What is Finasteride?
Finasteride is a medication primarily used to treat male pattern hair loss (androgenic alopecia) and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. It is available in oral tablet form.
Finasteride belongs to a class of medications called 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. It works by inhibiting the activity of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). By reducing DHT levels, Finasteride helps to slow down hair loss and promote hair regrowth in individuals with male pattern baldness. It also helps in reducing the size of the prostate gland in BPH, improving urinary flow and symptoms associated with BPH.
It’s important to note that Finasteride is only effective for hair loss on the scalp and is not suitable for other forms of hair loss or hair thinning. The treatment may take several months before noticeable results are seen, and the effects may reverse if the medication is discontinued.
Finasteride is generally well-tolerated, but it may cause side effects in some individuals. Common side effects may include decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, decreased ejaculate volume, and breast enlargement or tenderness. It is important to discuss potential side effects with a healthcare professional before starting Finasteride.
As with any medication, it’s crucial to follow the prescribed dosage and instructions provided by a healthcare professional. It’s also important to disclose any pre-existing medical conditions, medications, or allergies to the healthcare professional before starting treatment with Finasteride.
How Does Finasteride Work On The Body?
Finasteride works on the body by inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which is responsible for converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Here’s a detailed explanation of how Finasteride functions:
1. Inhibition of 5-alpha-reductase: Finasteride specifically targets and inhibits the type II 5-alpha-reductase enzyme. This enzyme is primarily found in the scalp, prostate gland, and other tissues where DHT plays a significant role. By inhibiting 5-alpha-reductase, Finasteride reduces the conversion of testosterone into DHT.
2. Hair Loss (Androgenic Alopecia): In individuals with male pattern hair loss (androgenic alopecia), DHT is believed to play a key role. DHT can bind to androgen receptors in hair follicles, causing them to shrink and become less capable of producing healthy hair. By reducing DHT levels in the scalp, Finasteride helps to slow down the progression of hair loss, maintain existing hair, and promote the regrowth of miniaturized hair follicles.
3. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH): In BPH, the prostate gland undergoes non-cancerous enlargement, which can lead to urinary symptoms such as frequent urination, weak urine flow, and difficulty in emptying the bladder completely. DHT is involved in the growth and development of the prostate gland. By inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to DHT, Finasteride helps to reduce the size of the prostate gland, relieving urinary symptoms associated with BPH.
It’s important to note that the effects of Finasteride may take several months to become noticeable, and continuous use is usually required to maintain the benefits. If Finasteride is discontinued, the levels of DHT in the body may return to baseline, and the symptoms of hair loss or prostate enlargement may resume.
While Finasteride is generally well-tolerated, it may cause side effects in some individuals. Common side effects can include decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, decreased ejaculate volume, and breast tenderness. It’s important to discuss potential side effects and any concerns with a healthcare professional before starting Finasteride.