Propecia is the only FDA approved oral drug for treating male pattern baldness. It appears to be the most powerful treatment currently available for treating hair loss in men. Clinical evidence largely supports this claim. The sole active ingredient of Propecia is called finasteride and it works by inhibiting conversion of testosterone into follicle harming dihydrotestoterone (DHT). Propecia can only be used by adult men. In many countries of the world generic finasteride is available under numerous other trade names. Finasteride is only available on prescription which putts off many patients. In addition, Propecia (finasteride) is often associated with causing negative side effects that discourage many patients from trying it. The originator of Propecia claims that side effects only occur in 0.5% of patients but consumer feedback from various hair loss forums indicates that this percentage might be higher. Overemphasizing the negative side effects of Propecia is a common tactic used by the marketers of natural hair loss products.
Several generic topical lotions are using finasteride (generic Propecia) as their main active ingredient claiming good results. The big question mark is the effective localized delivery of finasteride. In one recent study in vitro topically administered liposomal encapsulated finasteride was shown to be an effective vehicle of delivery. In another recently-published human study, topical finasteride was shown to be as effective in treating male pattern baldness as oral administration of the drug. Topical application of finasteride is hoped by many to yield superior results versus the currently-used oral form, improving the drug's efficacy and reducing its side effects. However, most of the currently-available preparations are not believed to deliver on this expectation.