Is propecia worth it?
May 24, 2006 1:10 PM   Subscribe

I'm beginning to go bald (AAARGH), how useful is propecia, what are mefites experiences of using and where can I get me some in the UK?

So, I'm not really looking for advice on shaving my hair off just yet and I'm looking for alternatives. Googling about a bit seems to indicate Propecia is scientifically the best bet - however, it seems blinking expensive. Some online pharmacies offer grey market generics for much cheaper - but how can I find one that is reliable and won't just sell me really expensive asprins / take my money and run? Particularly interested to hear about people using online pharmacies to get stuff sent to the UK, but any other words of wisdom on the subject gratefully recieved...Ta!
posted by prentiz to Health & Fitness (14 answers total)
Proscar has the same active ingredient as propecia (finesteride) in pills with a 5 mg dose instead of 1 mg. So if you poke around on the net you will find accounts of people saving money by buying proscar, but you're not supposed to try and split the pills five ways. I have no idea how well it would work. I don't want to muck with my hormones just to keep from going bald
posted by exogenous at 1:16 PM on May 24, 2006

Anti-aging System is located in the UK and sells 5 mg Proscar tablets pretty cheap. I've had good results (using the split pill method), although since I don't have a twin to use as a control, I'm only speculating. My wife claims whatever hair loss I might have had has been reversed. Of course the obligatory caveats must be mentioned: I'm not a doctor, your mileage may vary, blah, blah, blah.
posted by Gamblor at 1:54 PM on May 24, 2006

Crap, I just saw that they don't ship to the UK or EU. Sorry. Still, you should be able to find somewhere outside of Europe that will ship to you. Maybe Canada?
posted by Gamblor at 1:58 PM on May 24, 2006

I used to bring a supply of Proscar back after each business trip to the States and the results were, looking back, completely indifferent and a waste of money.

I eventually gave up, accepted the inevitable (you will still go bald, no matter what any company says), and shaved my head. I know that's not what you want to hear, but it's one of the best decisions I ever made.
posted by Nugget at 2:08 PM on May 24, 2006

My dad does the same thing with Proscar and it definitely halted the progress of his balding.
posted by radioamy at 2:37 PM on May 24, 2006

exogenous' link saying to not split the pills is industry sales talk for the purpose of scaring people into paying more, not medical reality. Another scare line you'll hear is that the active ingrediant might not be evenly spread inside the tablet, despite early manufacture claims to the contrary.

(There was even a time when the manufacturers of proscar advocated buying it and splitting it - before they had propecia available on the market, now that they sell propecia, suddenly the old method is Bad[TM]. No, I haven't looked for a link to back up their former support of this method :)

Anyway, the medical risk with splitting tablets is that the hormone in even small amounts is bad news for women, and ten times worse for unborn children. The tablets are coated so that they are safe to handle, but if you cut them, it spills a little dust and fragments, and you don't want local females to come into contact with even a small amount of this, and it probably also applies to kissing soon after taking a broken tablet or tablet fragment.

IANAD, but if it helps, I've been over most of this with my doctor.

I've done the proscar thing. I cut them into quarters instead of fifths because you lose some of the tablet to fragments and dust, and cutting into quarters is much quicker and easier. I had no side effects, which I imagine is all that matters, and it seems to have helped as desired, even though I'm no-longer very good about taking it every day. I now use propecia ordered online because I'm a long way from my doctor, and haven't got around to getting a local doctor.

I also take it because of pascal's wager - if I fould out in five years that it hadn't made a whit's difference, the money lost wouldn't bother me nearly as much as not buying it and not knowing if things might have been slowed or stopped (or reversed) if I'd taken action.

Also look into an Indian generic called Finpecia. I have no idea if it is legit - go to your doctor, and ask them to find out if it is a legit drug or a scam, but it's by far the cheapest if it's legit, and I imagine it is. If you don't trust your doctor to honestly check it out for you, get another doctor.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:08 PM on May 24, 2006

In case that wasn't clear, you should talk to your doctor about it and about your options. This really is the best course. A decent doctor knows a fair bit about the best ways to get people treatment at a price they can afford, and the pros and cons of the options. If they don't know much about this specific area, get them to note your unanswered questions and call you (or some other arrangement) when they have the answers.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:15 PM on May 24, 2006

Of course YMMV, but a close friend of mine uses Propecia, and it's done wonders for his hairline over the last few years.
posted by Uccellina at 9:39 PM on May 24, 2006

I began losing my hair at seventeen. A barber told me about Propecia, so I picked up a set of bottles. You're right, the kit is bloody spendy, and you burn through it pretty quick. The treatment is a three-stage affair, and I remember the recommended dose being twice a day.

So you're spending an extra hour in the shower rubbing stuff on your head. Then there's the bottle of stuff you splash on once you're out. And you don't run out of the bottles at equal rates, so you're soon supplementing your kit with booster bottles.

It worked, for a time. Enduring an expensive pain in the ass every single day slowed the erosion of my hairline. If you can afford it and don't mind scheduling shampoo time, it might work for you, too. In time, I stopped seeing the point. I gave up on Propecia and my fading follicles.

I know you're still at that stage where a balding man wants to fight it out and salvage what's left. That's fine. Every bald man has gone through the same. But I promise you'll be happier once you let the hair leave.

Take comfort in the words of the great Telly Savalas - "God created a few beautiful heads. He covered the rest with hair." Best of luck to you and your scalp.
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:56 PM on May 24, 2006

(I am not a doctor, I am a healthcare administrator.) You need to consult your doctor. Propecia (Finasteride) is available only as a prescription-only medicine in the UK and is not available on the NHS.

My brother uses Regaine (Minoxidil) topical solution which is an over-the-counter product (again not available for NHS prescribing).
posted by boudicca at 1:50 AM on May 25, 2006

Bald guys are sooooo hot. Just thought you should know. :)
posted by FergieBelle at 5:15 AM on May 25, 2006

*agrees with FergieBelle* Just shave it all off. :)
posted by cass at 8:56 AM on May 25, 2006

I asked this same question about a year ago. The response I got from most MeFites: Fuck it. They're all to expensive. Shave your head and walk tall. I'm not quite there yet (still not sure I'm really going bald), but if I do, I'll probably heed this advice.
posted by JPowers at 6:32 PM on May 25, 2006

A little late the party, sure. I love my shaven headed man.
posted by nadawi at 2:15 AM on May 28, 2006

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