Propecia vs finasteride
Propecia contains the active ingredient finasteride. Finasteride stops the male hormone testosterone being converted into dihydrotestosterone (5α-dihydrotestosterone) that causes hair follicles to shrink and stop producing hair. It does so by blocking an enzyme known as type II 5 alpha-reductase that regulates the production of the male hormone.
When the breakdown of testosterone is thus prevented by Propecia, hair follicles can return to their natural size and continue to produce hair. Men taking Propecia often find that their hair also grows back stronger and thicker.
Propecia 1mg tablets are available from The Independent Pharmacy Online Doctor service, following a free consultation, for the treatment of male-pattern baldness (hair loss or androgenic alopecia). To find out more about male pattern baldness and see all the available treatments, see our Hair Loss page.
The patent on Propecia has now expired (it lapsed in 2014), and the treatment is now available as generic Finasteride 1mg at a cheaper price.This may be an option for anyone seeking low cost hair loss treatment in the UK.
How does Propecia work to treat hair loss
Propecia 1mg is a daily tablet used to reduce hair loss or male pattern baldness. The branded medicine Propecia contains the active ingredient finasteride and is manufactured by Merck. It’s part of a group of drugs known as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors and has been on the market since 1997.
Propecia works by blocking the action of an androgenic hormone in the body called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT can cause hair follicles to shrink and stop producing hair. When the breakdown of testosterone to DHT is prevented by Propecia, hair follicles can return to their natural size and continue to produce hair like before. Propecia works best for hair loss over the top of the scalp (also known as the vertex).
Men regularly taking Propecia 1mg tablets will usually see improved hair growth after three months of use. This gradual improvement will continue for two years. After five years of use, studies and reviews show that 90% of Propecia users will have the same amount, if not more hair compared to when they started treatment. If you stop taking Propecia, the beneficial effects will begin to wear off after approximately six months. After nine to twelve months the effects of Propecia will have completely worn off, resulting in the hair loss being the same as it was before treatment.
Propecia 1mg is an oral tablet designed to be taken once a day. The standard dosage is for one 1mg tablet to be taken, either with or without food, at any time during the day. Propecia is most effective in men aged 18-41 with mild to moderate hair loss. This is because Propecia is much more effective at preventing hair loss and maintaining hair than regrowing hair that has already been lost; although it can also help in this case.
Propecia, at a different dosage, is also prescribed to men to treat enlarged prostate glands.
Treating male pattern baldness: alternative remedies
A thinning scalp and going bald can be stressful for a man. Even though all our hair follicles renew every few years, people often become emotionally attached to their hair, and can’t imagine living without it. Your hair may be falling out for a number of reasons (even stress causes hair loss), but Propecia is most effective in treating male pattern baldness.
Although there is no significant clinical data, anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that Propecia can be safely used in conjunction with Regaine (minoxidil) foam or solution for added benefit. An alternative hair loss treatment to consider would be Avodart (dutasteride).
There are also a number of hair loss shampoos, conditioners and supplements in our Male Hair Loss section that can be used safely alongside Propecia. (Note: alongside finasteride, minoxidil, and dutasteride are the only other treatments with a proven clinical track record for tackling hair loss).
In general, it is much easier to keep existing hair than to regrow hair where the follicle has stopped working. You should ensure you are proactive in your approach to baldness and treat the areas that are starting to thin for maximum success. Drugs like Propecia can halt your balding and prevent any further hair loss, as well as encourage regrowth, but they won’t magically give you a full head of hair in a week — you have to wait a few months until you start to see real results.
Non-medicinal alternatives to treating hair loss
There are a few non-medicinal alternatives for hair loss, however there success rates do vary, and some can be quite costly. There is little evidence to suggest herbal remedies are effective. Research is recommended if you decide to proceed with any of these options.
- Homeopathy (vitamins & minerals)
- Wigs/Hair Pieces
- Hair Transplants and surgery
Propecia Patient Information Leaflet: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/2194/pil