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Propecia is a drug that is used to treat male baldness. It is produced by Merck, and the main ingredient in this drug is Finasteride. Merck also holds the patent for Propecia since 1997. Unlike others, this was the only medicine on baldness that was in the form of an oral pill. Other trade names of the drug are Proscar. The drug is specifically meant for adult males to cure baldness; hence it cannot be prescribed to kids or women. Propecia is a dermatological prescription drug and therefore cannot be taken without a doctor’s prescription.
As stated above, Propecia is a drug that focuses specifically on pattern baldness in men. It specifically targets areas of the head where hair loss is more prominent, or where hair loss is initiated first. These areas are the anterior mid-scalp and the vertex. Propecis specifically works on these by preventing the conversion of testosterone (the male hormone) into DHT or dihydrotestosterone. Thus, unlike local application creams and oils. Propecia has an internal mechanism of action. Baldness in men, specifically pattern baldness involves thinning of the hair which starts in a specific area of the scalp and then spreads to the remaining scalp. It is often linked to internal processes such as a hormonal imbalance and this drug targets the hormones. In that sense Propecia is quite beneficial. Baldness can be a source of much distress, anxiety and result in poor self-esteem in men. Using an effective means, Propecia works in a way that is highly sustainable and effective. The medicine has the ingredient finasteride in it. This ingredient blocks 5-alpha reductase, which is an enzyme that forms DHT in men. DHT, as mentioned earlier is the main reason behind baldness in men. Propecia is in fact known to reduce the DHT proportion by almost two-thirds.
Propecia is available in a packet of 30 tablets and each tablet weighs approximately 1mg. These are meant for oral consumption and have a fixed dose. The small round pill needs to be taken daily. Usually it is recommended that the medicine be taken with a glass of water. The consumption of Propecia is not linked to food hence it can be taken irrespective of the meal times. However it is always better to take a medicine at a similar time daily. Propecia pill need to be taken for a minimum of three months to be truly effective. In fact if the dose is stopped suddenly the hair gained could also be lost.
Propecia works in a hormonal action therefore the dosage is quite important. Skipping a dose too often can reduce the efficacy of any medicine, including Propecia. Therefore patients should have a schedule for taking the medication. This helps to develop a routine and reduces the likelihood of a missed dose. However patients can forget their medicines when there is a break in routine such as travelling due to holiday or work related stress. At such times, when a dose is missed it is best to simply take the missed dose, whenever remembered, without doubling the dose.
All prescription drugs need to be consumed only in the prescribed quantity or else there is a risk of side effects. In case of an overdose, seeking medical advice is crucial, although Propecia is not known to cause any major health problems if consumed too much.
Propecia is specifically meant for men as it targets pattern baldness in males. This needs to be strictly followed as the drug can have an adverse effect on women or children. Pregnant women must be particularly careful when handling Propecia as the crushed pill or opened packet can also cause harm. Propecia is likely to affect the unborn fetus unfavorably hence this care must be taken. When taking Propecia, consistency is highly important, as the drug starts to show results after a minimum of three months. If however, the drug produces negligible results after one year of taking the pill regularly then it means that the baldness might not be curable. Alternatively some other therapy might be tried, but Propecia being one of the most effective cures, if that doesn’t work then any other medicine can be of much help in preventing baldness. Moreover, after stopping the pills within 12 months it is likely that the patient might lose all the hair that had grown as a result of the medicine. Special care also needs to be taken in storing the drug. It should not be exposed to any severe heat, moisture or sunlight. The pills must be kept secure and opened only at the time of consumption.
Just as every drug has certain expected or desirable results, it also has some unwanted results, or what is known as side effects. Normally these are temporary in nature and a response of the patient’s body to the new drug. The side effects are likely to vanish gradually or if mild and persistent they can be managed with some home remedy or a lifestyle change. In case of Propecia there are some minor side effects such as :
Most of these symptoms are mild in nature and likely to last for short time. The side effects related to sexuality are rare and have occurred only in 2% of the population when clinical studies of Propecia were conducted. However there are some indications of a allergic reaction to Propecia such as breathlessness, rapid swelling in mouth and throat. If the breast changes are persistent and are also accompanied by lumps or a discharge from the nipples then it could be a sign male breast cancer, which requires emergency medical attention.
Propecia can interact with other prescription or over the counter medications. Hence the patient must provide his medical history particularly any drug allergies or liver disease occurrence to the prescribing doctor.