Generic Propecia — cheaper & just as effective
Propecia’s original patent (held by Merck Sharp & Dohme) expired in the UK back in October 2014, which meant that pharmaceutical companies were able to create their own, generic version of Propecia. With the same active ingredient — finasteride — the generic treatments work in exactly the same way.
Finasteride is the non-branded, low cost, tablet form of the drug Propecia. Finasteride is actually the name of the active ingredient in Propecia tablets, making Finasteride tablets 100% medically the same as Propecia.
What causes hair loss in men?
Hair loss is caused by male hormone testosterone being chemically converted into androgenic hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Dihydrotestosterone leads to hair loss by causing your hair follicles to shrink, which in turn causes them to fall out. The symptoms of male pattern hair loss can vary from man to man, with men losing hair from different parts of their head. Usually, men see a thinning of the hair, as well as slower hair regrowth and a change in hair texture and quality. The change is normally gradual, however that rate can vary from man to man, and it doesn’t usually affect facial hair in the same way.
There is a normal progression that is typical of male hair loss. First, you get a receding hair line that is then followed by thinning of the hair on the temples and crown of the head. This can then progress to complete baldness in some men, whereas others are left with horseshoe shaped hair around the sides and back of the head.
There are also other forms of hair loss like alopecia areata (spot baldness), that can be brought on by stress. Finasteride would not be effective for treating this type of hair loss.
How Finasteride combats hair loss
The active ingredient, finasteride, is known as a 5α-Reductase inhibitor or a DHT blocker.
Finasteride tablets address hair loss by reducing the conversion of the male hormone testosterone into Dihydrotestosterone. This reduces the shrinkage of hair follicles, countering the process of hair loss.
By reducing this conversion process, Finasteride encourages hair regrowth. There is also an increase in hair thickness for the majority of men who take it. For Finasteride to really work, it needs to be taken continuously.
The effects of taking Finasteride wear off six months after you stop taking the medication, with the effects ceasing completely nine to twelve months afterwards.
It should also be noted that your hair follicles grow and change every three years.
Alternative treatments for hair loss and male pattern baldness
There is also another hair loss treatment on the market sold as Avodart which contains dutasteride. Originally sold as a treatment for an enlarged prostate, it can also be prescribed off-label for male hair loss. As a product, it’s similar to Finasteride: the reviews for both Finasteride and Avodart are generally positive.
You are able to take Regaine Extra Strength (minoxidil 5%) in addition to, or instead of, Finasteride. Regaine Extra Strength comes as either a lotion or foam and, alongside Finasteride and Avodart, it is the only hair loss treatment which is proven to be effective.
There are also other options like hair loss surgery, but these procedures can be expensive and come with mixed results. Non surgical remedies may be a safer option.
Some people buy hair growth tablets, supplements, and vitamins from online stores and shops on the high street — but these are often from dubious origins and cannot be proven to be effective and safe.
Generally, it’s best to stick to prescription medication. Speak to your doctor if you’re not sure.