Will Propecia (Finasteride) cure my baldness?
Before anyone tries out a new form of treatment, they would like to know whether it works and thus whether it is worth their time. Since drugs have many possible side effects (such as finasteride) examining whether the risk (of the side effects) is worth the reward (hair growth) is important. Let us look at what the science says.
Multiple studies have deemed effective in that “Oral finasteride promotes scalp hair growth and prevents further hair loss in a significant proportion of men with male pattern hair loss.” The results from finasteride only show after a few years of treatment. Nonetheless, it is very effective.
Finasteride works best a preventing further hair loss rather than regrowing hair that has already “miniaturized” and been lost. This is because finasteride prevents DHT from further miniaturizing hair follicles. Is there a way to gain the hair that has been lost back?
Whilst Finasteride does aid with regrowth of hair there are other agents more specifically designed to regrow hair faster. Minoxidil (Rogaine) is used with this purpose in mind. In a randomized study conducted in China, the use of Finasteride alone, Minoxidil 5% (alone) and Finasteride + Minoxidil 5% was compared. Finasteride was more effective than minoxidil however when combined they were much more effective than finasteride alone. This makes sense since both have different mechanisms of actions and when paired are synergistic.
As a side note, there are multiple limitations with hair loss studies. The issue is that qualitative and subjective measures of hair loss/regrowth are used and therefore results are not comparable across studies. There have been more objective measures such as hair density in a given area, however, not all studies use this method.
Therefore, whilst Finasteride alone might aid in preventive further baldness and may stimulate some regrowth, it should ideally be combined with a topical such as minoxidil for more effective hair loss regrowth and prevention.