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How does Finasteride work?
If you have Male Pattern Baldness (MPB), it means your hair follicles are sensitive to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is produced by the hormone testosterone and the enzyme 5-alpha reductase (5AR). When 5AR converts testosterone into DHT, this miniaturises the hair follicle – weakening, and eventually stopping, hair growth. Finasteride blocks the activity of 5AR, so it can’t convert testosterone into DHT. Your hair follicles recover, resulting in thicker, stronger, healthier hair.
In a nutshell, Finasteride acts as a blocker for further hair loss – and in some cases, even reverses it.
Does it really reverse hair loss?
The results of three 5-year Finasteride studies showed 90% of men halted their hair loss, and 77% experienced increased hair growth during treatment. So, yes, Finasteride does really reverse hair loss. It is an FDA-approved treatment for MPB, and it is used by thousands of men in the UK.
How long does it take to see results?
It typically takes 3-6 months before you see any changes, and at least 12 months before you notice significant hair thickening and regrowth. Some men see results quicker, but it depends on the individual. Finasteride works with the natural cycle of shedding and growth, but if you stay committed and take your daily dose – you’re likely to see noticeably better hair within a year. It’s key to have persistence and patience.
Finasteride Before & After examples
Before taking Finasteride, the 5-alpha reductase (5AR) is converting testosterone to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is weakening your hair follicles and preventing healthy hair growth. After taking Finasteride, this enzyme will be inhibited – and this reduces the production of DHT. When taking Finasteride for a sustained period of time, your hair follicles can recover and you will be able to grow fuller hair again – with optimal effects usually seen after a year. You can learn more about the before and after effects of Finasteride in our customer success stories.
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When should I start taking Finasteride?
Put simply, the earlier the better. Finasteride has been shown to halt – and even reverse – hair loss, but it’ll have more work to do if you’ve lost a significant amount of hair already. Finasteride won’t be effective for men who are totally bald, so if you catch it early you can keep your hair for longer.
What is Propecia? Is it different?
Finasteride is the active ingredient within Propecia. Propecia is exactly the same as Finasteride – it is the most widely-known brand of Finasteride tablet, owned and initially developed by the pharmaceutical company, Merck & Co. Manual offers a generic Finasteride tablet at a lower cost to you, due to skipping the extra you’d pay for the big brand name.
How to take Finasteride??
It’s simple and easy – just one Finasteride tablet per day. This is a 1mg Finasteride dose, not the 5mg dose that some men take for prostate issues. You can take a Finasteride tablet with or without food, but ideally at the same time every day to maintain your routine. Currently, there is no topical version of Finasteride approved for use, only Minoxidil (Regaine), but this may change in the near future.
The approved and licensed dose of Finasteride is 1mg per day for men who are combating Male Pattern Baldness.
Who should not take Finasteride?
Women should never take Finasteride, even if they are experiencing hair loss. Pregnant women or women who are planning pregnancy should not handle Finasteride tablets. Men who take Finasteride do have traces of it in their semen, and whilst this is unlikely to pose risk to an unborn baby, we advise that you don’t take the medication if planning pregnancy – and men should use a condom when having sexual intercourse with a woman who doesn’t use regular contraception.
Children (under the age of 18) should never take Finasteride.
You should not take Finasteride if you are taking 5mg of Finasteride already or if you take any other 5ɑ reductase inhibitor medications (such as Dutasteride). If you are or have suffered from male breast cancer or prostate cancer you should not take Finasteride.
Finasteride can lower a hormone called PSA measured in a blood test for prostate problems. Please tell your GP that you are taking this medication if you have this blood test, so that they can interpret your test results correctly.
You should not take Finasteride if you are allergic to Finasteride or any other component in the medication. And men who have Galactose intolerance, lapp lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption should also not take Finasteride.
Finally, men with total baldness shouldn’t take Finasteride, as it has not been shown to be effective in men who have experienced complete hair loss. This is due to the fact that there are no active hair follicles left to allow for hair stabilisation and regrowth.
What are the side effects of Finasteride?
In clinical trials, 98.6% of men experienced no serious side effects from Finasteride. It is a very safe treatment for MPB, and it has been FDA-approved and extensively tested.
In the rare event that side effects do occur, they tend to be mild. Possible side effects include dizziness, weakness, swelling in the hands or chest. There are also sexual side effects that have received much media attention: erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, and abnormal ejaculations. However, the evidence suggests this is incredibly rare and usually reversible.
It’s important to remember that these sexual side effects are most associated with the higher 5mg dose, usually taken by men who are treating an enlarged prostate. There is no statistically significant connection between Finasteride dosages for MPB and sexual side effects.
If you are concerned about the potential side effects, get in touch with a Manual clinician. If you think you are experiencing serious Finasteride side effects right now, contact your GP.
What if I stop taking it?
If you stop taking Finasteride, DHT production will continue and you will start to lose your hair again. It’s important to note that while Finasteride is a highly-effective treatment, it is not a cure for Male Pattern Baldness. You can combine Finasteride with Minoxidil for the best long-term results, but you’ll need to continue treatment to maintain healthy locks. The advantage is that it can become a quick-and-easy part of your daily routine, so you won’t need to work too hard to see the results.
Why wouldn’t I go to a hair clinic instead?
Naturally, the choice is yours. Manual is an accredited online pharmacy, and Finasteride is an FDA-approved treatment for Male Pattern Baldness. So, you can be safe in the knowledge that everything is above board. We’re clinical professionals, experienced in tackling men’s hair loss. And with Manual, you get free unlimited access to experts, medical tracking, and continued support.
Some men will go to a hair clinic for a hair transplant. The surgical route is a legitimate one, and many men are happy with the results. However, Finasteride provides an easy at-home way to reverse hair loss without an expensive operation. It’s important to note that men with hair transplants still have follicles that are susceptible to DHT, so Finasteride (and Minoxidil) are recommended to prevent further hair loss after the operation. So, if you go this route – you will still need extra treatments.