Male Pattern Baldness, Androgenic Alopecia or Androgenetic Alopecia
Most experts believe that the effects of DHT on the hair follicles is responsible for 95% of the cases of male pattern baldness. The amount of DHT produced by the body and its effects are entirely dependent on your genetic make-up.
Two health conditions are related to higher levels of DHT:
- Male pattern baldness
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) – increase in the size of the prostate
There are two FDA approved medications that inhibit the enzyme 5α-reductase. They are commonly used to treat male pattern baldness and BPH:
1) Dutasteride – this medication is approved for BPH treatment. It is also prescribed off-label for male pattern baldness treatment.
2) Finasteride – this drug is approved for both BPH and male pattern baldness.
Dutasteride is much more potent than finasteride.
It is possible that these types of medications may have side effects that persist even after treatment is over. Researchers from the George Washington University have reported in the Journal of Sexual Medicine that Propecia (finasteride) may be linked to a side effect of sexual dysfunction, which may be permanent, i.e. the problem may persist even after the treatment is completed.
Other side effects may include erectile dysfunction, male breast cancer risk, and a diminished sex drive. Some studies suggest there may even be a higher risk of depression, memory loss and brain fog (inconclusive).