1. How accurate are online Propecia reviews?
  2. What about the clinical trials?
  3. When should I speak to my doctor?

There are several products and treatments available for male pattern hair loss. As we’ve discussed elsewhere, these include Propecia (finasteride), Regaine (minoxidil, also known as Rogaine) and caffeine shampoo. Hair transplant surgery and laser therapy are also options some men experiencing hair loss may turn to.

With an array of cosmetics, medicines and therapies available, it’s natural to want to find out more before embarking on any one particular course. Some men may conduct their own research online before speaking to their doctor or specialist, and read user reviews of the treatment they’re considering.

Reading medicine reviews online however needs to be undertaken with caution, for reasons which we will discuss here.

Online Propecia reviews for instance, may give an insight into how effective the drug has been for others, and whether or not it has resulted in side effects. But no two people are the same; how well it works will vary according to the individual.

When considering a treatment then, particularly for the first time, it is imperative to speak to a doctor. They will be able to make an assessment on whether the drug is suitable based on a patient’s individual medical profile.

Online Propecia reviews: how accurate a picture do they paint?

It’s difficult to determine how effective a medicine is through reading online reviews alone. This is because people who have had a particularly good or particularly bad experience may be more likely to post a review than those who have had an average response. This means that online reviews might give a distorted view of a medicine, and may draw the reader to make conclusions about it which are not entirely accurate.

If you do read a medicine review online, it’s important to look at the website hosting it, and the processes if follows before allowing reviews to be published. Is it open access? Are reviews screened before they are put online? Does the site verify user IPs, in order to prevent multiple posts from the same person under different names? Is content on the website supervised or curated by a medical professional?

What about clinical trials?

Clinical trials are widely held to be more comprehensive and balanced when it comes to assessing the performance of a medicine. These are carried out in a controlled environment, and collate data from a larger, more representative population. So they are more likely to give a realistic indicator of efficacy and the prevalence of side effects than a collection of user reviews.

In the patient information leaflet for a medicine, updated information will be added on a periodic basis as it becomes available. So if any side effects are reported after the clinical trial process, once the medicine has gone to market, these will appear in the leaflet, as well as in the summary of product characteristics.

Information in medicine leaflets is typically presented in a manner which is easy to consume. However, one drawback of reading clinical trial results is that the findings may not be presented in a manner easy for the layperson to understand. Statistical or medical terminology may be used to report the results, which might make interpretation to someone who isn’t a scientist or a mathematician difficult.

You can read information about clinical trials undertaken with a medicine in the summary of product characteristics.

Getting advice from your doctor

Reading Propecia reviews online may be able to give you an idea of the experiences other people have had; whereas clinical trials will offer a more objective and detailed overview of the performance of a treatment.

But for anyone considering taking Propecia for the first time, it is important to speak to a doctor. As well as being able to review your suitability for Propecia based on your medical history and overall health, they will be in a position to offer some insight into how effective it is, and advise you on the risks of any side effects.

Page last reviewed:  27/07/2018