Finasteride for Hair Loss in the UK

Finasteride is a drug that was originally created for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, which is also known as an enlarged prostate. During the treatment for this condition, many of the patients began to notice that their hair was growing back where it had previously been lost. This caused scientists to research the properties of finasteride that could combat hair loss. These studies showed that finasteride could treat male pattern baldness preventing further hair loss and in some cases causing hair to re- grow.

What is Male Pattern Baldness?

Male pattern baldness is a common condition that affects most men at some point in their life. It develops as you age normally beginning when you are between the age of twenty- five and forty- five years old.

Male pattern baldness causes you to progressively lose your hair, starting at the front of your head and on your crown, and ending when the two gaps join. In some people, this leaves the head completely bald where as in others it leaves a rim of hair around the sides and back of their heads.

What Causes Male Pattern Baldness?

Male pattern baldness is caused by the conversion of testosterone into dehydrotestosterone. This attacks the follicles of the hair, which causes them to shrink. As they shrink, they restrict the amount of hair that can grow, making it thinner and weaker. Eventually the follicles become too weak to support hair and stop producing hair that can leave the surface of the skin.

What is Finasteride?

Finasteride is a 5 alpha reductase inhibiting drug that prevents testosterone from being converted into dehydrotestosterone. It is a man- made drug that has been approved by the FDA for both the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia and male pattern balding.

How Does Finasteride Work?

Finasteride stops the conversion of testosterone into dehydrotestosterone by preventing it from bonding to 5 alpha reductase. Once the dehydrotestosterone levels in the blood have dropped, the hair follicles begin to return to their normal size. This prevents further hair from being lost and in some cases can cause strong, healthy hair to grow.

Is Finasteride Effective?

Finasteride is effective in the majority of men aged between eighteen and forty- one, although some patients do not see any results. Finasteride can take a long time to take effect and few people see the results even after three months of treatment.

Most people will see the results of finasteride treatment within twelve months of starting the medication although others may have to wait for two years before the results are visible.

Is Finasteride Permanent?

Unfortunately, the effects of finasteride are not permanent. They only last for as long as you take the drug. Should you stop taking finasteride for any reason the results will gradually reverse over a period of twelve months.

Finasteride also begins to lose its effectiveness after a period of between five and ten years. This puts some people off the treatment as they are looking for a treatment that they can use on a life- long basis.

How is Finasteride Taken?

Finasteride is normally taken in 1 mg doses at the same time every day. As it is a private drug, it must be paid for either online or from a pharmacy and you will require a private prescription to do this.

Because of costing, many people choose to buy finasteride in its 5 mg form and divide the tablets into 1 mg portions. This is acceptable as long as you ensure that you divide the pills evenly.

Finasteride should be swallowed with water at the same time every day. There is no need to take it with food although you may do so if you wish.

Where Can Finasteride Be Purchased?

Finasteride can be purchased both over the internet and in a pharmacy. However, you decide to purchase the drug it is highly recommended that you shop around as many companies charge over the odds in order to make a large profit. You should avoid expensive suppliers, as the drug will be no better than if you brought the cheaper equivalent. However, you should also be weary of very cheap drugs as these could be counterfeit. If you are uncertain about a reliable source, you should speak to your GP who will be able to recommend a pharmacy.

Finasteride is brought under brand names. These differ depending on the strength of the drug. The main brand name for 1 mg finasteride tablets is Propecia whereas the main brand name for 5 mg tablets is Proscar. You should ensure that you are taking the prescribed dose at all times.

Can Finasteride Be Used by Women?

Women who are suffering from female pattern hair loss or hirsutism can use finasteride if it is prescribed by a doctor. However, it should not be used if you are capable of bearing children as it can cause severe birth defects. Finasteride is usually only prescribed to women who are post- menopausal or who are unable to have children for other reasons.

Does Finasteride Have Risks and Side Effects?

As with all drugs, finasteride has side effects. There are no indications of whether you are likely to develop side effects because of finasteride until you have started treatment. Side effects of finasteride include:

  • Loss of sexual appetite
  • Reduction in semen ejaculation
  • Impotence
  • Increased risk of breast cancer
  • Increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer
  • Depression
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Birth defects when taken by pregnant women

If you notice any of these side effects, you should seek medical advice, as your dosage may need to be altered for you to safely continue treatment.

Are There Any Alternatives to Finasteride?

There are several alternatives to finasteride although they are not always cheaper. Choosing alternative treatments for hair loss can help to eliminate some of the side effects of finasteride.

One cheap alternative is to wear a wig or a hairpiece although many people do not wish to do so. There are also alternative drugs that can also stimulate hair growth in different ways. The most successful alternative to finasteride is hair transplantation surgery. This can provide you with natural looking results that can last a lifetime. However, this is a very expensive alternative and many people opt for cheaper treatment options.

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