Don’t let male pattern baldness get you down. It’s time to head off hair loss with a little help from Propecia

Propecia is the branded version of the generic finasteride, a medicine used to treat hereditary hair loss (also known as male pattern baldness) in men.

Hair loss can be distressing, especially if it occurs unexpectedly or at an early age. But help is at hand – if hair loss is caused by a medical condition, then treating the medical condition can result in hair loss stopping or hair growing back.

Otherwise, there are various treatments available to help with hair loss, such as wigs, medicines and hair transplants. It's worth noting that no medicine is effective for everyone.

What is male pattern baldness?

Male pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss in men. Around half of all men experience some hair loss by the age of 50, often beginning in the late 20s or early 30s. It tends to follow a distinct pattern, beginning with a receding hairline, and progressing to thinning of hair on the temples or crown.

Male pattern baldness is hereditary – so if people in your family have experienced it, you're more likely to experience it too.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or upset about your hair loss, it’s important to reach out to your GP who’ll be able to help you through this transition.

What is Propecia?

Propecia is a prescription medicine supplied in tablet form. It works by helping to encourage the hair to grow back, while at the same time helping to prevent further hair loss. Its active ingredient is finasteride, which works by helping to block the conversion of testosterone (the primary male hormone) to dihydrotestosterone within the body. Dihydrotestosterone shrinks the hair follicles, causing the hair loss that characterises male pattern baldness.

Is Propecia suitable for me?

Propecia is formulated to treat hereditary hair loss in men aged 18 and over. It should not be taken by women as it can cause harm to an unborn baby, and clinical trials have also proven that it isn't effective in treating female pattern baldness. 

Propecia can be effective in treating mild to moderate (but not complete) male pattern hair loss. The medicine isn't designed to treat hair loss due to other causes such as stress, illness, iron deficiency or cancer treatments.

 You shouldn't take Propecia if:

• You're allergic to any of the ingredients

• You're female

• You're under 18

• You're already taking finasteride or dutasteride for the prostate problem known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

• You’re a man with a partner who is pregnant or trying to get pregnant

How do I take Propecia?

Propecia comes in tablet form, and the recommended dose is one tablet per day. It takes around three to six months of daily treatment for hair regrowth to be visible. Although the wait may be frustrating, the medicine won't work better or faster if you take more of it, so don't be tempted to exceed the recommended dose.

If you stop taking Propecia, any areas of hair regrowth will disappear in around nine to 12 months, so you'll need to keep taking it to maintain progress.

Where can I get Propecia?

Your GP can't prescribe Propecia for you on the NHS as the NHS doesn’t fund treatment for male pattern baldness, but you can discuss a private prescription. You can book a hair loss consultation in selected Boots stores (subject to pharmacist availability. Charges and eligibility criteria apply).

You can also access this medicine from the Boots Hair Loss Treatment Online Doctor. You’ll need to complete an online consultation so that one of our clinicians can see if it’s suitable for you. Our clinicians will review your answers and, if the treatment is suitable, you’ll be able to pick it up from a participating Boots pharmacy or have it delivered to you for free (subject to availability and clinician approval. Charges apply.)

*Subject to availability and clinician approval. Charges apply.

** Regaine for Men Extra Strength Scalp Foam 5% w/w Cutaneous Foam. Contains Minoxidil for treatment of male pattern baldness. Always read the label