I'm considering taking Finasteride to halt hair loss. What should I do to monitor side effects?

Routine blood tests, hormone tests, etc. I was prescribed Proscar for hairloss without taking into account my present hormone levels, etc. Is this necessary?

Doctor Answers 2

Prescribing finasteride

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Great question!

In general, we don't measure hormone levels in men starting finasteride (Propecia). It's true that the drug lowers Dihydrotestosterone levels by 50-60% but most physicians don't typically get a baseline DHT. 

Routine blood work is not necessary for most men with typical genetic hair loss. However, if some piece of information is discovered while a physician meets with the patient, some blood tests might be considered. 

Side effects of finasteride need to be carefully reviewed with patients. So you will want to make sure you sit down with your physician to go over all "potential" side effects, review how common (or uncommon) they are and decide together if you want to start

Once you know all the side effects you can simply monitor how you feel. Side effects (for men) include;
  1. Impotence
  2. Decreased libido (sex drive)
  3. Mood changes (depression)
  4. Testicular pain
  5. Lower sperm count
  6. Enlargement of breast tissue
There is no clear evidence that the drug increases a man's risk of breast or prostate cancer but you will want to review this data with your physician

Vancouver Dermatologist

Side effects of Finasteride for hair loss

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Primarily monitor yourself for change in libido. The physician prescribing finastride should review everything with you.

David P. Melamed, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.