Finasteride is a prescription only medicine which is taken once a day by men with male pattern baldness. It works by stopping your body converting testosterone into a chemical called DHT. DHT can block the absorption of nutrients by hair follicles, which then causes hair loss.
Research shows that 9 out of 10 men taking finasteride experience some benefit ranging from prevention of further hair loss to reversal of hair loss and thicker, healthier looking hair. The tablet must be taken daily for at least 3 months to start to see early benefits. Maximum benefit is seen at around 12 months.
Finasteride is unlikely to be helpful in men who already have very severe hair loss or are not suffering from male pattern baldness. Finasteride should not be taken by women. It is important to remember that finasteride is not a permanent cure for baldness, as this is an underlying genetic tendency – once it is stopped, hair loss will resume after about six months.
Side effects are not very common with finasteride. About 1.5% of men taking the medicine will experience a reduced sex drive or erection problems. Rash or tenderness around the nipples may also affect some men.
Finasteride treatment for male pattern baldness is not available on the NHS, but is available on a private prescription after consultation with a doctor. The cost of treatment is available on our prices page.
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