The History of Finasteride (Propecia): From Discovery to Approval

The Discovery of Finasteride (Propecia)

The discovery of Finasteride (Propecia) began in 1975. Scientists at Merck, a drug manufacturer, found that a certain compound, 17α-methyl-5α-androstan-17β-ol-3-one, had anti-androgenic effects. This compound was tested on a variety of rodents and successfully lowered serum dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels, leading to the discovery of Finasteride.

Testing and Approval of Finasteride (Propecia)

Clinical trials for the use of Finasteride for the treatment of male pattern hair loss began in 1992. After testing and evaluating the drug’s effectiveness over a three-year period, Finasteride was approved by the FDA in 1997 for the treatment of male pattern hair loss.

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Health Benefits of Finasteride (Propecia)

Finasteride is a very effective treatment for male pattern hair loss and is a safe and effective way to slow down the progression of hair loss and even regrow some hair. Additionally, studies have found that long-term use of Finasteride (Propecia) can reduce the risk of developing certain types of prostate cancer. Regular use of Finasteride has also been known to prevents further hair loss and improve overall hair health.
History Finasteride

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What is the mechanism of action of finasteride?

Finasteride is a 5α-reductase inhibitor which works by blocking the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT, which is an androgen hormone, is believed to be the main cause of benign prostate enlargement (BPH). By blocking the enzyme 5α-reductase, finasteride prevents the conversion of testosterone to DHT, thus reducing the DHT levels in the body. As a result, it decreases the size of the enlarged prostate, improves urinary symptoms, and reduces the risk of the need for surgery.
History Finasteride
Additionally, by decreasing DHT levels in the scalp it can slow the progression of male pattern hair loss and even promote hair regrowth. Finasteride can also be used to treat hirsutism in women.
History Finasteride

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What are the potential side effects of finasteride?

The most common side effects of finasteride include: decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, decreased ejaculate volume, breast tenderness or enlargement, dizziness, headache, and rash. Less common side effects may include depression, anxiety, and testicular pain. If symptoms persist, seek medical advice.