Monday, September 30, 2024
Most drugs come with a risk of side effects and finasteride (also known as Propecia) is no exception. Finasteride side effects tend to be rare and are usually nothing to be too concerned about, but it is a good idea to understand what the side effects of finasteride and Propecia are, when you need to be concerned, and what you can do (if anything) to reduce those side effects.
Finasteride is a drug that is commonly used to treat hair loss. The drug works by blocking an enzyme called 5 alpha-reductase, which is responsible for the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. Dihydrotestosterone is the hormone responsible for male pattern hair loss, so by inhibiting the production of the hormone, it is possible to stop the progression of hair loss in men.
Finasteride for stopping hair loss is only available by private prescription. Often, the cheapest and most convenient way to get finasteride is online.
Finasteride is suitable for men aged 18 and over, and the usual dosage for hair loss is 1mg, taken once a day.
All medicines have more and less common side effects, as well as more and less serious ones. Common side effects of finasteride include reduced libido and difficulty in achieving an erection, and problems ejaculating because of reduced semen.
These side effects happen to more than 1% of people taking finasteride and usually go away after a while, however, if you are concerned or the side effects don’t go away, speak to your prescriber.
More serious side effects of finasteride affect fewer than 1 in 1,000 people and can occur for those who have been taking the drug for a long time. These include depression, low mood, or thoughts of self-harm, and lumps, pain or swelling in the chest area or nipple discharge, which could be an indication of a more serious condition, such as breast cancer. In very rare cases, an allergic reaction can occur. Go to the doctor if you have a low mood or notice changes in your chest or nipples. If you have a rash, wheezing, chest tightness or trouble breathing, call 999 or head straight to A & E.
If you experience serious side effects of finasteride, it is important that you stop taking it straight away and make an appointment to see your doctor or (in the case of allergic reaction), seek emergency care. If you are experiencing reduced libido, reduced semen, or problems getting an erection, these side effects should resolve themselves with time. If this does not happen, then speak to your doctor.
- Explore a reduced dosage. Whilst 1mg of finasteride a day is the most effective dosage to prevent hair loss, in order to minimise the side effects, it is possible to reduce the dosage to as low as .25mg. Speak to your prescriber about your dosage options and they will help you to find the balance between efficacy and reduced side effects.
- Take finasteride with food. While finasteride can be taken with or without food, anecdotal evidence shows that taking it with food can help to reduce the more common side effects.
If you are taking finasteride and you want to try for a baby, speak to your doctor. A small volume of finasteride passes through our system into your semen, which can cause potential problems for your unborn child. In addition, some men taking finasteride have reported problems with fertility. If you want to try for a baby, you should stop taking finasteride, and allow time for the effects to wear off, and the drug to leave your system (around 2 weeks). After this time, your hair loss will progress as it was before you started taking the drug.
Taking any drug involves weighing up the positives of taking the drug versus the risk of side effects. While some men are unbothered by baldness, for many men, hair loss can impact confidence and mental health; in these instances, the rare and minimal side effects are probably worth risking.
When you add finasteride to your basket before you check out you will be asked to complete an online consultation, which will allow a prescriber to consider your overall health and any potential risk factors before issuing you with a prescription and approving the purchase. If you have any concerns about taking finasteride, stopping taking it, or side effects, don’t hesitate to ask a medical professional.