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Propecia is a medication used to combat male pattern baldness. It helps stimulate hair growth and reduces hair loss. The drug is intended for long-term use. The active substance is finasteride.
How does it work?
Propecia belongs to a class of drugs called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors that are used to treat diseases caused by increased production of dihydrotestosterone, a biologically active form of testosterone. These include androgenetic alopecia and benign prostatic hyperplasia. High levels of dihydrotestosterone also increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.
In men genetically predisposed to the development of androgenetic alopecia, dihydrotestosterone binds to the follicle receptors of the upper scalp. After exposure to dihydrotestosterone, hair follicles weaken, decrease in size and lose the ability to reproduce hair. As a result, a man has baldness in the crown of the head. Hair follicles on the back of the head and temples, as well as on the back, are resistant to dihydrotestosterone, which explains the clinical picture of androgenetic alopecia.
The active substance of the drug – finasteride – causes a rapid decrease in the concentration of dihydrotestosterone in the blood of a man, which reduces the progression of alopecia and promotes the growth of new hair. Within a day after taking the pill, the level of dihydrotestosterone drops by 65%. The maximum effect occurs three months after the start of a systematic administration of the drug.
Propecia is indicated for the treatment of androgenic type baldness. The drug is not intended for the treatment of focal baldness, baldness amid a lack of vitamins and nutrients, and baldness in women.
How to take the medicine?
The recommended dosage of Propecia is 1 mg (1 tablet per day). Before you start treatment, you must carefully study the instructions for use that are attached to the drug. If you have any questions regarding drug information, you should consult your doctor.
Tablets should be taken with a glass of water before or after a meal. Continue to take the pills even if you notice improvement. The therapeutic effect persists only with the systematic administration of the drug. If for any reason you missed a dose of the drug, do not take the missed tablets but simply return to the daily schedule of treatment. Do not take more than 1 mg of finasteride per day.
- Women who are pregnant or about to become pregnant. Since 5-alpha reductase blocks the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, finasteride can cause abnormalities in the development of the male reproductive organs of the male fetus;
- Allergic reactions to any component in the drug.
The safety of Propecia has been proven by many clinical trials, as well as the successful action of the drug since 1998. When usingthe drug in recommended doses, the percentage of side effects is almost zero. Side effects are minor and not dangerous for the patient, therefore this drug is very popular and in high demand.
Common side effects include:
- Decreased sex drive;
- Sperm reduction;
- Problems with achieving an erection.
But these side effects were extremely rare and quickly disappeared.
- The drug can cause a decrease in libido or cause erectile dysfunction;
- The drug can help reduce reproductive ability in men;
- Men taking Propecia cannot be donors. Blood can be donated at least a month after drug withdrawal. This is required in order to prevent the negative effects of a blood transfusion on a pregnant woman;
- High doses of finasteride may cause certain types of prostate cancer;
- In rare cases, men taking this drug have been diagnosed with breast cancer. You should consult your doctor if you notice any changes, such as lumps in the chest or discharge from the nipple;
- If a man taking these pills has sexual intercourse with a pregnant woman, he needs to use barrier methods of contraception;
- The drug can affect the results of some medical tests, including a PSA test (prostate-specific antigen), which is used to screen for prostate cancer, so you should notify your doctor about taking finasteride-based drugs before having any tests.
In clinical studies, a single dose of finasteride up to 400 mg and multiple doses up to 80 mg / day for three months did not cause any side effects.
There are no specific recommendations regarding the treatment of Propecia overdose.
Interaction with other drugs
No clinically significant drug drug interactions were noted. Finasteride does not seem to have a noticeable effect on the cytochrome P450 enzyme system. In studies on volunteers, no clinically significant interaction of Propecia with antipyrine, digoxin, glyburide, propranolol, theophylline and warfarin was found.
Although no specific interaction studies were carried out, in clinical trials finasteride at a dose of 1 mg or higher was used together with ACE inhibitors, acetaminophen, alpha-blockers, benzodiazepines, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, nitrates, diuretics, H2 antagonists, G inhibitors, and CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors, prostaglandin synthesis inhibitors (NSAIDs – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and quinolones, and no clinically significant adverse reactions were detected.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Propecia is suitable only for men with systemic hair loss. Women who are pregnant or may be pregnant should not use this drug.
If the drug is taken by a woman who is pregnant with a boy, theoretically this can lead to the birth of a boy with genital malformations.
Store the drug at room temperature, out of the reach of children, away from direct sunlight, heat and moisture. Do not use the expired medicine.