Finasteride (Proscar, Propecia) is an inexpensive drug used for the treatment of hair loss and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Proscar (finasteride 5 mg) is used to treat BPH, and Propecia (finasteride 1 mg) is used for hair loss.
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Generic Proscar (finasteride 5mg)
Proscar is an anti-androgen medication used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) also known as prostate gland enlargement. Finasteride, its sole active substance, is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor blocking the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
DHT, a metabolite of the male hormone testosterone, was later found to be responsible not only for prostate enlargement but also for shrinking hair follicles in the scalp, resulting in hair loss.
In 1997, finasteride got approved by the FDA for treating male pattern baldness and became available as Propecia, containing 1mg of finasteride per pill, whereas Proscar tablets contain 5mg of the same drug.
Therefore, Proscar is often called generic Propecia as many hair loss patients buy its larger pills and split them in five smaller pieces in order to save money on buying much more expensive Propecia.
The therapeutic effects are the same as these two pills are bioequivalent and differ only in the dosage of the active ingredient. However, higher dosages of finasteride have not been found to improve hair re-growth but can cause undesirable side effects. The dust from the crushed 5mg tablets should be kept away from pregnant women as it may damage the male foetus.
How Generic Proscar (Finasteride) Works?
Finasteride is the only active ingredient of Proscar. This drug is a so-called anti-androgen, i.e. 5-alpha-reductase blocker that inhibits the conversion of the male hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT was found to be involved in the development of enlarged prostate also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
By decreasing the DHT levels in the blood, finasteride helps shrink an enlarged prostate and relieve associated symptoms. Therefore, this drug is in the first place used to treat symptoms of BPH in doses of 5mg daily.
Finasteride was later found to thicken the hair in BPH patients treated with this medication and a subsequent clinical study confirmed its ability to slow hair loss in more than 80% of test subjects whereas about two-thirds of them experienced a noticeable improvement in their hair loss condition, especially in the vertex and anterior mid-scalp area of their scalp.
Finasteride thus became the first oral drug ever to get approved by the FDA for the treatment of male pattern baldness in doses of 1mg daily under the trade name Propecia.
Discovery of the finasteride’s positive hair growth effects gave rise to speculations and search for alternatives amongst drugs and natural substances that were in the past used to treat urinary problems in men, especially those associated with the prostate gland enlargement.