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Finasteride side effects. Just hearing these words can be very unpleasant for men with male pattern baldness. Guys let’s face it – trying to save your hair is a struggle enough, without having to deal with problems in the bedroom. In today’s episode we’ll give you the easiest, most effective ways to reduce finasteride’s side effects, while still enjoying the hair gains. Stay tuned.
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So if you’re struggling with male pattern baldness, you’ve almost certainly heard of finasteride, one of two FDA-approved medications for the treatment of this condition.
Finasteride is usually sold under the brand names Propecia and Proscar, but the patent has now expired, so you can find it sold under various names. It works by blocking DHT, a potent male hormone that is metabolized from testosterone and is thought to be directly responsible for male pattern hair loss. Finasteride achieves this by inhibiting an enzyme called 5a-reductase – this is the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT, and by blocking it, finasteride achieves a dramatic lowering of DHT levels, up to 70% reduction in the blood.
Common finasteride side effects
Now Finasteride is quite good at what it does, namely blocking DHT, but it should be obvious that this tampering of the male hormonal system can’t be accomplished without side effects. And who better to tell us about the side effects of finasteride that the manufacturer itself, Merck. Looking through the package insert that comes with every box of Propecia we see that the most common side effects are a decrease in sex drive, erection problems and a decrease in the amount of semen. Other side effects mentioned are gynecomastia, depression, decreased libido, allergic reactions and infertility. The package insert also mentions other symptoms that happen after you’ve stopped taking Propecia – we will come back to those later.
What you can do to reduce these side effects
So guys while the side effects we’ve just gone through can send a chill down the spine, fortunately only a minority of finasteride users will experience these side effects. A review paper that studied the side effects of finasteride placed the maximum frequency of ejaculation problems at 7.7%, erection problems at 15.8%, and problems with the libido at 5.4%.
Now If you do happen to experience one or more of these side effects, here are the steps you can take to reduce or eliminate them:
Reduce the dose
Ok this seems pretty straightforward, but in users of finasteride who are experiencing side effects it can actually make all the difference between giving up on treatment and sticking it out for the long term. The recommended dose for male pattern baldness is 1mg a day, but if you’re getting side effects, try a lower dosage before giving up on Propecia completely. You can experiment with a dosage of 0.5 or even 0.2mg per day. This will eliminate side effects for most users, and there is a good chance you will still benefit from the drug.
Reduce the frequency of intake
Rather than taking the drug every day, albeit at a lowered dose, you can try skipping the medication entirely every other day. Some users of finasteride report that it’s still effective against hair loss when taken in this manner, while the incidence of side effects goes down significantly.
Switch to topical finasteride
So the FDA has only approved finasteride for oral use, and this is the only form of the drug you will find in your pharmacy. But guys, there’s actually nothing stopping you from taking the finasteride tablets and converting them to a topical form. There is some preliminary data to suggest that the topical application of finasteride can have similar efficacy against hair loss, with a lower incidence of side effects, due to lower systemic absorption. You don’t need a degree in chemical engineering to make your own topical finasteride – the “recipe” for oral finasteride is readily available online. Aside from that all you will need is a precision scale, a heavy apparatus like a mortar and pestle to crush the pills, and a couple of spare bottles.
This video is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any disease.