If you have a receding hairline and visit a doctor, there’s a pretty decent chance that you’ll end up with a prescription for the drug Finasteride – popularly referred to as Propecia. The drug is approved by the FDA and has been available since 1997. It’s supposed to be able to thicken your hair by 65% for those who follow the drug intake for the prescribed time.
Propecia has typically been sold at around $3 per pill. But now there are about 26 generic types of the drug priced well below a dollar per pill so that alone has helped its growing popularity.
How Safe Is the Drug?
The drug comes with a warning of certain side effects such as temporary sexual effects while under medication, but many are ready to take the risk and believe it is the worth the risk. However, research has now shown that Finasteride may come with serious complications, such as painful erections in men, the inability to orgasm in women, chronic depression, insomnia, brain fog and suicidal thoughts that can last long after the patient stops taking the pills.
Even so, many dermatologists still prescribe Finasteride, rarely acknowledging the cognitive effects of the pills. Additionally, as the side effects are sexual in nature, some doctors often refrain from discussing it with patients. Additionally, some doctors aren’t aware that their patients are having side effects. Patients either don’t realize the connection between the drug and what’s happening or because of the sexual nature of the problem they are simply embarrassed to bring it up.
What Do Studies Say?
Thomas Moore, a leading researcher in the facility at Institute for Safe Medication Practices, states that sexual impairment induced by certain drugs has been underestimated for decades for the reasons set out above. As per the editorial for the month of June of JAMA dermatology, Moore said the side-effects of the drugs have escalated to 30-60% from earlier times as recorded at 1 to 3%.
Reportedly 1245 lawsuits were filed against the manufacturer of the drug, Merck, with allegations of negligence to warn patients of the impending side-effects. Physicians refer to the condition as Post-Finasteride Syndrome (PFS), as there have been long term symptoms associated with users of the drug even after discontinuing it. The National Institute of Health has added the rare condition into the category of rare diseases.
A recent case of a 40-year-old IT executive who committed suicide has been in the limelight. His wife filed for a lawsuit against the Merck, as she had found her husband being under the medication. Her husband had no mental illnesses before he killed himself in the month of March in 2103.
What Is the Alternative?
Obviously, the use of Finasteride shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s been pointed out that Finasteride is now categorized as one of the many potentially unsafe drugs, even though the drug has been an effective solution for hair loss. Consumers should know about the possible effects it can have on both mental and physical health, as well as learn about other alternatives.
One of the most popular, of course, is Rogaine. But just as Propecia can cost more than three times as much as the generic versions, Rogaine normally costs more than other solutions that have the same ingredients. Scalp Med is just another one that could be considered for those looking for a more convenient option because you can get kits that last for up to 6 month delivered to your doorstep.
And there are many natural remedies for hair loss, too. For instance, onions are rich in sulfides, which can be quite effective for hair problems. Dr. Bharadwaj suggests onion juices can be mixed with fenugreek seed powder and honey to help enhance hair growth.
Whichever option you decide to use, read about all of the side effects before making the choice, and after using a product, check to see if those are happening to you. None of this is health advice. Seek your own counsel for that.