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Finasteride (Propecia)

Originally developed to shrink an enlarged prostate and sold as Proscar, finasteride in lovver doses has now been approved to treat baldness in men. This lovv dose version is marketed as Propecia. Proscar and Propecia are manufactured by Merck. Studies in men indicate that it may grovv back more hair than minoxidil does.


Technically, finastericle is a 5 alpha reductase inhibitor. It vvorks by decreasing the production of one of the enzymes (5 alphareductase 2) required to convert testosterone into DHT, the hormone that triggers hair loss.

Merck has completed a clinical study of finasteride in postmenopausal women. In the study, forty four vvomen took finasteride, and fifty vvere given a placebo. After tvvelve months of treatment, the women using finasteride did not grovv any hair.

The researchers and the manufacturer have concluded that finasteride is not effective in treating female androgenetic alopecia.


The Physicians’ Desk Ref erence wams that finasteride should be used to treat male pattem baldness only. Because of the ability of 5 alpha reductase inhibitors to interfere vvith the conversion of testosterone to DHT, finasteride may cause abnormalities of the extemal genitalia of a male fetus of a pregnant vvoman.

Thus, finasteride is not suggested for vvomen of childbearing age due to its effect on hormone balances and possible birth defects. In fact, if you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, do not even touch a crushed finasteride tablet. Nor should you have intercourse vvith a man vvho is taking the drug unless he vvears a condom. Finasteride can be transmitted to your body through semen.

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