Propecia is a drug known for its property to stop the process of male pattern hair loss and restore the hair thickness. This medication got approval for use in 1992 and since that time, millions of men could restore not only their head of hair but also self-confidence and self-esteem.
The use of this preparation is not limited to the treatment of male baldness. Propecia is also helpful in enlarged prostate therapy. Please note that this is a drug for males only. It can be applied in women only in exceptional cases. If you are ready to continue, let’s get down to the most important details about Propecia.
The active component of the tablets of Propecia is called finasteride. This chemical is an antiandrogen. It inhibits 5 alpha-reductase, thus preventing the transformation of testosterone (male main sex hormone) to dihydrotestosterone. This process takes place in the hair follicles, the prostate, and in the skin; therefore, these parts of the human body feel the effects induced by Propecia strongest of all.
When starting the therapy with Propecia, you shouldn’t expect to get immediate visible results, especially when it goes about the treatment of baldness. You need to understand that the hair itself has quite a long cycle of growth, and you won’t be able to get the hair of your dream in a couple of days, or weeks, or even months. The first noticeable improvements in your hair condition will appear in 3 – 6 months. For some men, this process may take even longer, yet the result is definitely worth waiting.
It has already been mentioned that Propecia can be applied in women only in a very limited number of cases. One of them is when a woman suffers from hirsutism. This disease is characterized by excessive hair growth all over the body, including the face and other parts of the female body where the hair is usually not much visible. Based on the results of the studies, a two-year-long therapy can help cope with this problem in 73 – 93% of cases.
Another reason why women may need to take Propecia is a hormone replacement therapy for transgender women.
Propecia tablets belong to the category of prescription-only medications. Therefore, you can take them only after your doctor approves the treatment. This preparation is intended for oral administering. The pill should be taken once daily, usually, in the morning. Wash the pill down with a glass of water.
For the androgenic alopecia, the commonly advised dose of the medication is 1 mg daily. It is important to say that the therapy of male baldness may be lifelong and last for years or up till the moment a man decides to stop it. Why? The thing is that the health of your hair and its thickness will go back to the pretreatment condition within a year after you stop taking the tablets.
When applied for enlarged prostate treatment, a 5 mg dose once daily is advised. The scientists claim this medication to have the potency to reduce the risks for developing high-grade prostate cancer by 25%. At the same time, some studies have found the negative impact of Propecia on the development of rare and aggressive forms of prostate gland cancer. It is considered that the likelihood of developing such types of malignancy increase by 27%. Still, these data haven’t found confirmation in all the studies where Propecia has been tested. The benefits achieved during the therapy are reversed to the pre-treatment condition within 6 – 8 months after Propecia is discontinued.
You should never take this medication in doses exceeding the recommended ones. Any raise in the drug daily dosage is not likely to bring any more benefit to your health, yet it can significantly raise the possibility of developing unwanted reactions to Propecia.
In general, the intake of Propecia is considered safe. However, some health conditions may have an impact on how your body reacts to this drug. The only way to make sure you can take this drug is to consult a doctor who specializes in the treatment of androgenic alopecia or prostate enlargement. You should inform your healthcare provider about all the problems with health you have or have had in the past, especially if those are:
any type of prostate cancer;
trouble passing the urine;
a bladder muscle disease;
narrowing of the urethra.
The active component of Propecia, finasteride, can be absorbed into the human organism even through the skin. If a pregnant woman gets into contact with this chemical, it can affect the development of the fetus’ genitals. For this reason, expectant mothers are advised to avoid touching the pills, especially if they are crushed.
Another thing to be aware of is that Propecia may mask the development of prostate cancer. Men getting the therapy with this medication are recommended to pass special tests at least once in 6 – 12 months.
It is recommended to avoid becoming a blood or plasma donor when on Propecia and for at least another month after administering the final dose of the medication. Such a warning is mainly associated with the risks of using this blood for pregnant women or children.
Rather a wide range of medications gets into interaction with Propecia. The outcomes of concomitant use of finasteride with some other medicines differ. Some combinations increase the probability of developing adverse reactions of Propecia. Other medications can reduce finasteride efficacy or vice versa, Propecia can make them work worse. The only way to minimize the risks of any of the mentioned scenarios is to inform your healthcare provider about all the medical products you use, including herbs, and vitamin supplements. Avoid the concomitant intake of Propecia with:
some anticancer medications;
certain immunosuppressive drugs.
Male pattern baldness can occur in men even in their early twenties. Propecia can be applied then, yet this medication is not intended for individuals who haven’t reached at least 18 years of age. This preparation is not for use in women, except for the cases described above.
The main medical reason why you may be not recommended taking finasteride tablets is known hypersensitivity to the preparation. Prostate cancer is another problem that will make the intake of this drug dangerous. One of the obligatory tests a patient should pass before getting a prescription for Propecia is the check-up for prostate cancer.
Due to the very low dose of the medication that is commonly used for male pattern baldness treatment, the incidence of unwanted reactions related to Propecia intake is very low. However, prolonged use of the medication, which is inevitable in this case, can be the reason for some adverse effects:
Low sex drive;
an abnormally small amount of seminal fluid;
swelling of the extremities.
These reactions are a reason to call your doctor for a consultation. Some of the unwanted reactions to Propecia may improve over time when your body gets adjusted to the effects of the medication. Therefore, difficulties with achieving and sustaining an erection, loss of sexual desire, and other symptoms related to male sexual health may be temporary.
Some severe reactions to the drug are also possible. One of the most dangerous is a reaction of hypersensitivity, which can manifest via rash, trouble breathing, and some other symptoms. This condition demands immediate medical help, so call an emergency if you or your close person has the listed signs of the problem.
Among other potentially dangerous reactions to Propecia, there are:
breast enlargement (gynecomastia);
inability to pass the urine;
pain in the testicles;
discharge from the nipples;
thoughts and attempts to suicide;
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