Propecia® in Washington, DC
If you have permanent hair loss due to male pattern baldness, you may be a good candidate for Propecia®, a prescription medication that helps men regrow hair. Younger Image Hair Transplant Clinic, located in Vienna, prescribes Propecia® to men in and around Washington, DC, and Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Propecia® is a brand name prescription drug used to treat male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia). Propecia® and its generic form, Finasteride, is the only FDA-approved oral medication proven to stimulate hair growth.
Propecia® was originally developed to decrease the size of enlarged prostate glands. During the trial period, researchers discovered that patients experienced hair growth as a side effect. The medication has since been approved by the FDA for men to use as a hair growth product.
The Root of Male Pattern Baldness
Propecia® is used to treat androgenic alopecia, known as male pattern hair loss, that causes a receding hairline and balding or thinning on the crown. The most common cause of hair loss among men is male pattern baldness. The condition is genetic, stemming from either the maternal or paternal side of the family, and progresses over time. Men as young as late teens can experience male pattern baldness.
When a man is genetically predisposed to male pattern baldness, he is inheriting a genetic sensitivity to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) that affects the hair follicles. When hair follicles are sensitive to DHT, the lifespan of each affected hair follicle is shorter than it otherwise would be. DHT also shortens the follicle’s anagen growth phase. Over time, the hair follicles produce thinner hair or stop producing hair altogether.
How Finasteride Works in The Body
Male pattern hair loss occurs in men because the enzyme 5-alpha reductase converts testosterone to DHT. Finasteride prevents the testosterone from converting to DHT in the body by blocking the enzyme and any miniaturization that could occur in the follicles. Finasteride is available in both 1-mg and 5-mg tablets. Taking 1-mg per day can decrease serum DHT levels by approximately 70 percent. DHT decreases in both the scalp and patient blood levels.
Clinical Studies of Finasteride
Reducing DHT levels is currently the only medically proven method to stop or slow down the hair loss process. Finasteride is often recommended as the first-line treatment for men with male pattern baldness.
During clinical trials, Finasteride stopped the progression of hair loss in 86 percent of men who took the drug. A substantial increase in hair growth was experienced by 64 percent of trial participants.
Since the initial trials, controlled studies have demonstrated that five years after treatment, 90 percent of men grew new hair or stopped losing hair. When the numbers are broken down, 48 percent of the men showed hair growth increases and 42 percent did not have any new hair loss.
According to patient questionnaires completed at the end of the five years, men treated with Finasteride were significantly more satisfied with their appearances after using the medication. Sixty-three percent reported greater overall satisfaction with their hair. Fifty-nine percent reported that they were more satisfied with the hair on top of their heads, and 48 percent were more satisfied with their frontal hairlines. Overall, patients reported smaller bald spots, improved appearances, and more hair growth.
Can Finasteride Help Preserve the Frontal Scalp?
Some claim that Finasteride is only effective at preserving the hair on the crown of the scalp. These claims are not founded. As long as some hair exists on the frontal scalp area, Finasteride may be effective. Finasteride prevents DHT from miniaturizing the hair follicles overall. The medication does not select which hair follicles are conducive to growth and which are not.
How Soon Can I See Results?
Finasteride 1-mg or 5-mg tablets should be taken once per day as directed by your doctor. Before starting the medication, keep in mind that it takes at least a year or more to see full results from Finasteride. If Finasteride successfully stalls or stops your hair loss, maintaining the results will require a lifetime commitment.
Some patients are upset when they see hair loss or thinning during the first six months using Finasteride. There are two reasons why hair may shed during this period. Some patients may experience a progression of hair loss that started before the Finasteride regimen began. Others may shed miniaturized hair that is making way for healthy new anagen hair. Regardless of the reason why your hair continues to fall out, continuing the medication for at least one year is crucial. Your doctor can only accurately assess the medication’s success after this period.
What Are the Long-Term Benefits?
Finasteride is effective in helping men halt the progression of hair loss and regrow their hair. The medication is effective for:
- Growing hair in areas of the scalp that are thinning and currently, have some hair present.
- Slowing down or stopping hair loss.
- Long-term use. After five years on Finasteride, male hair loss and growth rates remain stable.
If you are thinking about starting a Finasteride regime, it is important to remember that the benefits will stop if you discontinue using the medicine. Within two to six months after Finasteride is discontinued, the hair loss pattern typically returns to its previous state as if the medication were never taken in the first place.
Should I Use Finasteride If I Am Considering Hair Transplantation?
Finasteride is not required for a successful hair transplant or for the grafted hair to grow and become permanent. However, Finasteride is often recommended as a preventative or complementary treatment with hair transplant surgery for many reasons including:
- Young patients who are not yet candidates for hair transplant surgery often take Finasteride. The medication helps stabilize their hair loss in the short term. Many patients who use Finasteride in their 20s and 30s consider hair transplant surgery when they are older.
- Finasteride can help fill in thinning or patchy hair before hair transplant surgery occurs. In many cases, hair transplant surgery can be avoided, or the surgery is not as extensive due to the medicine.
- Finasteride is often used after hair restoration surgery to prevent future hair loss that could make the grafts stand out or look unnatural.
If you’re tired of struggling with hair loss, please contact the Younger Image Hair Transplant Clinic today. Located in Vienna, Dr. Yousefi offers Propecia® treatment for men and women who live in and around Washington, DC, and Gaithersburg, Maryland.