I am 25 years old and I have been researching hair restoration for about a year. Recently, I have been hearing that you have to take a Propecia if you have a hair transplant. I don’t want to take Propecia because of the side effects. Do I still have to take Propecia?
The internet is littered with all kinds of horror stories about Propecia (finasteride). There seems to be two camps those who are pro-finasteride and those anti-finasteride. It is no secret that Propecia (finasteride) can cause some serious side effects. However, how prevalent are side effects amongst those use the medication daily? Well, the answer isn’t necessarily clear. If you were to go by anonymous reports on the internet, the incidence rate seems high. Conversely, if you were go to by clinical studies performed by the pharmaceutical company the incidence rate is very low. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle.
Now to answer the question; no you don’t have to take Propecia (finasteride) in order to have a hair transplant. However, surgical hair restoration does not prevent, slow, or even stop the progression of hair loss. Therefore, genetic hair loss will continue to spread and get worse over time if left untreated. To date, Propecia (finasteride) is the most effective treatment for hereditary hair loss. It is crucial to stabilize hair loss prior to undergoing surgery. In some cases, the rate of hair loss can be so rapid that more hair is lost than new hair is transplanted. Thus, leaving the patient looking worse than they did before surgery.
Moreover, the risk of permanent shock loss is more prevalent in those who do not take finasteride. For the majority of patients shock loss is a temporary condition that resolves on it’s own. However, shock loss can become permanent for some patients. For this reason, hair transplant surgeons feel it is best if patients take Propecia (finasteride) prior to surgery to strengthen the native (non-transplanted) hair.
Written and published by,
Melvin- Editorial Assistant and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network and The Coalition of Independent Hair Restoration Physicians