Sarah Terry brings over 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals. View Full Profile Rogaine is an over-the-counter treatment used primarily for treating androgenetic alopecia, also called male- and female-pattern baldness, and alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease. Rogaine appears to make hair shafts thicker and increase the number of hair follicles, notes the University of Michigan Health System. It is used to treat androgenetic alopecia specifically in men. It affects male hormones that cause hair loss by blocking testosterone’s conversion into dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. Both Propecia and Rogaine can cause some side effects. Rogaine can cause itching, dandruff and skin irritation, cautions the University of Michigan Health System. Finasteride (Proscar) is used alone or in combination with another medication (doxazosin [Cardura]) to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH, enlargement of the prostate gland). Finasteride is used to treat symptoms of BPH such as frequent and difficult urination and may reduce the chance of acute urinary retention (sudden inability to urinate). It also may decrease the chance that prostate surgery will be needed. Finasteride (Propecia) is also used to treat male pattern hair loss (gradual thinning of the hair on the scalp, leading to a receding hairline or balding on the top of the head in men.) Finasteride (Propecia) has not been shown to treat thinning hair at the temples and is not used to treat hair loss in women or children. Finasteride is in a class of medications called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. Finasteride treats BPH by blocking the body's production of a male hormone that causes the prostate to enlarge. Finasteride treats male pattern hair loss by blocking the body's production of a male hormone in the scalp that stops hair growth. It is usually taken once a day with or without food.
I didn't plan on taking Propecia for more than a year. Merck noted that a few men reported sexual side effects during clinical trials of the drug. For example, in Propecia clinical trials, 3.8% of men taking the drug and 2.1% of men getting an inactive placebo reported sexual problems.