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Pros & Cons of Propecia (Finasteride)

Learn about the pros and cons of Propecia (Finasteride) from hair transplant surgeon Craig Ziering, MD in this Howcast video.

Transcript

Propecia or Finasteride is a very good medication for men, only men, who are suffering from hair loss. What it does is it blocks the DHT, which is the bad actor. It's the conversion of testosterone to DHT, and that DHT causes your hair to fall out. So with taking Propecia once a day, we can often stop this process and reverse sometimes the miniaturization, or the small wimpy hairs that you get, and turn those hairs around into thicker, fuller hairs.

However, some of the down sides of this medication are that it does have some side effects. It normally affects no more than two percent of the population and often those are sexual in nature. It can decrease your sex drive or it can give you some breast tenderness sometimes for men. However, the majority of the time the side effects go away with continued use, or if you stop the medicine, they'll go away anyway. It is a good medication to use. However, I'd like to caution people. Propecia is a one milligram tablet. That's what the studies were done with and that's how it was FDA approved. That's the ideal dose to give the maximum effect for the pill, however, to minimize the side effects.

Some patients try to take the Finasteride five milligrams, which is in it's pure form is called Proscar, which was designed for prostate enlargement, to treat prostate enlargement, and they break it up into quarters thinking that they'll get 1.25 milligrams of active ingredient in each tablet. However, unless a pill is scored, which means it has a line in it, it really can't be divided. Because if you divide it, the medication or active ingredient is not evenly distributed in the tablet. And it's effective by keeping those levels of one milligram every single day. So if you take a five milligram tablet and cut it into fourths, it's conceivable that you get 1.25 milligrams one day, 3.5 milligrams another, and zero the next two days. So you really can't do that if you want to be effective with this medication.

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