Sunday, July 15, 2012

Is Propecia a viable option for women?



I just posted a comment on an article that was a fairly good overview on women's hair loss in this article on examiner.com. The article noted that Propecia (finesteride) has no side effects when taken by women. I took exception to that and noted that women of childbearing age should not take the oral drug, which is highly effective for men, but which can harm fetal development.

While the experts I interviewed for Breaking the Silence on Women's Hair Loss note the drug may be effective for some "appropriately screened women," namely postmenopausal women, there have not been studies showing conclusive evidence of its efficacy.

Medicine net notes:"Finasteride should not be used in children.The drug can be absorbed through the skin. If the film coating of the tablet has been broken or the tablet crushed, it should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Exposing a developing male infant to finasteride can result in abnormalities of the genitals.This medication should not be used in women."

Propecia may not even be great for men. While it has been shown to regrow hair, it is coming with long-lasting sexual side effects for some men, according to this Time magazine article. Propecia Problems: Baldness Drug Linked with Long-Lasting Sexual Side Effects .

So if you are a postmenopausal women with female pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) and you and your physician decide to try finesteride, do so with caution. Know all the side effects and also the drug interactions. The Medicine Net link can help with this. If you are of childbearing age, please discuss with your physician and do not order on line and self-medicate. This goes for all men and women. 

There are plenty of people out there willing to take your money for their "hair loss cures," but we know that if these "cures" worked across the board  no one would have thinning hair or be bald. 

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