During the free consultation for hair restoration, I often get asked about Propecia, aka Finasteride. There is a lot of information and misinformation about the drug on the Internet. For full disclosure, I have taken Propecia for 12 years and I do not own any stock in the drug or with its manufacturer.
Propecia is a type II 5α-reductase inhibitor. 5α-reductase is an enzyme in our body that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is the “nasty” hormone that causes us to lose our hair. DHT is also a form of testosterone and thus many men are often concerned that it will affect their sexual performance.
In clinical trials, about 6% of users reported side effects from taking the drugs. Some did report sexual dysfunction, and there have been some reports of sexual dysfunction from Sweden and England. However, these reports failed to link the cause of the dysfunction directly to the drug. In addition, some of the studies looked at patients on the prostate dose (5mg) as well as the hair loss dose (1mg).
Usually I prefer to cite science and statistics to support my statements (which do back up my claims in this case) but in this event, I will also rely on my personal experience. I have never experienced a side effect from taking this drug. I have two healthy children and another on the way. I believe that Propecia halted my hair loss early on, so that I have not lost much from the crown. In my own Neograft hair transplant procedure, that allowed me to have the transplanted hairs utilized where I needed them most, in the front and top.
Propecia is not the answer for everyone. It is expensive, needs to be taken daily, is a prescription drug and the effects will be lost if you stop taking it. But for me personally, I feel that the positives outweigh the negatives. The side effect risk is quite low and the drug works for 90% of men who take it for hair loss.
I didn’t write this blog so that all of you will run out a buy Propecia. My intent is to inform you that Propecia can work, but that it may have some side effects. Taking medication such as Propecia is the type of issue that is discussed at your free hair transplant consultation with your plastic surgeon.
About the Author – Dr. Adam Saad, MD, FACS
Dr. Adam Saad is double board certified in general surgery and plastic surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS) and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
A New Jersey native, Dr. Saad received his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University. He graduated from Rutgers with honors and was a member of the Golden Key national honor society. He attended medical school at Drexel University where he became involved in multiple research projects and in improving surgical education.