair growth phase. This effectively treats the hormonal cause of this type of hair loss, thus preventing further hair loss and increasing new hair growth in men with male pattern baldness.
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How to take Propecia (finasteride)?
Use once a day for 3 to 6 months is required before benefit is seen, and effects are reversed 6 to 12 months after treatment is discontinued so continuous use is recommended to sustain benefit.
Is Propecia (finasteride) suitable for me?
Propecia should only be used if prescribed for you by a registered doctor. Propecia is only for men over the age of 18 - it should not be used by women due to serious risks in pregnancy and breast feeding, or in children and adolescents. The treatment should not be taken by men who are taking Proscar or any other 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor medicines for benign prostatic hyperplasia or any other condition.
What are the side effects of Propecia (finasteride)?
When taken at the recommended dose, the possible Propecia side effects are usually mild and generally have not caused the men to stop taking the medicine.
Possible Propecia side effects include testicular pain, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, decreased volume of ejaculation, breast tenderness and enlargement; rashes, itching and swelling of the lips and face.
You should promptly report any changes in your breast tissue such as lumps, pain, enlargement of the breast tissue or nipple discharge to your doctor, as these may be signs of a serious condition, such as breast cancer.
You should consult the full list of side effects for Propecia on the patient information leaflet provided with your treatment. Details of this can also be found here.