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(fih NAH steh ride)
Propecia, Proscar
CategoryDHT reducer

Parameter Effect Result on hair growth
5a-reductases GOOD


Description Finasteride is the most commonly used hair loss and re-growth drug that is available. In simple terms Fin prevents the conversion of testosterone into the more potent form DHT (Dihydrotestosterone). Like Spironolactone it targets DHT hormones, however it doesn't block DHT receptor points as Spironolactone does. Instead it blocks the activity of the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme in an effort to prevent the conversion of testosterone into DHT. Finastiride will reduce DHT up to 70% at typical dosages.
Typical Results A large percentage of men that suffer from male pattern baldness will see the elimination of hair loss and in a slightly smaller percentage vast improvements in their re-growth when taking this drug. This is especially true when Fin is combined with other drugs into a treatment regime.
Typical Dosages Typically a dose of 1mg per day is taken and some men report reduced side effects with doses as low as .25mg/day while still retaining the benefits of hair re-growth. Some users also report buying 5mg Proscar and breaking them into 1.25 dosages to save money.
Significant Side Effects The most notable is sexual dysfunction and loss of libido.
Dissolves inEthanol
Pharmacology Pharmacodynamics Finasteride is a potent 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor that has shown limited success in men treated for benign prostatic hyperplasia (success is defined as a decrease in the symptoms associated with urinary tract obstruction, and as increases in the urinary flow rate). 5 alpha-reductase is necessary for the prostatic conversion of testosterone to dihydrotesterone (DHT), the specific steroid that stimulates prostate transitional zone growth. Finasteride reduces the size of the prostate gland by 20%, but this does not correlate well with improvement in symptoms. Finasteride is well absorbed after oral administration and, while the rate of absorption may be slowed postprandially, the presence of food has no effect on the total bioavailability. Finasteride is widely distributed, but since its pharmacological effects are very specific to inhibition of 5 alpha-reductase, and since only the prostate gland, the scalp, and the genital skin contain high concentrations of this enzyme, few adverse reactions will be seen in other organ systems. Finasteride undergoes extensive hepatic metabolism to essentially inactive metabolites, which are eliminated through the bile and urine. The terminal elimination half-life (t1/2z) is 4.7 to 7.1 hours; but despite this, slow accumulation occurs with multiple doses. Values of t1/2z are higher in elderly men, but no dosage adjustments are necessary. Likewise, no dosage adjustments are necessary for patients with renal dysfunction, since the metabolites which accumulate are relatively inactive and well tolerated, and because greater faecal excretion of the metabolites occurs in these patients. The effect of hepatic dysfunction on the metabolism of finasteride is unknown. Therapeutic doses of finasteride produce a rapid and pronounced effect in reducing both plasma and prostate tissue levels of DHT. Doses below 0.5 mg/day do not produce much suppression of DHT levels, and doses above 5 mg/day have little additional benefit. A single dose of finasteride suppresses serum DHT levels for up to 4 days, longer than would be expected from the serum terminal elimination half-life (t1/2z) of the drug: this is probably due to the high affinity that finasteride has for the 5 alpha-reductase enzyme. Serum testosterone levels increase in patients receiving finasteride, but are not normally outside the upper limits of the normal range. Serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels decrease with finasteride administration; the baseline for investigation of prostate cancer with elevated PSA levels should be one-half of the normal range. In responders to finasteride, the prostate gland shrinks in volume by about 20%, urinary flow rate improves by approximately 3 ml/s, and symptoms are relieved. The response to finasteride appears to be maximal at doses of 5 mg/day. For most men receiving finasteride, these effects will persist for at least the 5 years that long term studies have been conducted. Serum DHT levels increase again when finasteride therapy is discontinued, probably resulting in the return of the hyperplasia, decreased urine flow and obstructive symptoms. Finasteride is well tolerated, with loss of libido and sexual potency being the most commonly reported adverse reactions. No drug interactions with finasteride have been reported. More...

Clinical Studies

Clinical StudiesAbstract
Finasteride increases anagen hair in men with androgenetic alopecia. BACKGROUND: The growth of scalp hair is a cyclical process of successive phases of growth (anagen) and rest (telogen). In previous clinical trials in men with androgenetic alopecia, treatment with finasteride increased scalp hair counts in a defined area (i.e. increased hair density). OBJECTIVES: The current study used a phototrichogram methodology to assess the effect of finasteride on the phases of the hair growth cycle. PATIENTS/METHODS: Two hundred and twelve men, age 18-40 years, with androgenetic alopecia were randomized to receive finasteride 1 mg daily or placebo for 48 weeks. At baseline and at 24 and 48 weeks, macrophotographs were taken to measure total and anagen hair count in a 1-cm(2) target area of the scalp. RESULTS: At baseline, mean total and anagen hair counts in the finasteride group were 200 and 124 hairs, respectively (% anagen = 62%) and the anagen to telogen ratio was 1.74 (geometric mean). In the placebo group, the respective values were 196 and 119 hairs (% anagen = 60%) and 1.57. At week 48, the finasteride group had a net improvement (mean +/- SE) compared with placebo in total and anagen hair counts of 17.3 +/- 2.5 hairs (8.3% +/- 1.4%) and 27.0 +/- 2.9 hairs (26% +/- 3.1%), respectively (P < 0.001). Furthermore, treatment with finasteride resulted in a net improvement in the anagen to telogen ratio of 47% (P < 0.001). In this study, treatment with finasteride 1 mg day(-1) for 48 weeks increased both total and anagen hair counts, and improved the anagen to telogen ratio. CONCLUSIONS: These data provide direct evidence that finasteride 1 mg daily promotes the conversion of hairs into the anagen phase. These data support that finasteride treatment results in favourable effects on hair quality that contribute to the visible improvements in hair growth observed in treated patients.
Long-Term Experience with 5-α-Reductase Inhibitors Finasteride, a 5-α-reductase inhibitor, dramatically suppresses the production of dihydrotestosterone in men; thus, attention has turned to this agent for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). A number of randomized clinical trials have studied finasteride’s effects on prostate size, BPH symptoms, flow rate, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level. Although the decrease in symptoms with finasteride therapy has been modest compared with more invasive treatments, its use has resulted in sustained reductions in prostatic volume and PSA level with minimal adverse effects. Fewer surgeries for BPH, as well as a decreased incidence of acute urinary retention, have also been seen with finasteride therapy. More research is needed to maximize the effectiveness of such medical therapy for BPH.
Finasteride induced depression: a prospective study. BACKGROUND: Finasteride is a competitive inhibitor of 5 alpha-reductase enzyme, and is used for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia and androgenetic alopecia. Animal studies have shown that finasteride might induce behavioral changes. Additionally, some cases of finasteride-induced depression have been reported in humans. The purpose of this study was to examine whether depressive symptoms or anxiety might be induced by finasteride administration. METHODS: One hundred and twenty eight men with androgenetic alopecia, who were prescribed finasteride (1 mg/day) were enrolled in this study. Information on depressed mood and anxiety was obtained by Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Participants completed BDI and HADS questionnaires before beginning the treatment and also two months after it. RESULTS: Mean age of the subjects was 25.8(+/- 4.4) years. At baseline, mean BDI and HADS depression scores were 12.11(+/- 7.50) and 4.04(+/- 2.51), respectively. Finasteride treatment increased both BDI (p < 0.001) and HADS depression scores significantly (p = 0.005). HADS anxiety scores were increased, but the difference was not significant (p = 0.061). CONCLUSION: This preliminary study suggests that finasteride might induce depressive symptoms; therefore this medication should be prescribed cautiously for patients with high risk of depression. It seems that further studies would be necessary to determine behavioral effects of this medication in higher doses and in more susceptible patients.
A 5-year retrospective analysis of 5α-reductase inhibitors in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia: finasteride has comparable urinary symptom efficacy and prostate volume reduction, but less sexual side effects and breast complications than dutasteride. Objective: We evaluated 5-year safety, efficacy and prostate volume data from BPH patients treated with finasteride or dutasteride. Methods: A retrospective analysis of 378 consecutive men treated with 5α-reductase inhibitor monotherapy between January 2004 and September 2009 (197 on finasteride and 211 on dutasteride) in a single clinic was performed. Efficacy assessments included International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), peak urinary flow rate (Qmax), postvoid residual urine volume (PVR), prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and prostate volume (PV). Safety assessments included International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) and adverse events. Patients were evaluated at 3 months, 1 year and yearly thereafter. Results: Mean age of the group was 58.7 ± 6.7 years. Maintenance of therapy at 5 years was 57.4% and 42.5% for the finasteride and dutasteride groups respectively. Changes in IPSS, Qmax, PVR, PV and PSA were similar for both groups at 5 years. The incidence of erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory dysfunction and decreased libido resulting in discontinuation from therapy was significantly (p < 0.01) higher in the dutasteride (5.1%, 2.4%, 2.7% respectively) compared with the finasteride (2.1%, 1.8%, 1.4% respectively) group. In addition, the incidence of self-reported breast tenderness and/or enlargement was significantly (p < 0.01) greater in the dutasteride (3.5%) compared with the finasteride (1.2%) group. Conclusions: In this retrospective analysis of data from consecutive patients treated at a single clinic, both finasteride and dutasteride were effective therapies for the management of lower urinary tract symptoms. However, dutasteride resulted in significantly more sexual side effects and breast complications than finasteride.
Depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts among former users of finasteride with persistent sexual side effects. OBJECTIVE: Finasteride, a commonly prescribed medication for male pattern hair loss, has recently been associated with persistent sexual side effects. In addition, depression has recently been added to the product labeling of Propecia (finasteride 1 mg). Finasteride reduces the levels of several neuroactive steroids linked to sexual function and depression. This study assesses depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts in former users of finasteride who developed persistent sexual side effects despite the discontinuation of finasteride. METHOD: In 2010-2011, former users of finasteride (n = 61) with persistent sexual side effects for ≥ 3 months were administered standardized interviews that gathered demographic information, medical and psychiatric histories, and information on medication use, sexual function, and alcohol consumption. All former users were otherwise healthy men with no baseline sexual dysfunction, chronic medical conditions, current or past psychiatric conditions, or use of oral prescription medications before or during finasteride use. A control group of men (n = 29), recruited from the community, had male pattern hair loss but had never used finasteride and denied any history of psychiatric conditions or use of psychiatric medications. The primary outcomes were the prevalence of depressive symptoms and the prevalence of suicidal thoughts as determined by the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II); all subjects self-administered this questionnaire at the time of the interview or up to 10 months later. RESULTS: Rates of depressive symptoms (BDI-II score ≥ 14) were significantly higher in the former finasteride users (75%; 46/61) as compared to the controls (10%; 3/29) (P < .0001). Moderate or severe depressive symptoms (BDI-II score ≥ 20) were present in 64% (39/61) of the finasteride group and 0% of the controls. Suicidal thoughts were present in 44% (27/61) of the former finasteride users and in 3% (1/29) of the controls (P < .0001). CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians and potential users of finasteride should be aware of the potential risk of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts. The preliminary findings of this study warrant further research with controlled studies.
Persistent sexual side effects of finasteride: could they be permanent? Introduction.  Finasteride has been associated with sexual side effects that may persist despite discontinuation of the medication. In a clinical series, 20% of subjects with male pattern hair loss reported persistent sexual dysfunction for ≥6 years, suggesting the possibility that the dysfunction may be permanent. These subjects also reported a wide range of symptoms including changes in cognition, ejaculate quality, and genital sensation. Other medications have been associated with irreversible neurological effects, such as phenothiazines with tardive dyskinesias. Aim. To prospectively study whether the persistent sexual side effects associated with finasteride resolve or endure over time. Methods. Subjects (N=54) with persistent sexual side effects associated with finasteride were reassessed after 9-16 months (mean 14 months). All subjects were otherwise healthy young men without any baseline sexual dysfunction, medical conditions, psychiatric conditions, or use of oral prescription medications prior to taking finasteride for male pattern hair loss. Main Outcome Measure.  Scores from the Arizona Sexual Experience Scale (ASEX). Results.  The participation rate was 81%. At reassessment persistent sexual side effects continued to be present in 96% of subjects. According to the ASEX scores, 89% of subjects met the definition of sexual dysfunction. Neither the length of finasteride use nor the duration of the sexual side effects correlated to changes in scores of sexual dysfunction. Conclusion. In most men who developed persistent sexual side effects (≥3 months) despite the discontinuation of finasteride, the sexual dysfunction continued for many months or years. Although several rat studies have shown detrimental changes to erectile function caused by 5 alpha reductase inhibitors, the persistent nature of these changes is an area of active research. Prescribers of finasteride and men contemplating its use should be made aware of the potential adverse medication effects.
Combination therapy with finasteride and low-dose dutasteride in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. We report on a 47-year-old man who was initially treated with finasteride for androgenetic alopecia. Despite continuous treatment, after year 4 his hair density was not as good as at year 2, and low-dose dutasteride at 0.5 mg/week was added to the finasteride therapy. This resulted in a dramatic increase in his hair density, demonstrating that combined therapy with finasteride and dutasteride can improve hair density in patients already taking finasteride.
Pilot Study of 15 Patients Receiving a New Treatment Regimen for Androgenic Alopecia: The Effects of Atopy on AGA. Background. We examined the efficacy of a new regimen to treat AGA, with attention to male patients who are atopic. Objective. To assess the efficacy of a four-part regimen for the treatment of AGA in atopic and nonatopic patients. NuH Hair is a novel topical combination of finasteride, dutasteride, and minoxidil, which is blended in a hypoallergenic lotion. The other three components included Rogaine foam, Propecia, and ketoconazole shampoo. Methods. A prospective pilot study was conducted in 15 patients. All patients were assessed for the presence of atopy. Each patient served as their own control. All patients were treated specifically with NuH Hair and were given the option to add any of the other components of the protocol to their regimen. Photographs were taken of each patient's scalp at months 0, 1, 3, 6, and 9. Results. All 15 patients demonstrated significant growth of hair. In those patients who utilized all 4 components, significant growth was achieved in as little as 30 days. In those patients who choose only to utilize NuH Hair, significant growth was demonstrated after 3 months. Conclusion. Aggressively treating AGA achieves significant and rapid growth of new hair. This is effective in atopic and nonatopic male patients.
Global photographic assessment of men aged 18 to 60 years with male pattern hair loss receiving finasteride 1 mg or placebo. BACKGROUND: Finasteride (1 mg) has been shown to increase vertex hair growth in men aged 18 to 60 years with male pattern hair loss and to increase frontal scalp hair growth in subjects aged 18 to 41 years. OBJECTIVE: A secondary efficacy analysis was conducted to determine effects of finasteride (1 mg) on scalp hair growth in the 4 distinct scalp regions affected by male pattern hair loss. METHODS: Multicenter, double-blind studies randomized patients with vertex hair loss (men aged 18-41 and 41-60 years) to finasteride (1 mg/d) or placebo. Efficacy was evaluated by review of standardized clinical photographs (global photographic assessment) of the vertex, anterior/mid scalp regions, and frontal and temporal hairlines over 24 months relative to baseline. RESULTS: At 24 months, treatment with finasteride resulted in statistically significant (P ≤ .05) hair growth versus placebo in all scalp regions. There was also a significant decrease in hair loss in the younger men treated with finasteride in all areas, but only in the vertex and anterior/mid scalp regions in the older men. A slightly higher incidence of drug-related sexual adverse experiences was reported in the finasteride group than in the placebo group, irrespective of age. LIMITATIONS: These studies enrolled men with vertex pattern hair loss; therefore, the findings may not be extrapolated to men with predominantly anterior/mid scalp, frontal, or temporal hair loss. CONCLUSION: Based on global photographic assessment, finasteride (1 mg) is able to increase hair growth in all areas of the scalp affected by male pattern hair loss.
Evaluation of efficacy and safety of finasteride 1 mg in 3177 Japanese men with androgenetic alopecia. Before now, there has been no study of finasteride use exceeding 1 year in Japanese men with androgenetic alopecia (AGA) except the study subsequently conducted from the development phase. Since the launch of finasteride, no study in a larger population had been reported. Ethnic variation of the onset age, progressive nature and degree of hair loss of androgenetic alopecia are known. The therapeutic effect of oral finasteride (Propecia) was examined on androgenetic alopecia of Japanese men. The efficacy and safety of finasteride (1 mg tablet) was evaluated in Japanese men with AGA in the long term. The study enrolled 3177 men given finasteride 1 mg/day from January 2006 to June 2009 at our clinic. Efficacy was evaluated in 2561 men by the modified global photographic assessment; the photographs were assessed using the standardized 7-point rating scale. Safety data were assessed by interviews and laboratory tests in all men enrolled in the study. The overall effect of hair growth was seen in 2230 of 2561 men (87.1%), in whom hair greatly (11.1%), moderately (36.5%) and slightly (39.5%) increased. The response rate improved with increasing duration of treatment. Adverse reactions occurred in 0.7% (23/3177) of men; seven men discontinued treatment based on risk-benefit considerations. No specific safety problems associated with long-term use were observed. This study represents data collected at a single institution. Many patients did not receive follow-up examination. In Japanese men with AGA, oral finasteride used in the long-term study maintained progressive hair regrowth without recognized side-effect.
A new look at the 5alpha-reductase inhibitor finasteride. Finasteride is the first 5alpha-reductase inhibitor that received clinical approval for the treatment of human benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and androgenetic alopecia (male pattern hair loss). These clinical applications are based on the ability of finasteride to inhibit the Type II isoform of the 5alpha-reductase enzyme, which is the predominant form in human prostate and hair follicles, and the concomitant reduction of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). In addition to catalyzing the rate-limiting step in the reduction of testosterone, both isoforms of the 5alpha-reductase enzyme are responsible for the reduction of progesterone and deoxycorticosterone to dihydroprogesterone (DHP) and dihydrodeoxycorticosterone (DHDOC), respectively. Recent preclinical data indicate that the subsequent 3alpha-reduction of DHT, DHP and DHDOC produces steroid metabolites with rapid non-genomic effects on brain function and behavior, primarily via an enhancement of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic inhibitory neurotransmission. Consistent with their ability to enhance the action of GABA at GABA(A) receptors, these steroid derivatives (termed neuroactive steroids) possess anticonvulsant, antidepressant and anxiolytic effects in addition to altering aspects of sexual- and alcohol-related behaviors. Thus, finasteride, which inhibits both isoforms of 5alpha-reductase in rodents, has been used as a tool to manipulate neuroactive steroid levels and determine the impact on behavior. Results of some preclinical studies and clinical observations with finasteride are described in this review article. The data suggest that endogenous neuroactive steroid levels may be inversely related to symptoms of premenstrual and postpartum dysphoric disorder, catamenial epilepsy, depression, and alcohol withdrawal.
Finasteride-its impact on sexual function and prostate cancer. Finasteride, a specific and competitive inhibitor of 5alpha-reductase enzyme Type 2, inhibits the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). In adults, DHT acts as primary androgen in prostate and hair follicles. The only FDA-approved dermatological indication of finasteride is androgenetic alopecia. But, apprehension regarding sexual dysfunction associated with finasteride deters dermatologists from prescribing the drug and patients from taking the drug for androgenetic alopecia. Testosterone, through its humoral endocrine and local paracrine effects is relevant in central and peripheral modulation of sexual function than locally acting DHT. Several large population-based long-term placebo-controlled studies, using International Index of Erectile Function-5 questionnaire and objective method (Nocturnal Penile Tumescence) to assess the erectile function have demonstrated no clear evidence of the negative effect of finasteride on erectile function. Reduction in ejaculatory volume is the only established causal relationship between finasteride and sexual dysfunction. Though finasteride causes significant reduction in all the semen parameters except sperm morphology, they did not fall below the threshold levels to interfere with fertility. Therefore, the sexual adverse effects associated with finasteride should be viewed in relation to normal prevalence and natural history of erectile dysfunction in the population, age of the patient, other confounding factors and also nocebo effect. The impact of finasteride on the prevention of prostate cancer has been discussed extensively. Finasteride is found to be effective in significantly reducing the incidence of low-grade prostate cancer. But the paradoxical increase in high-grade cancer in the finasteride group has been attributed to increased sensitivity and improved performance of prostate specific antigen levels to detect all grades of prostate cancer.
Evaluation of androgens in the scalp hair and plasma of patients with male-pattern baldness before and after finasteride administration. BACKGROUND: Finasteride, a competitive inhibitor of the enzyme 5alpha-reductase II, is widely used as a medical treatment for patients with male-pattern baldness (MPB), which is affected by the distribution of androgenic steroids. It is also notable that the androgenic effect in MPB is different for each region of the head. OBJECTIVES: To study the effect of the drug finasteride, we quantified androgenic steroids in the vertex and occipital scalp hair and in the plasma of patients with MPB. METHODS: The patients with MPB, aged 23-52 years, were treated with finasteride 1 mg daily for 5 months. The hair and plasma samples were hydrolysed, extracted with n-pentane, and derivatized with MSTFA:NH4I:DTE (1000:4:5, v/w/w). We analysed the concentrations of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and testosterone (T) in the hair and plasma using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). RESULTS: In the hair, the ratio of DHT/T was decreased in the vertex scalp hair after the individual received finasteride (P < 0.005). However, we found no significant difference in the ratio of DHT/T in the occipital scalp hair before and after individuals received finasteride. Like the results in the vertex scalp hair, the ratio of DHT/T in the plasma was remarkably decreased after finasteride administration (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: This study supports the effect of finasteride in patients with MPB by examining the decreased level of DHT/T in scalp hair and in plasma. Thus, in view of the androgenic effect in the different hair regions, the vertex scalp hair plays a more important role for patients with MPB treated with finasteride than does the occipital hair.


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