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What are the Dangers of Propecia During Pregnancy?

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Name: Marco

Question: Can you explain the dangers in taking Propecia and pregnancy. Does the man always have to wear a condom even if you are not having a family?

male-hair-loss-treatment-during-pregnancyAnswer: Hi, Marco. Currently, Propecia is only licensed for use in men experiencing male pattern baldness. The reason why it is not licensed as a hair loss treatment for women is twofold:

  • The active ingredient in Propecia (finasteride 1mg – Propecia is one of many brand names the drug goes by) can cause abnormalities in an unborn child.
  • Studies have not proven that Propecia has the same benefits for women with regards to hair loss, as it does for men.

As long as the man is not planning a family he does not need to use a condom while taking Propecia, provided some other method of contraception is being used. We advise those who are planning a family to cease use of Propecia one week prior to trying, since it takes 7 days for Propecia to leave the system.

Despite the fact that any residue from finasteride 1mg may be passed onto a woman through the semen, she will not be in any medical danger if she is not pregnant. Sometimes though, “accidents” happen, but the amount of finasteride present in the semen would be so small that it is still unlikely to affect the foetus. Provided there is no continued exposure – the man stops using Propecia for the duration of the pregnancy and the breastfeeding stage – there is little likelihood of abnormality. In fact there have been no documented incidents of abnormalities in such cases.

The reason why finasteride is harmful to unborn children, particularly in the male foetus, is due to the fact that it inhibits the creation of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This biologically active hormonal metabolite is most essential during the development stages of the foetus and in the masculinisation process of boys during puberty.

During adult life, however, DHT – the by-product of testosterone – has little importance other than in the maintenance of sexual hair and having a causative role in acne, prostatic enlargement and genetic hair loss. This is why it is also illegal to issue finasteride 1mg to men under the age of 18.

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4th June, 2009 at 2:49 pm


Thank you for that. Why though have the chemists at Boots told me that I must wear a condom all the time and that it takes 3 months for the medicine to leave the system? They had a very different opinion. If I start the course and have unprotected sex now, will that affect the foetus, or will it only affect the foetus if my partner stops taking the pill? It would be very helpful if you could explain it to me and would put myself and my partner at ease.

4th June, 2009 at 2:50 pm


I have conferred with our pharmacist (who is registered with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society), and we can safely overrule what Boots pharmacist told you: “I am not sure what the Pharmacist at Boots bases their information on. It is a fact that Propecia has a half life of 6-8 hours. Therefore, it should be totally eliminated from the system after 7 days of not taking the drug. Conception after this time should be perfectly safe.” If you start the course and have unprotected sex now - yes it can affect the foetus if your partner is currently pregnant. It will not affect your partner if she stops taking the pill provided she is not pregnant. Clearly, there will be no foetus to affect since she is not pregnant. If your partner is not on the pill, she can fall pregnant. If you were to take Propecia, you would need to use condoms so she does not fall pregnant while you are taking the treatment.

27th February, 2010 at 1:25 am


My partner has just found out she is pregnant even while on the pill. We weren't planning it and I was taking propecia and we have had intercourse since, while she has been pregnant. Everything I read is vague about the dangers of propecia in semen whilst a women is pregnant. Please give me the facts so I can understand the risks.

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