Propecia is a hair loss medication prescribed to treat androgenetic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness. It stops future hair loss while also restoring hair that has already stopped growing. Propecia tablets contain the active ingredient Finasteride, which is a type of medicine known as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor.
Finasteride inhibits the action of an enzyme that is responsible for converting the male hormone testosterone into a more active form called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT can damage hair follicles and lead to hair loss in men who are genetically sensitive to it. As Finasteride prevents the action of 5-alpha reductase, it prevents the formation of DHT. This decreases the amount of DHT in the blood and scalp and can lead to reversal of the balding process.
The generic alternative of Propecia, is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product, but both the generic and the brand contain the same active ingredient: Finasteride.
Your doctor may prescribe Propecia or generic Finasteride if you have been diagnosed with male pattern baldness.
Male pattern baldness, also called androgenic alopecia, is the most common type of hair loss in men. You can easily recognize this type of hair loss by its distinct pattern of a receding hairline and hair thinning on the crown.
The main cause of male pattern baldness is having a family history of baldness. Each hair has a growth cycle. With male pattern baldness, this growth cycle begins to weaken and the hair follicle shrinks, producing shorter and finer strands of hair. Though the follicles remain alive, the growth cycle for each hair eventually ends and no new hair grows in its place.
Inherited male pattern baldness usually has no medical ill effects. However, sometimes baldness has more serious causes, such as certain cancers, medications, thyroid conditions, and anabolic steroids.
As with all prescription drugs, there are potential side effects of Propecia.
These may include:
If you experience any side effects of Finasteride or Propecia, notify your doctor immediately.