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Propecia/Finasteride inhibits DHT to Stop Hair Loss

How Finestaride or Propecia Works

Finasteride is more popularly known as Propecia. Propecia is the brand name for finasteride at the 1 mg dose. It is one of the few medications that work for many people. It is usully in table form taken orally.

Male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) is caused by the effects of male hormone dihydrotestesterone (DHT) on hair follicles that are genetically vulnerable. They are usually located in the front, top and crown of the scalp, leaving the back and sides to remain relatively lush.

DHT affects hair loss by shortening the growth phase of the cycle, leading to a minitiarization of the hair follicles. The affected hair grows more slowly or stops growing completely, becoming shorter and finer until it dinally disappears.

The male sex hormones involved in the hair thinning process are testosteerone and DHT. The cells in the body metabolize testosterone and turn it into DHT. This process is facilitated by an anzyme called 5-alpha reductase (5AR). There are two types of 5AR:

  • Type 1, which is mainly located in the sebaceous (sweat) glands, keratinocytes and fibroblasts. This enzyme catgalizes the conversion if testerone into another hormone called androstenedione which is related to the production of sebum. Its role in hair loss is not clear.
  • Type 2, which is found in the skin and the sheath of hair follicles has a clearer role on hair loss. It appears to cause hair loss for those who are genetically predisposed for hair loss. Finesteride prevents hair loss by blocking the effect of this hormone.

This drug works by making 5AR less potent, reducing its ability to produce DHT. Taken at 1 milligram a day, clinically studies show that ti can reduce the DHT levels by almost 70 percent.

Contrary to popular belief, finasteride does not lower the testerone level. Instead it increase it by 9 percent.

Efficacy of finasteride or Propecia

Based on studies, almost half the men treated with Propecia (brand name for finasteride at the 1 mg dose) showed an increase in hair growth and 90 percent of them maintained the increased hair over the previously thinning areas. They were tested over 5 years of treatment. 10 percent of the men tested lost hair over this time period. As for those not given Propecia, 75 percent of them lost hair over this time period.

In a study published in 2010 involving the analysis of a dozen studies on the drug involving nearly 4,000 men, it has been found that most men who take finasteride experience a 30 percent improvement in hair growth in two years.[1]

Propecia appears to help men under 50 and those who only started to lose hair during the past 2 to 3 years to even regrow hair. Those above 50 and have lost hair for many years can expect to stop hair loss. For these subjects, a few may see some hair regrowth but this is an exception rather than the rule. We have seen better results with low level laser therapy for hair growth.

Users of Propecia need to know that within 2 to 6 months, they will revert to their original condition for their hair if they discontinue treatment. This generally apply to any treatment that stops hair loss or re-grow hair as the causal reasons for the hair loss will take over again. Where hair has alrady been lost (as opposed to hair thinning, particularly in the frontal area) Propecia is not expected to work for these areas.

You need to be patient when taking finasteride. Give one year to see results and before your doctor can determine its effect. You may still see some thinning within the first 6 months as new hair replaces the sickly miniaturized hair.

Does Finasteride or Propecia Work for Women?

Studies on the efficacy of finasteride and Propecia on women have been inclonclusive.

One study evaluated the effectiveness of the combination of a relatively high dose of oral finasteride (2.5 mg as opposed to commercially available 1 mg) with an oral contraceptive on perimenopausal women with pattern hair loss. 62 percent of these women showed a decrease in hair loss after one year.

Another study evaluated the efficacy of 1 mg of finesteride on postmenopausal momen found no significant hair growth after one year.

The two studies are conducted under different conditions as stated above. The results may suggest that finasteride may or may not work on women depending on the conditions. The success in one of the studies may suggest that finesteride could work based on a high dosage of 2.5 mg and only for perimenopausal women. On the other handit may not work with a regular dosage on pstmenopausal women.

It should however be noted that FDA has not approved finasteride for women. Pregnant or women with the potential to be pregnant should not handle broken finesteride/Propecia tablets since the ingredients can be absorbed through the skin. This poses a potential risk to a male fetus. There is no risk with a man taking finesteride impregnates a woman.

Based on facts available women are not recommended to take finasteride.


1. Mella J M, Perret M C, Manzotti M, Catalano H N, Gordon Guyatt G. "Efficacy and Safety of Finasteride Therapy for Androgenetic Alopecia - A systematic Review". Arch Dermatol. 2010;146(10):1141-1150. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2010.256.

Continue with the following links for more detailed information on prescription drugs and medications.

bullet What to do with prescription drugs and medications
bullet Finasteride/Propecia, hair loss and DHT
bullet Side Effects of Finasteride / Propecia
bullet Dutesteride/Avodart, hair loss and DHT
bullet Minoxidil/Rogaine and hair loss
bullet Side Effects of Minoxidil / Rogaine
bullet Minoxidil/Rogaine versus Finasteride/Propecia
bullet Additional medications for women for women hair loss






From this:
My thining hair head at beginning
To this, after 3 months:
My thinning hair head after 3 months
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