For over 11 years now finasteride, brand name Propecia, has been used as a very effective treatment for hair loss. Overall it works in around two-thirds of men to slow down or stop hair loss in the crown region and around one-third of men to do the same thing in the frontal region. In addition, in a small percentage, there is some thickening of the existing hairs giving the appearance of more hair. I have been prescribing Propecia for 11 years and over the past 6 years, ever since the 5-year studies came out, have done so with significant confidence that it is a safe and effective medication. Side effects are quite small but can include reduction of libido, which is the most common, and occasionally things like breast tenderness or enlargement or testicular discomfort. There also can be a slight reduction in the amount of ejaculate. When patients do experience side effects, I recommend that they reduce the dosage to 1 pill every other day. I especially like finasteride for those patients with crown hair loss, younger patients who are having a hair transplant, any patient who is having a hair transplant who desires thickening of their donor hairs which thus means the recipient areas would look thicker, or any patient who wants to do everything he can to slow down his hair loss. It is only for men.
Posted by Jeffrey S. Epstein, MD, FACS