Finasteride is a popular 5-alpha reductase inhibitor best known by the trade names Proscar and Propecia. Both of which are manufactured by Merck. While similar in action, the two Finasteride products were developed for different reasons. Proscar first hit the market in 1992 in an effort to treat hyperplasia or prostate enlargement. The Finasteride compound would then be released in 1997 under the Propecia brand name in an effort to combat male pattern baldness. While the two common Finasteride products are similar, Proscar is much stronger and contains nearly five times the amount of Finasteride than Propecia.
Beyond the original purposes of use, in recent years Finasteride has found a welcomed home among some anabolic steroid users in an effort to combat androgenic side effects. Androgenic side effects can occur with many anabolic steroids, but with many the total androgenic action isn’t strong enough to warrant concern. Further, androgenic side effects are highly dependent on genetics; some men even with high doses of steroids associated with strong androgenicity will not fall prey to related adverse effects. Genetics truly mean everything when considering androgenic effects and the body’s response and metabolism of the androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT)
Finasteride Functions & Traits:
Finasteride is officially classified as a Type II 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. The human body carries two types of reductase enzymes, Type I and Type II with Type II being responsible for approximately 2/3 of all circulating dihydrotestosterone in the body. The Type II enzyme is primarily found in the scalp and prostate, and to a degree the skin. By introducing a Type II 5-alpha reductase inhibitor such as Finasteride, we now inhibit the 5-alpha reductase enzyme’s ability to metabolize specific hormones. In the case of Finasteride, the hormone we are trying to inhibit is DHT.
Effects of Finasteride:
The effects of Finasteride are specifically designed to inhibit the reduction of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone that occurs due to the testosterone hormone being metabolized by the 5-alpha reductase enzyme. When we inhibit DHT, this can protect against hair loss. DHT has the ability to deteriorate the hair follicles, but when the effects of Finasteride are present this can reverse the problem or rather prevent it. High levels of DHT can also lead to prostate enlargement, a far more concerning issue than hair loss. The effects of Finasteride are so strong on the prostate data has shown that 6 months of Finasteride therapy can significantly to even completely reduce prostate enlargement.
When examining the effects of Finasteride, we must look at them a little differently when considering its use with anabolic steroids. Many anabolic steroids are already DHT based; steroids like Oxymetholone (Anadrol), Methenolone (Primobolan) and Stanozolol (Winstrol) are DHT derived anabolic steroids. There is nothing for the 5-alpha reductase enzyme to metabolize, and as a result, nothing for a related inhibitor like Finasteride to inhibit. Then we have testosterone derived anabolic steroids, and this is where the effects of Finasteride can prove useful to the anabolic steroid user. However, this will only apply to specific testosterone derived anabolic steroids, specifically Testosterone (all forms), Methyltestosterone (Metandren) and Fluoxymesterone (Halotestin).
When high levels of testosterone are present in the body, there is more of the hormone to be metabolized by the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, and as a result, potentially a larger buildup of DHT. This can promote androgenic effects that can be combated by the effects of Finasteride. This can protect against hair loss and prostate enlargement, but with hair loss it’s only a benefit for those predisposed to male pattern baldness. If you are not predisposed, hair loss is impossible. If you are predisposed, you’re going to lose your hair at some point no matter what you do, but the high levels of DHT may speed up the process. The use of Finasteride in this capacity can also help with acne that sometimes occurs due to a strong androgenic atmosphere. However, once again we’re only talking about those who are genetically sensitive. If you are not generally sensitive to acne it is unlikely any acne will occur to begin with.
The effects of Finasteride can help reduce the relative androgenicity of the anabolic steroidal hormones mentioned above, Testosterone, Methyltestosterone and Fluoxymesterone. However, Finasteride will not completely reduce the hormone’s androgenicity, but it will have a significant effect. If you are very sensitive to androgenic side effects, you may want to consider avoiding strong androgenic steroids. As a male, you will still need exogenous testosterone if you’re going to supplement with anabolic steroids, but you’ll want to keep it at a minimal level. For such individuals, you will find steroids like Anavar, Equipoise and Deca Durabolin to be far friendly regarding androgenic side effects.
It should also be noted that Finasteride can actually enhance the androgenicity of certain steroids, Nandrolone and any Nandrolone derivative such as Trenbolone being primary. Finasteride and all 5-alpha reductase inhibitors should be avoided when using such steroids. It is also important to remember that the use of Finasteride will have no effect on DHT derived anabolic steroids; again, there is nothing for the enzyme to metabolize and therefore nothing to inhibit. If specific DHT steroids are a problem for you due to the androgenic effects or steroids like Trenbolone, which is highly androgenic, you may want to avoid such steroids.
Side Effects of Finasteride:
Finasteride is generally well tolerated by most men, but moderate to severe androgen imbalances are possible due to use. The most common side effects of Finasteride will surround sexual performance. Of those who use the inhibitor, 6% will notice a decrease in their libido while 8% may suffer from impotence. Some men may also find they suffer from ejaculation disorders and very low ejaculate volume; however, such side effects of Finasteride are rare. Some men, although extremely rare have reported to show gynecomastia symptoms, and in extremely rare cases rashes.
Of the possible side effects of Finasteride, the most severe revolve around women and pregnancy. Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant must avoid contact with this compound at all cost. Men who use Finasteride should ensure their female counterparts do not come into contact with the compound. Finasteride can absorb through the skin, and even at a minimal amount this can cause significant damage to a male fetus. Data has also shown that Finasteride may be present in semen; the rate of absorption is unknown, but we do know that some is passed during intercourse. Men who use Finasteride will necessarily need to use condoms or avoid all sexual activity with women who may become pregnant. Failure to abide by this rule may lead to severe damage to the unborn child.
For the purpose of combating hair loss, standard Finasteride doses will be 1mg per day with Finasteride doses reaching 5mg per day in order to combat prostate enlargement. For the purpose of combating the androgenic side effects of specific anabolic steroid use, Finasteride doses will be 1mg per day during steroid use.
While Finasteride use can be beneficial during anabolic steroid use, keep in mind it only works for the steroids discussed above. Further, the use of Finasteride along with Testosterone, Methyltestosterone or Fluoxymesterone can severely diminish the results and effectiveness of such steroids. This will lead the individual to only use the inhibitor when absolutely necessary; if not, there really is no point in his anabolic steroid use. It should also be noted, while Finasteride will have no affect on DHT compounds and can increase the androgenicity of Nandrolone and Trenbolone, it will have a very moderate to no androgenic reducing effect on Boldenone (Equipoise) and Methandrostenolone (Dianabol).
Finasteride is a very effective 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, one of the best if not the very best. However, due to the androgen imbalance that is possible due to use it is generally recommended that it is only used when absolutely necessary. A prime example of necessary use would be in the fight against prostate enlargement, which it is very effective at combating. For those who are fighting genetic hair loss, it can help, but the androgen imbalance may make you feel a little off for lack of a better word. Then we’re left with the anabolic steroid user, and there’s something important that needs to be said. If you’re going to supplement with anabolic steroids you need to recognize that the androgenicity of these hormones can be a risk. It’s generally not a risk to the individual’s health; prostate enlargement is rare unless insane doses are applied or a prior underlying issue exists. However, for the healthy adult male, if he is sensitive to issues like acne and hair loss Finasteride can help but only with a few specific steroids and even then it will significantly weaken those steroids. In the end, it’s best to accept such related possible effects; those who aren’t sensitive shouldn’t have a problem to begin with or to simply avoid anabolic steroid supplementation.