We want to make sure you fully understand your treatment. Below outlines the directions, benefits and risks with finasteride 1mg treatment.
Clinical trials of finasteride showed a significant increase in hair growth in men treated with finasteride compared with placebo in as early as 3 months. After five years of treatment, 90% of men taking finasteride maintained or increased hair growth. Only 25% of the men taking a placebo maintained or increased hair growth. You can view the entire package insert, including the results of the clinical trials, here.
The benefits of Propecia are only seen in areas of the scalp that are thinning, but where hair is still present.
Most patients begin seeing results within six months. Hair growth can continue for the first one to two years. After the first two years, finasteride will unlikely increase hair growth in new areas.
Note: During the first six months you may notice some thinning of your existing hair. This may be due to either progression of your hair loss before finasteride has had a chance to work -or- shedding of miniaturized hair that makes way for healthy new hair.
The benefits of Propecia will disappear if you stop taking the medication. Over two to six months after discontinuing treatment, your hair will revert back to the state it would have reached had the medication never been used.
In the first year, decreased libido was seen in 1.8% of men taking Propecia versus 1.3% of men taking a placebo. Erectile dysfunction was seen in 1.3% of men taking Propecia versus 0.7% of men taking a placebo.
Most reported cases of sexual dysfunction occurred within the first year of starting the medication, but there have been reports of sexual dysfunction that occurred at later points in time. Side effects generally disappeared within a few weeks of stopping the medication. There have been reports of sexual side effects persisting after discontinuation of therapy.
There have been reports of depression and anxiety occurring after starting finasteride, even at the low dose used for androgenetic alopecia.
A blood test that checks for PSA (prostate specific antigen) levels is used for prostate cancer screening. You should always inform your doctor that you are taking finasteride, as this will change how PSA test results are interpreted. Screening using PSA levels is still effective in men taking finasteride.
You should talk to your doctor whether you are a candidate for prostate cancer screening. You may be a candidate for prostate cancer screening if you are over 50, or if you have a sibling or father who has had prostate cancer. You should also see your doctor if you are having any problems urinating, such as poor stream or pain.
There were initial concerns that finasteride 5mg/day (“high dose”) increased the risk of high-grade prostate cancer. It has since been concluded that finasteride does not cause high-grade prostate cancer to form.
Finasteride is safe to use while trying to conceive. While finasteride does not affect sperm production in healthy men, there are reports of men on finasteride with low sperm quality that improved after stopping finasteride. If you have had problems with male infertility and wish to conceive, you should consider deferring treatment with finasteride.
Propecia should not be handled by pregnant women due to risks of birth defects. If your partner becomes pregnant, it is still safe for you to take finasteride.
An association between suicidality and psychological adverse events with finasteride use has been reported. You should not start finasteride if you have uncontrolled depression and/or anxiety or if you have ever had suicidal thoughts.
While taking finasteride, you should not donate blood.
Other possible side effects include: hypersensitivity reactions including rash, itchiness, hives, swelling of the lips and face, and testicular pain.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, abnormally low blood pressure, trouble breathing.
Stop taking your medication immediately and seek emergency help if you experience any of these effects of an allergic reaction.