Propecia, which is also known as finasteride, is a synthetic drug medication that is useful in treating male pattern baldness. Finasteride is also useful in decreasing the size of enlarged prostates; however, sexual dysfunction is amongst the possible side effects. Finasteride is a 5a-reductase inhibitor. It blocks the production of androgens and cholesterol-derived hormones. 5a-reductase is an enzyme that prevents the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is responsible for male pattern baldness.
Male pattern baldness is determined by hormones and genes. Each strand of hair is produced by a hair follicle, which is situated inside a single pore. Hair follicles can shrink over time as a result of hormones and other conditions; however, Propecia is only effective in treating hair loss as a result of hormones. Eventually, a hair follicle will fail to produce hair indefinitely. While Propecia hastens the effects of hair loss, hair loss will continue at the discontinuance of Propecia.
Several men spend a considerable amount on finasteride a year—approximately $400 million worth under the name of Propecia. FDA-approved drugs, such as Propecia, must by federal law prove their efficacy. However, the efficacy of Propecia is debatable.
A total number of 1879 men were included in randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies to determine the efficacy of Propecia; however, none of the participants studied had complete hair loss. Those involved in the studies had mild to moderate hair loss. The results for the prevention of hair loss was statistically significant, which meets the standards for FDA-approved drugs; however, the results of hair growth were not significant between the groups that took Propecia and the placebo. Those who took Propecia resulted in an increase of 277 hairs per 1-inch diameter of scalp, which makes the results statistically significant. However, compared to the normal amount of 22 hundred hairs that normally occupy a 1-inch diameter of scalp, the amount of hair grown from the Propecia was a mere 10 percent in increase.
Those taking Propecia can expect a difference in hair growth by taking it daily for three months. If noticeable results are not achieved by 12 months, it is doubtful that Propecia will be beneficial.
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