On December 22, 1997, the FDA finally approved Propecia for treating hair loss in male candidates. This approval made Propecia the first FDA approved treatment for male hair loss that comes in pill form. The basics of Propecia are as follows: The active ingredient that is causing the hair regrowth in Propecia is finasteride. Finasteride was first approved and used in 1992 as Proscar. Proscar is a treatment used for prostate enlargement. Proscar helps suppress the formation of DHT which is the hormone thought to cause the increase in size. By treating an enlarged prostate with Proscar, the need for surgery was reduced. There is 1 mg of finasteride in Propecia (for the purpose of hair growth) and 5 mg in Proscar (for treating prostrate enlargement). While treating patients for prostate enlargement, it was noticed that their was some regrowth of hair in areas of male pattern hair loss. Being a little tongue in cheek. Its no comfort to know that the side effects of one treatment become the basis of treatment in another. In further studies, 1 mg of finasteride and demonstrated hair growth in male pattern hair loss. The number of hairs (I'm not sure if it was 4 or 6 hairs, just kidding) increased in the anterior midscalp and vertex. Patient feed back showed that there was in fact more hair regrowth with the finasteride treatment versus the sugar pill. Side effects were infrequent (it was not stated exactly what infrequent meant) and were related to sexual function. That's fantastic! So infrequently, does that mean that I will attract more of the opposite sex and then not be able to do anything with that? I'm just saying! Propecia has not and will not be marketed for women because it causes birth defects, and the safety and amounts needed have not been established in women. But its o.k. apparently for us men because we are disposable and don't give birth. Any time I see a chemical that is not advised for women because it can cause birth defects, I just have to feel that male or not, there is something going on that shouldn't be. The FDA's Dermatologic and Ophthalmic Drugs Advisory Committee sat down and had a chat about Propecia. The committee offered labeling suggestions in the context of an overall generally favorable discussion. Merck & Co. of West Point, Pa., produces both Proscar and Propecia. We all know Merck & Co. track record with lawsuits. Vioxx and the osteoporosis drug Fosamax are the first that come to mind. Almost seems to make about as much sense as trusting Exxon to handle your neighborhood environmental project. Make sure that when you start seeking treatments for hairloss and male pattern baldness that you weigh the pro's of hair regrowth with the possible health concern cons.