Propecia for Women
Because Propecia did not show any benefit when tested in women and can be dangerous to pregnant women, it is not approved by the FDA for any use in females. However, some women use Propecia "off-label" for uses such as the treatment of hirsutism and female pattern baldness.
Women and Propecia: An Overview
Propecia® (finasteride) is a prescription medication that has been licensed to treat male pattern baldness (known medically as androgenetic alopecia) in men only. It is not approved for any use in women, for several reasons. One reason is that when tested in women, Propecia did not show any benefit. The second reason is the fact that Propecia can be dangerous to pregnant women.
While Propecia is not approved for any use in women, there are some "off-label" uses of Propecia in women, including:
- Treatment of female pattern baldness
- Treatment of hirsutism (excess body and facial hair) in women.
Does Propecia Work for Women?
There has been one clinical study that looked at using Propecia for female pattern baldness in postmenopausal women. This study did not show any difference for the women taking Propecia compared with the women who did not take Propecia. This could mean one of two things: either Propecia does not work for women, or the study did not look at enough women to be able to detect a difference.
Several studies have been conducted that looked at Propecia for hirsutism (excess body and facial hair) in women. While some of these studies showed that Propecia may be helpful for hirsutism, most of the studies were too small to tell if the drug was safe for women.
For both hirsutism and female pattern baldness in women, Propecia is considered an "off-label" use. An off-label use is when a prescription medicine is used to treat a disease or condition for which the drug has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although the FDA regulates how a medication can be advertised or promoted by the manufacturer, these regulations do not restrict a doctor's ability to prescribe the medication for different conditions, in different doses, or for different lengths of time. The practice of prescribing medication for periods of time or for conditions not FDA-approved is known as "off-label" use. Your healthcare provider will prescribe a medicine for off-label use when he or she feels that the medicine is appropriate for your situation.
While such use often occurs in the treatment of many conditions, you should feel comfortable about asking your doctor if he or she is using a medication or combination of medications in a manner that is not approved by the FDA.