June 6 2012, 2:57 pm PT | Posted in: Drugs
What happens when a drug like finasteride loses its effect?
I read somewhere that when finasteride loses its effect, you will actually advance to the stage you would be at if the drug was never used in the first place. Does this apply only for the hair that was regrown, or for the hair that was maintained as well.. so that if you started using the drug at a nw2, you could rapidly become a nw4 when it loses effect?
I also read that the reason it loses effect is because the body starts producing more dht, if this theory and the above is true, wouldn’t you be even worse off than if you didn’t take anything at all, in other words completely bald before you should’ve been? I realize this might just be a crazy theory, but I would appreciate you giving a shot at it anyway.
I feel like I answer this type of question on a regular basis. The questions have little twists in them and are asked in different ways, but the answer remains the same. Male pattern baldness (MPB) or androgenic alopecia (AGA) is due to genetic causes. Men who are born with the gene will be susceptible to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Controlling the DHT levels will not stop the balding forever, since genetics will have the final say.
In the grand scheme of things your genes win out over any drug; however, I have seen some men on finasteride for 13 years and have had complete reversal of the balding in the crown without any loss of effectiveness of the drug over this period of time. If you are going to lose your hair, it will happen. Drugs such as Propecia (finasteride 1mg) will prolong the inevitable, but as we don’t always know the timeline (as in the cases where a 13 year history is available), there’s no way we can really know how long you’ll see cessation of the hair loss. So it isn’t really about finasteride that stops working, but more about you aging and the gene(s) expressing its fate. Also note that everybody responds differently to drugs.
People also ask if the body produces more or less DHT to counteract the finasteride. In an article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in 1999, they studied this very question and found that DHT levels went down under finasteride treatment at varying doses.
One of the interesting findings of this study is that the lower doses of finasteride (lower than the recommended hair loss treatment 1mg dose) shows significant reductions of DHT at the skin and blood level. This lends credence to our approach of reducing the dose (but continuing on the finasteride) when sexual or other side effects occur. The drug seems to continue to be effective at lower doses.