Trump Revelation Prompts Fear Mongering About Finasteride
President’s Daily Dose of Propecia an Indication of the Hair Loss Treatment’s Widespread Acceptance
There are pros and cons to having a President who cares about hair loss. The biggest pro is that the subject of hair loss treatments come out of the shadows to be discussed openly. The biggest con is that politics can seep into everything and politically motivated people will go out of their way to stir up fear and anxiety.
Earlier in February we learned the not-so-shocking news that President Trump takes finasteride – commonly known by the brand name Propecia. Anyone with eyesight should know that the President has been concerned about his hair loss for as long as he has been a public figure, which goes back decades. We previously wrote about it in the story, “Donald Trump Suspected in (Hair) Cover-Up.”
Merck originally marketed finasteride under the brand name “Proscar,” and it had nothing to do with hair loss. Instead, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it for the treatment of enlarged prostate glands in men. It was during clinical trials that researchers found men taking Proscar were experiencing hair growth, which was completely unexpected. They had stumbled upon one of the most effective medical hair loss treatments ever developed!
It turned out that finasteride blocks an enzyme that is needed to produce dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is linked to male pattern baldness. After further refinements, Merck introduced Propecia for the treatment of hair loss. Compared to Proscar, Propecia is a lower dose of finasteride. It was 20 years ago – in 1997 – that the FDA approved Propecia.
For more basics about finasteride, watch the video below, “Finasteride Offers Advantages for Stabilizing Hair Loss.”
Twenty years later, literally millions of patients have been treated with Propecia, and now we know the leader of the free world is among them. So why is Dr. Harold N. Bornstein’s disclosure of the President’s daily dosage cause for concern?
We at Arocha Hair Restoration are worried that the tone of the news reports may be unfairly raising concerns about the potential down sides of using Propecia. So here are some facts that we know:
- Propecia works for the vast majority of male patients. In men taking Propecia daily, DHT levels are reduced by as much as 60 percent. More than 85 percdent of men who take Propecia experience a slowing of hair loss, and almost two-thirds see a substantial regrowth of hair.
- Propecia is simple. It comes in the form of a tablet that you take once a day.
Despite these benefits, it is important to understand the potential drawbacks of using propecia:
- Propecia is not a permanent cure. If you stop taking it, you can expect any hair you have gained to fall out within a year, and your hair loss to progress.
- Propecia can change decrease PSA levels. This is commonly measured during prostate cancer screening, so the lower levels could give an inaccurate reading unless your doctor is aware you are taking Propecia. Be sure to disclose all your medications to your doctor.
- Additionally, researchers have found that some men experience adverse side effects when taking Propecia. Potential side effects include decreased libido, erectile dysfunction and decreased ejaculate volume. Clinical tests found that the incidence of these side effects was relatively low – about one of every 50 users – but it is something we explain to patients and monitor regularly as they are being treated.
While the article, “The (Not So Hard) Truth About Hair Loss Drugs,” in Men’s Journal repeats claims found on Internet chatboards that Propecia can cause depression, insomnia, confusion and even suicidal thoughts, there is no research to date that substantiates these claims.
The most important advice we can offer patients experiencing hair loss is that there are pros and cons to every treatment option. Each patient should consult with his doctor and educate himself about what to expect and watch for potential side effects. And before you clean out your medicine cabinet, recognize that some of those raising questions about finasteride are simply trying to stir up trouble for the President without regard for how their fear mongering might impact other patients using the treatment.
If you live in the Dallas, Houston, or Austin area, and hair restoration is something that you’ve been considering exploring medical treatment such as Propecia, call us today at 713-526-HAIR to schedule a consultation with Dr. Arocha. Before you know it, you can enjoy a completely natural looking, full head of hair.