About Finasteride (Propecia®)
Do We Know How Finasteride Works?
We know exactly how: by lowering levels of DHT, the culprit. It blocks an enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Once you are out of puberty, the only thing DHT does is fuel AGA and cause the prostate gland to enlarge. This is why lowering DHT doesn’t cause the body to work any differently, or men to take on any female physical traits.
Why Do I Have to Take It Every Day?
If you stop, the blockage of the enzyme is lost, DHT levels rise and hair loss resumes. Remember that the genes haven’t gone away.
I Tried It Once but It Didn’t Work.
Many patients who initially tried Propecia® when it came on the market in 1998 were disappointed. The problem was starting the pills expecting immediate re-growth. You took it for 3 or 4 months and nothing happened. Then the prescription ran out, and you were busy so you didn’t get it refilled. The average length of time that men take Propecia® in North America is only 6-8 months. Yet, it takes longer than this to see all the benefits. See a specialist who can explain to you at the start what to expect from the medication.
What Should I Expect From Medical Treatment?
You should expect to stop losing hair. This will happen in 90% or more of men. Give treatment a one-year chance to prove itself. More than half of men will also experience re-growth with Finasteride but look at this as a bonus from the second year on treatment. In Dr. Elliott’s experience, there are very few men who don’t see the benefit after the first year.
How Fast Does It Work?
Stopping the loss is like slowing down a train; it takes time. Finasteride acts to slow down and stop the loss over the first 3-6 months. Full benefit, including any re-growth, will be seen between 12 and 24 months. Serial examinations and photographs are helpful to track progress.