Women are in a "Catch-22" position when it comes to drug treatments for androgenetic alopecia. While many drugs may work to some degree for some women, doctors are reluctant to prescribe them, and drug companies aren't exactly falling over themselves to test existing or new drugs specifically for their ability to prevent and treat female pattern baldness. Physicians are reluctant to use systemic treatment (a pill or other form of internal treatment that affects your entire system) unless they know that the hair loss is due to an excess of androgen in the system or a sensitized "over-response" to the so-called "normal" amounts of androgen in the system. That's because these systemic treatments may lower the body's androgen levels. Therefore, physicians often choose topical treatments (those that are applied directly to the scalp). The best results from treatment happen when you begin treatment as soon as possible after the hair loss begins because prolonged androgenetic alopecia may destroy many of the hair follicles. The use of anti-androgens after prolonged hair loss will at least help prevent further hair loss and encourage some hair regrowth from those follicles that have been dormant but are still viable, Stopping treatment will result in the hair loss resuming if the androgens aren't kept in check in some other way. Propecia was heralded as a major breakthrough for the 50 million men suffering from male pattern baldness when it hit the market in 1997. But with its popularity has come mounting concerns about its serious side effects, and not only while patients take it, but for months or even years after they stop. As studies link Propecia use to impotence, depression and even suicide, users are suing the drug maker. Unlike its topical predecessor minoxidil (Rogaine), which required two messy applications daily and could take hours to dry, Propecia could be discretely swallowed with the promise of both slowing hair loss and thickening new growth. “It was the first and is still the only -approved pill to treat pattern hair loss,” says dermatologist Shani Francis, MD, director of the Hair Disorders Center for Excellence at University of Chicago. “Men could just pop a pill once a day and it worked. It was a huge deal.”18 years later, the pink octagonal pill remains a popular tool in dermatologists’ arsenal, with balding men (and some women) spending more than a quarter-billion dollars annually on Propecia and millions more on generic varieties of the active ingredient finasteride. In a study just published in Northwestern University researchers concluded that all 34 published clinical trials evaluating finasteride’s safety were inadequate and provided insufficient information about the drug’s sexual side effects. In online support forums such as Propeciahelp.com, men complain of impotence, bent or shrunken penises, reduced or discolored semen and enlarged breasts.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is when a man has trouble getting or keeping an erection. It becomes more common as men get older, though it is not considered a natural part of aging. It is also a side effect that repeatedly appears in finasteride studies, including double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trials, which are the gold standard for medical studies. A total of 472 healthy men aged 45 to 80 received either finasteride or a placebo for two years. It is an oral medication, taken once a day, and available on prescription. It is prescribed to stimulate hair growth in men with male pattern baldness. Propecia’s active ingredient is finasteride, and it was originally developed to treat a condition which causes enlarged prostate glands (benign prostatic hyperplasia). Finasteride works by reducing dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels in the scalp. The hormone DHT contributes to male pattern baldness, and Propecia medication helps to reverse the hair loss process by decreasing the effect of DHT on the hair follicles. It takes around three months to see any results from using Propecia. It is recommended for men over the age of 18 only and must not be taken by women.
More new tricks with old drugs finasteride for hair loss in women. Raymond Li, BScPharm, MSc. The purpose of DPIC's Drug Information Service is to provide. Studies on Propecia Side Effects in Women. A yearlong study from 2000 did not find Propecia was effective for women, but did also not find any negative side effects.