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Finasteride – Help for Male Pattern Baldness
Finasteride (generic nomenclature for Proscar and Propecia) is currently one of the most promising treatments on the market for male pattern baldness. When the FDA approved finasteride for the treatment of male pattern baldness in 1997, it became the first drug available that showed verifiable results in treating most of the men who tried it.
The success of finasteride can be attributed to its ability to inhibit the enzyme that transforms testosterone into androgen dihydrotestosterone, known to most simply as DHT. Currently, there is no known way to treat hair loss other than to lower the level of DHT affecting hair follicles. Finasteride is recommended by many groups that focus on hair loss in men as being the first line of defense in the treatment of continuous balding.
Propecia contains 1 mg of finasteride. This amount has been shown in studies to lower DHT levels by as much as 60% when taken every day, as directed. Since DHT is a known cause of the shrinking of hair follicles that causes them to be shed from the body, reducing the amount of it in the scalp is a direct hit in fighting hair loss. So, the 60% loss of DHT can be easily proven to stop or reduce hair loss in men. In clinical trials, using finasteride to combat DHT levels resulted in a slowed loss of hair in 86% of the men observed. Furthermore, 65% of the men showed a considerable amount of hair growth instead.
During a five year study, men that were experiencing nominal to medium hair loss were shown to achieve hair growth, rather than loss, in two out of every three of the participants taking 1 mg of finasteride. The male participants not taking the drug consistently continued to lose hair. In an independent survey of dermatologists, photographs reflecting the original hair state of the men and the resultant hair state after clinical trials were shown to the dermatologists. It was determined from these photos that almost half of the men who had taken finasteride were showing evidence of hair growth visible in the pictures. On top of that, over forty percent more showed no indications of further hair loss after beginning the drug. These findings were consistent for the entire five year study.
One thing to note is that finasteride is only effective when it is continually taken. The hair growth or reduction in hair loss is only present for as long as the drug is taken on a daily basis. If the drug is discontinued, the results will be lost within six months to a year after cessation.
Clinical trials also indicate that finasteride is highly effective in the crown and hairline of the scalp, with the crown being the site of the most effected growth or maintenance of hair.
Since Propecia can be expensive, there are those that prefer to use Proscar. While Propecia contains 1mg of finasteride, Proscar contains a heavier 5 mg dose. Finasteride users can split the higher dosage pill of Proscar into parts that equal the same dosage as the Propecia or crush them and divide the dosage. It is important to remember that the contents of the pills are coated to protect contact with the active ingredients inside. It is especially important that those choosing to split doses in this way keep the residue away from pregnant women or women attempting to achieve pregnancy.
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