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Dermatol Ther. 2018 Sep 25:e12647. doi: 10.1111/dth.12647. [Epub ahead of print]

Controversies in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: The history of finasteride.

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Applied Biology, Inc., Irvine, California.
Department of Dermatology and Venereology, University Hospital Center Sestre Milosrdnice, Zagreb, Croatia.
Department of Dermatology, LTM Medical College & Hospital Sion, Mumbai, India.


Male androgenetic alopecia (AGA) affects up to 60% of men by the age of 50. Currently, there are only two approved drugs for the treatment of male AGA: topical minoxidil and oral finasteride. Topical minoxidil is readily available over the counter and has a well-established safety record. However, following 24 weeks of treatment, less than 40% of men respond to the drug. Additionally, due to the topical route of administration, compliance with minoxidil remains low. In contrast, oral finasteride, a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, demonstrated efficacy in arresting hair loss in more than 80% of patients following 12 months of treatment. However, controversy surrounding potential adverse sexual side effects has negatively affected public perception of the drug and may significantly reduce the number of patients that can benefit from the drug.


androgenetic alopecia; finasteride; sexual dysfunction


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