Finasteride: What the Studies Say

Finasteride is a widely used prescription treatment used for hair loss. It is in the form an oral tablet with a standard dosage of 1mg. It is taken daily.

Finasteride has been scientifically proven to be the most effective treatment in the fight against hair loss.

Finasteride works as an inhibitor that reduces the levels of DHT that are converted from testosterone. DHT is the hormone most responsible for male pattern baldness. It causes hair loss in a process called 'minaturisation' as it lowers blood flow (and by extension oxygen and nutrients) to hair follicles which reduces the number of hair stands that each can support.

Finasteride works to directly block the mechanism causing male pattern baldness. Finasteride is a DHT-blocker and works by blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT. It does this by blocking an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. Lower levels of DHT results in reduced hair loss, as well as possible hair re-growth.

Finasteride was first developed by the US healthcare company Merck. In 1992, The Federal Drug Administration (“FDA”) in the United States approved Finasteride (5 mg) for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) or enlargement of the prostrate.

During trials on men with prostate problems, Merck noticed that the participants were seeing hair re-growth as a side effect. Merck then looked at developing Finasteride to treat male pattern baldness.

Following successful trials, in 1997, the FDA approved Finasteride for the treatment of androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness). To this day, Finasteride remains the only medically-approved ingestible treatment to effectively treat male pattern baldness.

There have been many independent studies on the efficacy and safety of Finasteride. For example, in the US, scientists from several different universities together conducted a study amongst 249 men. These men were split into cohorts and given dosages of 0.01 to 5mg of Finasteride or placebo for 42 days.

At day 42, the scientists found that DHT levels had declined significantly amongst all those taking Finasteride. DHT levels declined by 50%, 69%, 71%, and 72% in the 0.05, 0.2, 1 and 5 mg Finasteride treatment groups.

Longer term studies have been conducted indicating the efficacy rates amongst participants. A 5-year study was conducted by scientists in the US in which 90% of men using Finasteride maintained or achieved a visible improvement in scalp coverage over the period.

Studies have also compared the efficacy of Finasteride and Minoxidil. In 2004, scientists evaluated the efficacy of oral 1mg Finasteride and 5% topical Minoxidil treatment for 12 months in 65 male patients with mild-to-severe male pattern baldness.

The scientists found that 80% of the oral Finasteride group saw an increase in hair density versus 52% for the topical Minoxidil group. The conclusion of the study was that both drugs were effective and safe in the treatment of mild-to-severe male pattern baldness, and the Finasteride treatment was more effective.

The bottom line is Finasteride is medically-proven to effectively treat hair loss. It has helped millions of men globally in the fight against baldness. 

Man Behind The Mirror offers Finasteride at a 1mg dosage which can be purchased here.

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Written by Mike Firth, GP and Medical Director

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.