What is Propecia?

Propecia, produced by the drug company Merck, is the only FDA approved oral medication to treat male pattern baldness in the United States. The active ingredient in Propecia is finasteride, a synthetic 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor, which inhibits the enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the active hormone that is significantly responsible for both male pattern baldness and benign prostatic hypertrophy. (MHRA Public Assessment Report, 2011.) Recent reports have chronicled Propecia’s association with loss of sexual interest and erectile dysfunction, often continuing even after the patient quits taking Propecia; in June of 2011, Merck updated its warning pamphlet to include erectile dysfunction that continues after treatment, as a reported side effect from general Finasteride use (Merck.com)


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