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Finasteride is a medication used to treat Male Pattern Baldness, or Androgenetic Alopecia. It’s typically taken as a daily 1mg tablet and when taken as prescribed can prevent the effects of Male Pattern Baldness.
Male Pattern Baldness is a common condition experienced by around half of all men over the age of 50, although it can start much earlier. This form of hair loss is genetic and is associated with ageing. DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, is an androgen hormone that regulates male characteristics. DHT is believed to change the follicles of the scalp, gradually reducing the length and diameter of hair until the follicles no longer produce hair at all.
Visit our Hair Loss page for more information.
Finasteride reduces the levels of DHT in the body, allowing it to effectively slow the effects of Male Pattern Baldness. You need to take Finasteride daily and over a course of 3 – 6 months to see the full effects of the medication. If you stop taking Finasteride, you will lose the beneficial effects of the treatment. If you miss a dose, do not take a double dose to make up for it.
Yes, Finasteride is safe to use if taken as prescribed. Make sure you aren’t allergic to any of the ingredients found in Finasteride and that you have talked to your doctor about your course of treatment, particularly if you’re taking other medication as well as Finasteride.
As with all medication, Finasteride can have side effects. A reduction of DHT could cause other effects in the body, such as:
In general, these are uncommon side effects and typically temporary. The dose of Finasteride taken to treat Male Pattern Baldness is low, so the side effects are rarely severe.
When you’re prescribed Finasteride, you should receive a Patient Information Leaflet which gives you all the relevant information regarding possible side effects, warnings and cautions.
Make sure to talk to a doctor if you do experience any unpleasant side effects when taking Finasteride and sign up for our free Ask A Pharmacist service for answers to any health or prescription related concerns.
Finasteride is not a prescribed hair loss treatment for women, so if you’re a woman you should not take Finasteride. Women can suffer from Female Pattern Baldness, which is a separate condition from Male Pattern Baldness. Female Pattern Baldness is likely hereditary and is more common post-menopause. Minoxidil can be an effective medication to treat Female Pattern Baldness and Male Pattern Baldness.
There are other treatments for Male Pattern Baldness available. Minoxidil is available as a scalp solution or scalp foam that is applied to the scalp in a continued treatment. It’s a skin only treatment and shouldn’t be used elsewhere on the body. It also shouldn’t be applied on parts of your scalp which are sore or inflamed.
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