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All about hair loss symptoms of hair loss hair loss remedy causes of hair loss in men treatments for male hair loss female pattern hair loss treatment of female pattern hair loss hair life cycle Minoxidil (Rogaine) for hair loss treatment Propecia (finasteride) for hair loss hair transplant nutritional supplements for hair loss prevention

How Propecia (finasteride) hair loss medication works?

Propecia (finasteride) is prescribed to men for the treatment of male pattern baldness. As Proscar, it is prescribed for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlargement of the prostate gland. Propecia is classed as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, an enzyme which changes testosterone to dihydrotestosterone in the liver. This results in shrinkage of the prostate, and the

reduction of symptoms such as difficult or urgent urination. Hair loss linked to testosterone levels can be prevented, halted, or reversed in many patients.

Finasteride (Propecia®) is a specific type II 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. That is, it inhibits the enzyme responsible for regulating conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). By reducing DHT levels in the scalp, the drug decreases DHT's effects on the hair follicles, reversing the process of hair loss. Finasteride inhibits expression of the enzyme, 5-alpha reductase, which regulates production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). By lowering DHT levels in the scalp, it reduces DHT's harmful effect on hair follicles. Finasteride decreases DHT concentrations in the serum and the scalp by up to 70 and 60%, respectively.

Finasteride was originally developed by Merck as a drug to treat enlarged prostate glands. During the trials on men with prostate problems an intriguing side effect of hair growth was observed. With Finasteride passed as a prostate drug by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), Merck decided to pursue the possibility of developing finasteride as the hair treatment propecia.

As described elsewhere, 5 alpha-reductase is an important enzyme found in and around hair follicles that converts testosterone into the far more potent dihydrotestosterone. Dihydrotestosterone is the single most important hormone that adversely affects scalp hair follicles and leads to androgenetic alopecia. There are at least two types of the 5 alpha-reductase enzyme. Type one (I) is believed to be more active than type two (II) in androgenetic alopecia.

Propecia is a type II 5 alpha reductase inhibitor. With reduced production of type II 5 alpha-reductase there seems to be much less testosterone converted to dihydrotestosterone. With less dihydortestosterone binding to hair follicle androgen receptors so there seems to be reduced hair follicle miniaturization in androgenetic alopecia. Originally many dermatologists questioned whether a type II 5 alpha reductase inhibitor would be truly effective in treating androgenetic alopecia. Type I 5 alpha reductase is generally unaffected by the Propecia drug and is still converting some testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. However, if the clinical trial results are to be believed then dermatologists concerns were unfounded.

Propecia is taken by mouth to increase hair growth and prevent further hair loss in men with male pattern baldness. It may take three to six months of treatment before you notice a decrease in hair loss or increase in hair density. Continued use of this medicine is recommended to obtain the maximum benefit. If you stop taking it you are likely to lose any hair you have gained within 9 to 12 months.

More information on hair loss

What causes hair loss? - One of the primary causes of hair loss is a high amount of the male hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT) within the hair follicle. The most important cause of hair loss is inadequate nutrition.
What are the symptoms of hair loss? - Hair loss can occur as hair thinning, without hairs noticeably falling out, or as hair shedding, with clumps of hair falling out.
What's the hair loss remedy to stop hair loss? - Appropriate treatment options depend upon the type of alopecia. Aggressiveness of the treatment depends on the patient's attitude and must be weighed against potential side effects.
What causes hair loss in men? - Male hair loss is caused by increased sensitivity to male sex hormones (androgens) in certain parts of the scalp, and is passed on from generation to generation.
What treatments are there for hair loss in men? - There are two drugs approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat male-pattern baldness: minoxidil and finasteride (Propecia).
What is female pattern hair loss? - In female pattern hair loss some excess loss of hair is noted, but gradual thinning is what is what usually brings the woman to a dermatologist.
What are the female pattern hair loss treatment therapies? - Currently, the only FDA approved hair loss treatment for women is Rogaine (2% Minoxidil).
What is hair life cycle? - The life cycle of a hair is divided into three phases. The actively growing (Anagen) phase, the transitional (Catagen) phase, and the resting (Telogen) phase.
How Minoxidil (Rogaine) hair loss medication works? - Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a drug available in two forms to treat different conditions. Oral minoxidil is used to treat high blood pressure and the topical solution form is used to treat hair loss and baldness.
How Propecia (finasteride) hair loss medication works? - Propecia (finasteride) is prescribed to men for the treatment of male pattern baldness. Propecia is classed as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, an enzyme which changes testosterone to dihydrotestosterone in the liver.
What is hair transplant? - Hair transplantation refers to the surgical movement of permanent hair with its roots to an area of bald or balding skin.
What nutritional supplements are available for hair loss prevention? - Good nutrition can go a long way in helping you keep your halo of hair. B vitamins in particular are crucial to healthy sebum production and new cell generation.
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Topics in men's health

Atrial septal defect
High blood pressure (hypertension)
Low blood pressure (hypotension)
Diabetes mellitus
Alcoholism & drinking
Cryptorchidism (undescended testicle)
Bladder exstrophy
Hypospadias (birth defect)
Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
Hair Loss (baldness)
Peyronie's disease
Benign prostatic Hyperplasia
Kidney stones
Quit smoking
Ventricular septal defect (VSD)

All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005