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Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration
Hair Restoration Answers

Are Lab Tests Required Before Starting Propecia?

Q: I had a good friend get a transplant at your practice and it seems that your practice is the industry leader in hair transplantation. I may one day be looking for one. That being said, my friend said I shouldn’t trust anyone else. I wanted to know if you may be able to tell me what tests/specific labs you have your patients do prior to starting Propecia. I am having my doctor put me on it but he does not recommend any labs but I don’t trust this. So I’m not looking for medical advice, just what your practice may advise a patient to get (in terms of labs/blood tests) prior to starting Propecia. I’m really hoping you can help as I have already contacted a number of other sources and can’t seem to get an answer. — M.B. ~ Upper East Side, N.Y.

A: Blood tests are not required before starting finasteride and we do not routinely perform them. If a patient requests test then Total and Free Testosterone, DHT, and Prolactin are reasonable to obtain, but there is no consensus on what the appropriate tests might be. If a patient requests tests because he has symptoms (i.e. such as lack of energy associated with low T), he should see his internist, urologist, or GP. That said, patients 50 and over (40 and over in patients with a high risk of developing prostate cancer) should have a PSA before starting finasteride.

Read more about Propecia (Finasteride)

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Hair Restoration Research

High-Grade Prostate Cancer Risk Increases in Heavy Drinkers Who Take Dutasteride

A new 4-year study, published in the journal European Urology, found that men who take dutasteride (part of a class of medications called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors) and who also drink heavily (more than seven alcoholic drinks per week) have a greater risk of developing high-grade prostate cancer than men who take dutasteride and do not drink.

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Hair Restoration Research

Study: Finasteride Does Not Increase Mortality From Prostate Cancer

The results of an 18-year study, just published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that finasteride does not increase the likelihood of death from prostate cancer in men who take the drug. Early results from the same study had suggested that finasteride might increase the risk of developing higher grade tumors; however, follow-up results from the long-term study show that men taking the drug do not have an increased risk.

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Hair Restoration Research

Early Baldness May Suggest Prostate Cancer Risk

A study of Australian men between the ages of 40 and 69 suggests that men who were mostly bald by the age of 40 were more likely to develop prostate cancer in their 50s or 60s. The Melbourne Collaborative Cohort study of about 10,000 men showed that men who have high levels of testosterone may be more vulnerable to cancerous prostate tumors.

The team of scientists that conducted the long-term study, which was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, reported that both baldness and prostate cancer are age-related and androgen dependent conditions, so these findings are not surprising. The statement said, “We found that baldness at the age of 40 might be a marker of increased risk of prostate cancer.”

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Hair Restoration Answers

Can Hair Loss Treatment with Propecia Affect Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Level?

Q: I have been on Propecia for approximately 5 years. What does Propecia do to your PSA level, lower it or make it higher? Also, what would you consider a normal level while on Propecia? — H.K., Long Island City, N.Y.

A: Finasteride 1mg a day lowers your PSA around 50%. Therefore, when patients are taking finasteride, the PSA reading should be doubled.

Finasteride does not appear to decrease the sensitivity of the PSA test to detect prostate cancer – its main purpose.

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