What to expect if you stop taking finasteride for hair loss
If you’re taking finasteride for treating hair loss, you’ll want an answer to one question: Will my hair start falling again if I stop taking finasteride? You wonder whether taking finasteride permanently stops hair thinning.
Before we answer the question, let’s understand how this drug works.
Explaining finasteride in a nutshell
This drug helps treat male pattern hair loss by boosting hair growth on the scalp. Finasteride stops testosterone from getting converted to dihydrotestosterone or DHT — the male sex hormone that causes baldness.
Research reveals that if 1 mg of finasteride is consumed every day, the DHT levels on the scalp will go down by 75 percent. And low DHT levels slows down or stops hair loss in men. Like finasteride, many DHT-blocking drugs belong to a medication category, which is known as 5-ARIs or 5α-reductase inhibitors.
Now that you have an idea about finasteride, let’s understand what happens to your hair when you stop taking this drug.
Is finasteride a long-term hair-loss solution?
The short answer is no. Since finasteride works by stopping the conversion of a specific male hormone to DHT, it only prevents hair loss until it’s present in your body. Whenever you stop consuming finasteride, your body once again starts converting testosterone to DHT. And when your body starts generating DHT again, your hair follicles will become weak and fall.
For men belonging to the age bracket of 18-60 years, the drug has a half-life of close to six hours; that period goes up to eight hours for someone who’s 70 or above. A half-life that lasts for a couple of hours means that the drug has to be taken every day for being effective. If, however, you stop taking the drug, the medication’s dose will slowly excrete from your body in a matter of days.
In case you’re genetically prone to get male pattern baldness, stopping the drug will help in DHT formation — which will eventually affect your hair follicles. This way, stopping finasteride may result in hair thinning on your scalp, a new kind of male pattern baldness, or hairline recession.
Long story short: If you stop taking this particular drug on a daily basis, you’ll quickly lose the amount of hair you may have gained in nearly one year. Remember, finasteride isn’t a cure for baldness. Rather, the consumption of this drug is a treatment that you’ll have to continue if you want to put an end to hair loss for the time being.
By now, you know that this drug is only effective till the time you consume it. So, “is it really safe to consume this drug in the long run? Let’s find out.
Finasteride’s long-term consumption
As finasteride prevents hair loss while it’s still there in your body, you may have to consume it every day. But the question is, how safe is it to consume this drug on a daily basis?
The truth is, many men may end up taking finasteride for a lot of years. As of now, there are studies showing that it’s safe to consume this drug over a long period. A case in point: a Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial study analyzed up to 19,000 men who took finasteride for 7 years; the study discovered that there’s very little need to worry about the drug’s long-term effects.
Other similar studies also said that a person will tolerate a 1-mg dose of the drug for five years.
The side effects of taking Finasteride
Like many prescription medications, finasteride has side effects. Sexual dysfunction is one of the most common side effects of the drug. During the drug’s clinical trial, about 1.3 percent of men experienced a sort of erectile dysfunction. On the other hand, 1.8 percent of the men experienced a drop in their sexual drive. Last, 1.2 percent of the men found that their ejaculation level took a hit.
Less than 1 percent of men who participated in the study reported having rashes and breast tenderness. A huge number of men who used to consume finasteride said that the side effects stopped when they stopped taking the drug. However, a small fraction of men said that they still experience the drug’s side effects even after they’ve stopped consuming it.
And the research regarding finasteride’s side effects is ongoing, so nothing’s set in stone at the moment.
Summing it up
All in all, when you stop taking finasteride, your hair will start falling like the way it did before you went on this drug. The drug works only till the time it’s in your body. That means once the drug is completely flushed out of your system, hair loss will happen once again.
If you’re experiencing any sort of side effects after consuming the drug, then they’ll naturally stop once you stop taking the drug. Nonetheless, you need to be well-aware of the long-term side effects of consuming finasteride.
If you’re on the fence about taking finasteride or if you’re experiencing any kind of side effects from the drug, it’s always better to consult a doctor.