Taken orally or applied topically, finasteride is an active DHT inhibitor used to prevent genetic hair loss in men.
Finasteride is the main ingredient found in the popular hair loss prevention product, Propecia, made by Merck & Co. Before Propecia, however, Merck & Co sold finasteride as a 5 mg oral pill under the brand name Proscar, used to treat enlarged protates. Patients using Proscar experienced a beneficial side effect: the prevention of hair loss.
After additional testing in the 1990s, Merck & Co introduced the FDA-aproved Propecia 1 mg finasteride product. However, Merck & Co still sells Proscar 5 mg as an ”extra strength” hair loss prevention product.
The active ingredient, finasteride, acts as a DHT inhibitor. DHT is a derivative of testosterone, a hormone that is most linked to genetic hair loss. DHT directly impacts the hair follicles, causing them to shrink in size and prevent future hair growth. Eventually, the existing hair in the shrinking follicle falls out, and the impact spreads evenly from the hairline or the top of the head.
Proscar 5 mg is not FDA-approved as a hair loss prevention treatment, but the extra dose of finasteride in Proscar shows great success in hair loss prevention in over 83% of users. Other manufacturers have begun using finasteride in topical hair lotions, though these products are relatively new and do not have much statistical details on effectiveness.
Products containing finasteride products can only be sold with a physician’s prescription.
Benefits of Finasteride
Proscar is an ”extra strength” version of the commonly known Propecia, using 5 mg of finasteride rather than 1 mg. Most users of Proscar, approximately 83%, experience successful prevention of hair loss and some re-growth of hair in thinning areas.
Method of Treatment
Proscar is a prescription drug that must be purchased with a doctor’s prescription. Dosage is typically one pill per day.
As mentioned, finasteride can also be purchased in a topical, prescription lotion from some manufacturers. The hair lotion is applied directly onto the scalp on affected thinning areas.
Costs of Finasteride
A 30 day supply of Proscar 5 mg is about $50 to $60, depending upon health insurance coverage.
As with any DHT inhibitor, some sexual side effects can be experienced, such as decreased libido or impotence. A small percentage of users may experience swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat. If these symptoms are noticed, a doctor should be consulted immediately.