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Introduction to Propecia.
Propecia, whose generic name is Finasteride, is popularly known as a medication used to treat male pattern baldness. It is also used to treat benign prostate enlargement, which is also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia. The condition can be dubbed as BPH for short. You may be able to buy the drug for prostate treatment under the brand name, Proscar.
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Propecia was formulated by Merck Pharmaceuticals for inhibiting the 5a-reductase enzyme, which converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
But how does the medicine really work on either male baldness or mild prostate enlargement? As mentioned early on, it inhibits the 5a-reductase enzyme. So, why is it so important to inhibit this particular enzyme? Well, 5a-reductase turns regular male hormone, testosterone, into DHT, which is a more potent form. The new form of the sex hormone is denser with more androgen receptors impact, which triples and even goes ten times more than is normal with testosterones.
On the surface, DHT sounds perfect for people who are suffering from hair, loss because it promotes hair growth on the face and the rest of the body. Unfortunately, higher levels of this strengthened version of male hormone shrinks the hair follicles in your scalp, causing an increased occurrence of hair loss. So, DHT’s impact on your scalp is far from pleasant: hair follicles will be damaged, and existing hair will even fall out. The hair follicles have decreased their size. So, newly-grown hair may not even reach maturity. Instead, it will remain like the peachy fuzz that you usually see on newborns’ scalps. In the end, you could be completely bald.
How Propecia Works.
Propecia works to treat male pattern baldness. However, since it inhibits the enzyme 5a-reductase, it also helps in treating the prostate gland when it has become enlarged. The inhibition of the said enzyme can slow down the enlargement of the affected gland.
Propecia helps discontinue hair loss because it blocks the 5a-reductase’s impact on testosterone. The medicine’s components bind with the enzyme to prevent the conversion of testosterone into the dreaded DHT. With lower DHT levels, male patients can avoid developing smaller hair follicles, which could make a grown man end up with peachy fuzz on the scalp.
So, how much can Propecia affect DHT levels? According to studies, Propecia can reduce DHT’s blood serum levels by 65 to 70%. Meanwhile, its component Finasteride, designed to control prostrate growth, reduces the levels of DHT by up to 85 to 90%. The generic drug is a single inhibitor of the 5-reductase. So, it only works on the type II isoenzyme. There are other types of inhibitors that could work on dual inhibitor systems, which actually promote almost a hundred percent DHT level reduction.
History of Propecia.
The drug Propecia has naturally been associated with hair loss treatments for as long as you can remember. When it was first introduced during the 1980s, however, it was advertised as treatment for benignly enlarged prostate. It was only during the middle of the 90s decade that the drug was found to be helpful in remedying hair loss.
The discovery of the drug as an effective way of treating male pattern baldness was great news because before it, there were no other convenient and easy hair loss treatments available. Those who need the cure had to go through a large mass of mousses, shampoos, and even vitamins to try to regain the hair that they had lost. None of the treatments worked at that time. So, people, who were losing hair, had to make do with toupees and wigs to at least reduce the self-consciousness that they had been feeling. Even those temporary cover-ups could not really do much for them, because of the unnatural look that these cover-ups project.
Propecia was not really the very first available hair loss treatment, but it may be considered the first among the convenient options. Several years before its introduction as a hair loss treatment, Rogaine was already available to people suffering from hair loss. Rogaine, however, has to be applied topically to the affected areas, which make it just a little bit more inconvenient, and even messy in some cases. The discovery of Propecia as an alternative hair loss treatment may be accidental, but it was welcomed warmly by hair loss sufferers who do not want to have to worry about applications. They only had to pop a pill to regrow their hair.
It was in January 1998 that the FDA approved Propecia as a hair loss treatment. Its active compound, Finasteride, had been approved for use in actual medical practice for the treatment of enlarged prostate glands six years earlier. Patients who have been treated with daily 1mg doses of Finasteride experienced hair growth on areas that usually show symptoms of baldness in males.