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Hair Loss Treatments

Does Propecia Have Side Effects?

Anyone who is suffering from androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss) has heard about Propecia (finasteride). In fact, it is the most popular treatment for genetic hair loss and is the most prescribed medication for treating hair loss. Unfortunately, there have been thousands of men claiming to suffer from persistent side effects even after discontinuing the medication. In this article, we will discuss Propecia (finasteride) and it's potential side effects.

Many popular hair loss supplements claim to be as effective as Propecia (finasteride), it appears to be the benchmark that many treatments aim to reach. The side effects associated with Propecia (finasteride) are contreversial and heavily debated on the internet. Some users report no side effects or any adverse reactions from taking the drug for years. While others report severe reactions and persistent side effects even after stopping the drug for years.

How Did Propecia (finasteride) Start

A pharmaceutical company by the name of Merck manufactured a drug called Proscar, this medication was created to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). Proscar is a 5 mg tablet of finasteride the active ingredient in Propecia. Many users of Proscar began to notice their hair loss reversing and in some cases even regrowing. As a result, Merck the pharmaceutical company submitted clinical trials to the FDA to approve the medication for hereditary hair loss. In 1997 the FDA approved 1 mg tablets of finasteride that would be sold under the name Propecia.

How Safe and Effective is Finasteride

Since the late 90's there have been dozens of clinical trials proving the efficacy of finasteride. On average 83% of users stop their hair loss completely while it has been reported that up to 66% of patients experience hair regrowth. Finasteride is without a doubt the most effective hair loss treatment on the market today, most would not even argue this point. The biggest concern that most have are the reported side effects. With medications like Viagra and Cialis becoming more and more popular and accessible, it is no surprise that men are worried about their sexual function in this day and age.

In the beginning, many believed that finasteride could potentially reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer found in men. Several clinical studies showed that cancer cells are dependent on certain androgens to grow and reproduce. The studies showed great promise, but not everything was positive. The studies showed that there was an increased risk for some to develop high-risk cancer. For this reason, the FDA did not approve finasteride as a treatment for prostate cancer.

Unfortunately, finasteride has been linked with thousands of men reporting persistent side effects from finasteride. The side effects include loss of libido, erectile dysfunction and other psychological adverse reactions. In 2011 the FDA ordered Merck the makers of Propecia (finasteride) to include erectile dysfunction as a side effect that could continue after discontinuing the drug.


Thousands and perhaps millions of men use finasteride every day with little to no side effects, but that does not take away from the thousands of men who suffer from persistent side effects. The truth is, the medication is effective for treating male pattern baldness. However, there is a risk for devloping undesirable side effects. Those individuals with high-risk prostate cancer in their family should consult with their doctor prior to using the medication.