Before taking any medications or treatment, we often think about their side effects first. It is completely normal to think on this matter; in fact, we must do complete research before moving to any decision. While opting for any treatment or medication, you should definitely consult with an experienced physician about how to proceed.
Some medications have minor side effects and cause no big damage to the overall health, while some other medications may put you in a complex situation and make your life harder. Instead of treating the problem, some of the medications with side effects can make the problem even worse. Therefore, you must consider the realities of any medicine that what does it offer and what it does not offer.
What is Finasteride?
Finasteride is a commonly used medicine for the treatment of hair loss in men. It is widely known as Propecia and it was approved as an oral medication by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) over 20 years ago. It not only maintains existing hair, but it also helps in regrowing hair in a large percentage. So, it is an effective medication and also a non-surgical treatment that is used to deal with androgenic alopecia.
Initially, it was available in the market for the treatment of prostate enlargement. Later on, the researchers found its effectiveness in the growth of hair as well. This medication is only effective in the case of hair loss in men.
Finasteride was introduced in a topical form called Rogaine. The topical finasteride officially became available in 2012. However, it has taken several years for this medication to gain popularity, but finally, it indeed happened.
Topical finasteride is generally considered for the maintenance of hair density levels after getting initial improvements in hair growth with oral finasteride. It prevents hair loss conditions and in some cases, it can even reverse hair loss.
How does Finasteride work to cure hair loss?
DHT stands for Dihydrotestosterone, which is a naturally occurring derivative of testosterone and it has been linked to hair loss. So, finasteride works by inhibiting the body’s production of DHT, because the reduced DHT levels can be the key to stop hair loss in men. Since DHT levels affect the hairline first; therefore, finasteride works by reducing the total DHT levels. That means it will prevent you from losing hair around your hairline.
It is worthwhile to take the lower daily doses or staggered doses in order to enhance the observance of the treatment. Once you feel comfortable and you notice some good effects, then you can upgrade to the higher doses (as recommended by your physician). In this way, you will get more confident by developing a positive relation to the treatment.
Finasteride Myths & Facts:
There is a problem with the finasteride that it has no single baseline formulation, so consider taking this medication very carefully. People who have been exploring hair loss treatments may hear misinformation or conflicting reports about the use of finasteride drug. We are here to clear up some of the most common Finasteride myths. So, stay tuned with us to have a closer look at the major myths of finasteride, as we are going to separate the fact from the fiction:
Topical Finasteride is without any Side Effect!
You might have thought about the question – Does Finasteride cause side effects?
The answer is yes! It may be linked with some side effects but not in every individual’s case. It has been through systematic testing to verify its safety in several countries. This medical entity has side effects but only for a small percentage of people who are facing hair loss. It has demonstrated a satisfactory safety profile for a vast majority of hair loss sufferers.
DHT plays an important role in male sexual development and it does much more than contributing to hair loss only. Finasteride results in reducing the DHT levels, and the diminished DHT levels can cause unfavorable side effects, which are given below:
- Difficulty in attaining orgasm
- Lower sex drive
- Abnormal ejaculation
It has been stated by multiple websites and clinics that topical finasteride has no side effects. But it is not true actually because there have many people who noticed side effects with various degrees of severity. The medicine absorbed by the skin can go systematic or not. That means by getting into your bloodstream, it may or may not produce side effects. The side effects from the topical application of finasteride are less than the oral ingestion and it is due to the way the body absorbs the drug.
However, these side effects appear in a small minority of men, i.e. one out of every hundred men is affected by these side effects. It happens mostly due to the oral intake of finasteride and the problems occurred with sexual functioning are almost temporary. These issues will return back to normal once the patient discontinues the drug.
Topical Finasteride is FDA Approved
The oral finasteride is now used by millions of men worldwide as it is one of the few proven medications for the treatment of hair loss available in the market. As we have mentioned earlier that oral finasteride was got approved by the FDA almost two decades earlier but is it the same case with finasteride in the topical form?
No, it is not the same thing because the FDA has yet to approve this medication in the topical form. It is because of the unavailability of data because there are not any specific concerns about the safety of this drug.
The medical experts have been studying the effectiveness of finasteride as a topical solution and it is expected to get the approval by 2020. The recent studies have shown that topical finasteride has better tolerance and it offers equivalent results as that of oral finasteride. Though it is not approved by the FDA yet, still it is available in the U.S. to treat hair loss as an off-label prescription.
Finasteride can cause more hair loss!
It is an important myth to have a glance at. After using finasteride, some of the hair loss patients have complained that the medication is doing more harm than good. They reported the increase in shedding/losing of their hair after they have started using this drug. But the reality is in favor of this medicine. The mild shedding of hair strands is normal; in fact, it is necessary for the new hair to grow in a healthy manner.
Initially, your hair may start falling out after the intake of finasteride and you’ll feel like you have wasted your money on this drug. But, have some patience, my friend!
It is not a concern to worry about; what is happening is not hair loss, it is hair shedding. So, do not think that your medication is wrong or you are suffering from side effects or you will go bald.
This drug results in ending up the current hair growth cycle and starting a new one. The hair follicles that lay in the category of mid-cycle will fall out or shed away and it will get replaced by a new hair that will be stronger than the previous one. So, we can conclude that finasteride causes hair shedding, but it is normal because the lost hair will be replaced by a stronger and healthier one.
Finasteride & Cancer – What is the link between these two?
It has been discovered by the researchers in the studies that the patients with long-term use of finasteride are less likely to develop prostate cancer and it can actually diminish the frequency of this disease. The studies have also found that there is an increased probability of an early diagnosis of high-grade malignant disease. The early diagnosis is possible due to the increased biopsy sensitivity imparted by the action of this drug.
Topical Finasteride is not available everywhere!
Another myth is that only a few doctors or clinics offer finasteride in topical form, but it is not true. Since it has equivalent benefits as that of oral finasteride and it also has no major or permanent side effects; it is available almost everywhere. However, it is not available at some of the parts in the country, but most of the clinics and doctors offer this hair loss treatment to the patients. Even you don’t need to have a prescription from any doctor or physician to get finasteride. It is wide open and you can buy this medicine at any pharmacy in any state of the country.
The above-mentioned are the most common myths and facts about topical finasteride; there are many more. So, it totally depends on you that how much information you have and what you need to consider or what not while going for any option as hair loss treatment.
We suggest you discuss with your hair loss specialist before commencing with any medication. You must check and analyze whether DHT blockers and other pharmaceutical options offer a feasible and efficient solution to address your hair loss concerns.