Findings For Finasteride, Propecia, Proscar and Hair Replacement Surgery For Baldness

 Yul Brynner as The King of Siam

A report released today by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) found that 13,000 American men had hair replacement surgery in 2010, up by 2 percent from the previous year.

What accounts for the increase? In the past dealing with baldness often involved taking Finasteride, the prescription pill sold under brand names Propecia and Prosecar. Although The National Institute of Health reports it acts primarily by slowing hair loss rather than creating new growth, it used to be a popular option in place of surgery.

Unfortunately Finasteride has become controversial due to a recent study which found that a small number of men (71) reported sexual side effects after taking the drug. 92 percent of the men reporting side effects listed erectile dysfunction and loss of sex drive. The LA Times pointed to a previous study by the Finasteride manufacturer, Merck, which found only 8 percent of those taking the drug reported sexual side effects.

CBS News added alarm to the new findings of sexual side effects by reporting that the effects could last up to three (3) years after discontinuation of the pills.

Men discovering the information about the side effects of Finasteride decided they would rather risk hair replacement surgery than potential sexual side effects of the pills. Hair replacement surgery involves moving a skin graft from a part of the scalp with lots of hair to one that is thinning. This surgery is now the fifth most common cosmetic plastic surgical procedure in men.

Ironically, hair replacement surgery can have much more severe side effects than the sexual side effects of Finasteride.

The sexual side effects are a critical element of several class action lawsuits that have been filed both in the U.S. and Canada on behalf of male patients alleging they weren't adequately warned about the possible side effects of finasteride, both sexual and in terms of mental health. The American Bar Association Journal reports that Merck plans to vigorously defend the lawsuit.

Esquire Magazine reports that last month, researchers working at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine found that balding might be related to an issue with stem-cells. Researchers found that patches of bald scalp had the same number of stem cells as patches that had more hair. This information offers hope
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