Hair loss is more common in women than most people think, which is why the drug Propecia was studied as a potential therapy for women. Known to successfully treat male pattern baldness and other hair loss problems, Propecia is generally restricted for use in women and children. While the drug can help with hair loss problems in men, women do not have a lot of options as both groups of people experience hair loss differently. Men tend to lose hair on the frontal and crown areas, while women experience more of thinning hair and loss of hair around the crown areas. Hair loss in women can start as early as puberty and continue with age. There are many therapies or hair loss treatments that can be used to manage the problem in women, but most of them are expensive. Taking a drug like Propecia, if it works, will definitely help women to stop hair loss and even regrow hair without paying too much for the treatment.
Research results on the use of Propecia for hair loss in women
Propecia works by specifically targeting the androgens that cause hair loss. In women though, the level of androgens varies from one person to another and this can affect the results of Propecia. The largest study undertaken to assess the use of Propecia for hair loss in women had a group of post-menopausal women in the age range of 41-60. At the end of the twelve month study, the dihydrotestosterone levels decreased but only about 20% of the women were able to see visible results on the scalp. Many did not see any significant changes in hair loss compared to before and after taking Propecia.
Smaller studies were also undertaken on post-menopausal women with hair loss. There were a few women who were able to see hair regrowth over a period of eight to twelve months. The dosing schedules were different so that results could be assessed accordingly. One woman was given Propecia 5mg once a week, while another was given the 1mg daily dose. The medical researchers believe that the drug is more likely to be effective for women who have hyperandrogenism. The 1.25mg and 2.5mg doses of Propecia also showed stabilization of hair loss and hair regrowth.
Propecia was also studied as a topical application in a formulation that contained the active ingredient Finasteride. Over a period of six months, those who used topical Finasteride on bald spots were able to experience thickening of hair follicles.
Limitations of the use of Propecia in women
Propecia is generally not used for use in women due to the risks associated with taking it. The warning on the product label is that pregnant women and those expecting to become pregnant should avoid handling or taken the drug as there are chances for the developing fetus to have birth defects like deformed genitalia. For these safety purposes, women who were already past the stage of menopause were considered for the study.
Another limitation is that the Propecia essentially suppresses the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. Women have low levels of testosterone present, but only those with hyperandrogenism have excessive androgens circulating in their system. Female pattern hair loss is more treatable if there are more androgens present for the drug to work on.
Can women take Propecia for hair loss?
Propecia for women depends on a number of factors like age, type of hair loss, and post-menopausal time, to name a few. If the healthcare provider thinks that there are high chances of the drug working for someone after assessing the medical history, Propecia may definitely be prescribed and used. Results can vary greatly from one person to another, and adequate time of eight to twelve months have to be considered before deciding if the drug is working or not. Always consult with the doctor before taking Propecia so as to avoid any unwarranted side effects.