The short answer is no – Propecia cannot be used in the treatment of female pattern baldness nor other kinds of hair loss that usually affect women. In fact, the medical community strongly advises against use of this medicine in women due to possibility of very serious and unforeseen side effects. The risks are so great that pregnant women are advised to avoid any contact with Propecia, as it may cause severe problems with the development of the child.
What’s on this page?
If you are a woman experiencing problems with hair loss, then the best option for you would be to look up pharmaceutical treatments that were developed and manufactured exactly for the use in women. For example, Regaine for Women based on minoxidil is one of the most popular treatments of this type, available as both Regular Strength Scalp Solution (2% minoxidil) and Once a Day Scalp Foam (5% of active ingredient).
Naturally, before starting the treatment, you should consult with your doctor or a pharmacist. This way you will ensure that you made the best choice regarding your treatment and that you minimized the chances for any adverse effects or interactions.
What is Propecia?
Propecia is undoubtedly among the best-known hair loss medicines on the modern market. Widely used throughout the world, this medicine is very effective, producing positive and noticeable results in as much as 90% of men who used it. Developed by Merck Sharp and Dohme pharmaceutical company (MSD as the company is often called), it is based on the active ingredient finasteride. This approach to treating hair loss in men has been approved for use in the UK by the end of 1999 and has been extremely sought after ever since.
Finasteride works by inhibiting the action of 5-alpha-reductase enzyme, thus reducing the rate of conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (or DHT for short) – a substance that has a prominent role in the process of hair loss in men.
Prior to its debut as a hair loss treatment, finasteride was already known to MSD as it has been produced for years as a medicine for the treatment or enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH for short), although with concentration five times higher as opposed to Propecia.
The patent for this hair loss medicine expired within the UK in 2014, making it possible for the other companies to start producing generic versions of the medicine. The most successful so far include Finasteride 1mg and Aindeem. At the same time, the production of branded Propecia wasn’t halted by MSD, so the official version of the medicine can be found alongside the generic ones.
Has Propecia use in women been tested?
Yes – MSD has conducted clinical studies on the use of Propecia in the treatment of hair loss in women. The target group was comprised of postmenopausal women as it is around this age that women are most likely to experience female pattern baldness, leading the scientists to speculate that changes in hormone levels might be the root cause.
However, the studies conducted proved no evidence that Propecia might be effective in the treatment of female androgenetic alopecia. The said study involved 137 women divided into two groups – one was given placebo and the other Propecia. The experiment lasted for one whole year and in the end, no differences could be found between effects of Propecia and placebo, leading the scientists to conclude that finasteride isn’t at all effective in the treatment of female hair loss.
What other options are there for female hair loss?
With Propecia and Finasteride out of the question, we still need to mention those treatments which are useful. As mentioned, Regaine for Women has been clinically tested and has proven to be largely effective in the treatment of female pattern baldness.
On the other hand, there might be an underlying health condition that is the root cause of the hair loss. If you suspect this might be the case, talk to your doctor about identifying the potential issue and prescribing the correct treatment.