How was Propecia Discovered? | Hair Loss & Hair Transplant Surgery Guide

Propecia was approved by the FDA to treat male pattern baldness/hair loss in 1998 and it is very similar to a drug named Proscar. Proscar was first used in 1992 to treat enlarged prostates as a larger dosage of 5mg was found to reduce the size of prostates. But was propecia discovered as an accidental side effect of this treatment?

Well, yes in some aspects, Propecia was discovered as an accident. But not as a side effect of Proscar treatment. When Proscar was added to the market, researchers already knew that it had the potential to prevent hair loss. But how? And why was it not released at the same time?

Well, in 1974, a man named Mcginley was studying a group of male children who lived in the Dominican Republic and they all had a deficiency in the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. He found that they all had small prostrates, didn't exhibit any hair loss in aging and had no acne. Therefore, if you could inhibit the enzyme in some way, both prostrate enlargement and hair loss could potentially be treated.

With extensive research, it was found that the compound Finasteride successfully inhibited the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme and a 5mg drug called Proscar was released to help reduce the size of prostates in some men. A lot of time and effort was undertaken so that the drug could be used to treat a medically based disease first with the hope it could be used for cosmetic uses in the future. More research was carried out to find out whether Finasteride could be used as a treatment for hair loss. In 1998, a company named Merck and Co released it under the name Propecia in 1mg amounts to treat hair loss, after it had completed a number of clinical trials. It is the only FDA approved drug that is known to prevent hair loss.

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