What Propecia is and what it is used for
Propecia contains a medicine called finasteride. This belongs to a group of medicines called Type II ‘5-alpha reductase inhibitors’. Propecia is used for the treatment of male pattern hair loss (also known as androgenetic alopecia). Propecia increases hair growth on the scalp and prevents further hair loss in men. Men with mild to moderate, but not complete hair loss, can benefit from using Propecia. How does the hair on your head grow? On average your hair grows about 1 centimetre (half an inch) each month. Hair grows from hair follicles, which are located under your skin A single scalp hair grows continuously for 2-4 years (growth phase) and then stops growing for 2-4 months (rest phase). After this the hair falls out. In its place a new healthy hair begins to grow, and the cycle is repeated. The hairs on your scalp are always in different stages of this cycle so it is normal to lose scalp hair every day. What is male pattern hair loss? Male pattern hair loss is a common condition in which men experience thinning of the hair on the scalp, often resulting in a receding hairline and/or balding on the top of the head. This condition is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic factors and a particular hormone, DHT (dihydrotestosterone).DHT causes a decrease in the growth phase and thinning of the hair (see picture). This leads to male pattern hair loss. These changes can start to occur in some men in their 20s and become more common with age. Once hair loss has occurred over a long period of time, the hair may be permanently lost. How does Propecia work? Propecia lowers the levels of DHT in the scalp. This helps to reverse the balding process, leading to an increased hair growth and prevention of further hair loss
How to take Propecia
Always take this medicine exactly as your doctor or pharmacist has told you. Check
with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
• The recommended dose is one tablet each day. The tablet can be taken with or without food. If you take more Propecia than you should If you take too many tablets by mistake, contact your doctor immediately. Propecia will not work faster or better if you take it more than once a day. If you forget to take Propecia
• Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose. If you stop taking Propecia It may take 3 to 6 months for the full effect to develop. It is important to keep taking Propecia for as long as your doctor tells you. If you stop taking Propecia, you are likely to lose the hair you have gained within 9 to 12 months. If you have any further questions on the use of this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Possible side effects
Like all medicines, this medicine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets
them. Some of the side effects are temporary with continued treatment or disappeared
when treatment is stopped.
Stop taking Propecia and talk to your doctor if you experience:
• Symptoms of an allergic reaction: swelling of your lips, face, tongue and throat; difficulty swallowing; lumps under your skin (hives) and breathing difficulties. Stop taking Propecia and talk to your doctor immediately.
• Depression (feeling of severe sadness and unworthiness). You should promptly report to your doctor any changes in your breast tissue such as lumps, pain, enlargement or nipple discharge as these may be signs of a serious condition, such as breast cancer.
Uncommon: may affect up to 1 in 100 people
• you may be unable to have an erection (impotence)
• you may have less desire to have sex
• you may have problems with ejaculation, for example a decrease in the amount of semen released during sex. This decrease in the amount of semen does not appear to affect normal sexual function Frequency unknown:
• breast swelling or tenderness
• palpitations (feeling your heartbeat)
• changes in the way your liver is working, which can be shown by a blood test
• pain in the testicles
• persistent difficulty having an erection after discontinuation of treatment
• persistent decrease in sex drive after discontinuation of treatment
• persistent problems with ejaculation after discontinuation of treatment
• male infertility and/or poor quality of semen
• anxiety If any of these side effects gets serious, or if you notice any side effects not listed on this leaflet please tell your doctor or pharmacist. It will help if you make a note of what happened, when it started and how long it lasted. Will the use of Propecia affect the hair on other parts of your body? Propecia does not affect hair on other parts of the body. What else should you know about Propecia? Finasteride can also be used for a type of prostate problem called ‘benign prostatic hyperplasia’ or BPH. Information collected from a clinical trial in men taking finasteride 5 mg (a dose 5 times higher than Propecia) for 7 years showed:
• the number of men who developed prostate cancer was lower in men taking finasteride compared with those taking nothing
• the number of men who had a high score in a tumour grading system was higher in some of those taking finasteride compared to those taking nothing
• the effect of long-term use of finasteride on tumours of this kind is unknown. If you would like further information about the tumour grading system or this trial, please talk to your doctor.
Reporting of side effects If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. This includes any possible side effects not listed in this leaflet. You can also report side effects directly via the Yellow Card Scheme at www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store. By reporting side effects you can help provide more information on the safety of this medicine.
How to Store Propecia
Keep this medicine out of the sight and reach of children. Do not use this medicine after the expiry date which is stated on the carton after the letters EXP. The expiry date refers to the last day of that month. Do not put the tablets into another container, they might get mixed up. Do not remove the tablet from the pack until you are ready to take it. Do not store above 30°C. Keep them in the original package. Do not throw away any medicines via wastewater or household waste. Ask your pharmacist how to throw away medicines you no longer use. These measures will help to protect the environment
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