"So, I looked up Finasteride on Google and I get all sorts of results and I don’t know what to believe..."
There is a lot of conflicting information online about Finasteride and it can be confusing for patients to know what to believe in.
Finasteride is a drug that has been used to treat male pattern baldness for over 20 years. It works by blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT, which causes miniaturisation of hair follicles and ultimately leads them to become diminished in patients with male pattern baldness. Finasteride is the most effective medication at slowing/stopping male pattern hair loss and is effective in up to 90% of men who take it.
The key message is that Finasteride has been around for over 20 years and we have many significant publications from medical journals, that capture data from thousands of patients and testify to Finasteride’s efficacy and safety. There are millions of people that take Finasteride worldwide, over 1 million of which are estimated to be taking it for hair loss in the United States alone.
Like any medication, Finasteride can cause side effects. However, cases of this are rare. The most common side effects reported with Finasteride are reduced libido and reduced quantity of ejaculate (semen) which happen in less than 5% of people who take it.
There have also been some reports of erectile dysfunction in patients, however a trial reported in the British Medical Journal in 2016 showed Finasteride does not significantly increase the risk of incidents erectile dysfunction. This is proven regardless of the indication of use – whether that be the 1mg dose for hair loss or the 5mg dose frequently used in men with Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy. A lot of the reports around erectile dysfunction are inaccurate and reported without review from a medical expert.
The majority of evidence concludes that side effects associated with using Finasteride happen in the first six months of taking it and are reversible once the medication has stopped being administered.
However, patients are encouraged to be satisfied for themselves concerning possible side effects before taking the medication.
If you are unsure about whether you should be taking Finasteride due to pre-existing medical conditions, please arrange a consultation with our medical doctors to discuss further.