Finasteride is an inhibitor of DHT (Dihydrotestosterone), an active derivative of testosterone; this has been shown to slow down the loss of hair up to 90%.
La androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness It is a very common problem that affects almost half of men after 50 years. It is a condition that behaves chronically, that is, it progresses over time.
There are many treatments available to treat problems of baldness. Some have medical and scientific support. While some others are only home remedies that are of no use in treating the problem.
From a clinical point of view, alopecia is characterized by a progressive thinning of the hair (follicular miniaturization) and a loss of capillary density (decrease in the number of hairs on the head).
Baldness is known to occur from an interaction between the genetics of individuals and the environment to which they are exposed. When hundreds of environmental events are combined with genetic predisposition, the problem manifests itself.
It has long been seen that there is a correlation between the sensitivity of follicles to male hormones, such as testosterone and baldness. For example, men castrated at an early age do not develop baldness problems.
Another important finding is that men with baldness problems have more dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the more active form of testosterone, in bald spots than normal people.
Enzyme 5-alpha-reductase It is a protein that is responsible for converting testosterone into its most active form, DHT.
Due to the correlation between the amount of DHT and baldness, it was thought that medications that reduce the concentration of testosterone in the body could be useful in treating male pattern baldness.
Finasteride and its derivatives are the main example of this class of drugs.
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What is finasteride?
It is an inhibitor of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. It was approved by the FDA for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in 1997. Along with the minoxidilFinasteride was the second treatment approved by the US FDA for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia.
How does finasteride work?
This medication blocks the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which slows down the synthesis of the active form of testosterone, DHT, in the scalp. Therefore, the miniaturization of follicles induced by testosterone is prevented and the progression of the alopecia problem is slowed.
Finasteride also thickens the hair and increases its growth rate. That is why some patients perceive a higher capillary density.
How long does it take to see the effect of the treatment and how long should it be used?
The effect begins to be noticed approximately 3 months after treatment begins. It takes about a year for the best treatment result to be seen. So that the effect is maintained the treatment It should be used indefinitely, since if the treatment is stopped, the process of hair loss continues.
Does finasteride produce any adverse effects with prolonged use?
Because finasteride inhibits the synthesis of male hormones, some undesirable effects may occur when using it.
The most common adverse effect is loss of libido (1.9%) followed by erectile dysfunction (1.4%). Once the treatment is stopped, the adverse effects disappear. Some patients present the adverse effects by suggestion and not so much due to the use of the drug. This has been shown because in some cases the effects disappear even if the treatment is continued. It is always advisable that finasteride is used under medical supervision.
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Is it useful to treat baldness in women?
Treatment with finasteride is not recommended in women, due to its potential to cause fetal malformations. In addition to that the clinical studies carried out have not shown that it has a significant effect on baldness in women.
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