For the longest time, you were suspicious, but now you are positive that you are losing hair. Whether your hair is receding, or you are developing a bald spot on your crown, hair loss is not something that you would like to talk about publicly. The good news is there are medications that can help you combat your hair loss. A lot of men have been using Finasteride for hair loss, and it helps them to regrow hair. Let us find out what this medication is, how to use it, and what are the potential side effects of Finasteride for hair loss.
What types of hair loss can be treated?
If you only lose between 50 to 100 hair, that is normal, but losing a significant amount of hair needs attention. There are several different types and causes of hair loss; for example, your physical condition, stress level, nutrition, and many other factors can affect hair loss.
Androgenic Alopecia or Male pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss in men. The leading cause of male pattern baldness is genetic, so if your father or uncle is bold or they have started losing hair at a young age, you may want to pay more attention to your hair. Other common types of hair loss include Telogen Effluvium, which is a temporary form of hair loss and usually happens when people are under severe stress; once the pressure is gone, most men grow their hair back. Sometimes autoimmune diseases such as Alopecia areata can cause hair loss as well. In this case, your immune system starts attacking the hair follicles. In people with autoimmune disease, sometimes using topical products can help reduce hair loss.
Hair is made in follicles, and it usually is growing from each follicle for about three years. In people with Male Pattern Boldness, the natural hair growth cycle starts to weaken, and your follicles begin to shrink, which eventually makes your hair thinner, weaker, shorter, and after a while hair growth stops.
Scientists still have not found the exact cause of male pattern baldness, but they know it is related to the hormone in our body called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Most medications that can prevent the formation of DHT will help with stopping hair loss that is due to male pattern baldness.
Finasteride vs. Propecia
Technically Finasteride and Propecia are the same hair loss treatment. Finasteride is the generic form of the branded Propecia. The generic version (Finasteride) has the same exact active ingredient, dosage (1 mg), and route of administration (oral) as the branded one (Propecia). The only difference could be the inactive ingredients of Finasteride vs. Propecia, which does not have any effect on hair loss treatment.
Propecia is manufactured by Merck, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. Propecia for treatment of male pattern baldness includes 1 mg of Finasteride.
Propecia was developed in the 70s and 80s as a treatment for prostate enlargement. The FDA approved it in 1992 with the name Proscar. Proscar contains 5mg of Finasteride.
In 1997, the FDA approved Propecia (1 mg Finasteride) for the treatment of male pattern baldness.
Generic Propecia has become available after the Merck patent on Propecia was expired. Generic Propecia provides the same exact treatment as the branded one as its mechanism of action is identical.
The only difference between the branded and generic version of Propecia is the price which we are going to discuss later.
Is Finasteride effective for hair loss?
Finasteride (generic for Propecia) is one of the few FDA-approved products for hair loss treatment. Finasteride is part of the group of medications known as a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor, meaning that it prevents the conversion of testosterone to DHT, which is known to be the leading cause for male pattern baldness.
A five-year study of the efficacy of Finasteride in men with male pattern boldness showed improvement in 90% of participants.
Finasteride for hair loss dosage
Finasteride comes in 1 mg table that you need to take it by mouth daily with or without food. Read the instruction before you start taking Finasteride. If the tablets are crushed or broken, they should not be handled by a pregnant woman or a woman who is trying to get pregnant.
It is designed for long term use, so do not expect to see hair growth after a few weeks of using Finasteride. You may not even see any significant results for several months after taking it but be patient, and the results will appear. Most men who used Finasteride for a long time have reported growth in hair as well as improvement in hair quality.
Be consistent with Finasteride if you want to see the results and use it at the same time each day. Finasteride has a half-life of five or six hours, so if you leave it too long between dosage, the concentration of Finasteride lowers in your body, and this will stop the medication from working effectively.
It usually takes at least three months for Finasteride to be effective. When you stop taking Finasteride, any hair gain will be gone within 12 months.
The easiest way to get your Finasteride is online. There are telemedicine companies that you can contact them from the comfort of your home.
In order to get prescribed Finasteride, you need to fill out the health questioner and their licensed physician will review it. After that, if the doctors believe this is going to help you with hair loss, they will prescribe it for you.
Can you speed the Finasteride up?
Unfortunately, no. There is no quick way for Finasteride to work. You need to be very patient and consistent with this drug because you may have to take it for several months before seeing any results.
Trying to increase your dose will NOT speed up the process, and it could possibly be harmful to your body as you may observe some side effects.
You may also have seen a higher concentration of this product (5mg); this concentration is not prescribed for hair loss treatment. This dosage is for patients with an enlarged prostate which could potentially reduce the need for prostate surgery in them.
Finasteride for hair loss side effects
Keep in mind that all drugs come with a risk of side effects; Finasteride is not an exception either. Even though the adverse effects of Finasteride are not very common, it is good to know what they are before taking Finasteride.
Some of the Side effects include:
- Breast enlargement and tenderness
- Mental fogginess
- Erectile dysfunction
- Lower ejaculation volume
If you notice any pain or lumps in your breast area or any discharge from your nipples, you should consult with your physician. In rare cases, there have been reports of breast cancer in men taking Finasteride.
With most sexual side effects, doctors recommend avoiding NSAIDS (Aleve, Advil, Motrin, etc.) while you are taking Finasteride as it could increase the occurrence of sexual dysfunction when the two are taken at the same time.
Finasteride side effects disappear once you stop taking the medication. In rare cases, men experienced side effects even after stopping treatment. In very rare cases, there is also an increased risk of getting prostate cancer. Also, if you have chronic liver disease, you should not take Finasteride.
How long does it take for Finasteride to work for hair loss?
It usually takes about three months before you see any results from taking Finasteride for hair loss treatment as the improvement happens very slowly. You should expect to see some growth during the first 12 months of taking Finasteride. If it has been more than a year that you are using Finasteride and have not noticed any improvement, you may want to talk to your physician, and further treatment may not be effective.
Finasteride slows down the hair loss process, so if you have observed hair growth, continue to take it. Do not stop taking Finasteride without talking with your doctor. If you stop using Finasteride, you will lose any hair that you grew back within a year.
Does Finasteride grow new hair?
Not only Finasteride slows down or stops hair loss, but it also encourages hair growth. After taking Finasteride, your hair can grow stronger, thicker, faster, and healthier than before.
Finasteride is not going to change the texture or quality of your hair, but many users reported thicker hair after taking Finasteride. Here are some of the customers ‘ reviews from WebMD.
Finasteride vs. Propecia Price
The price of Propecia may be different based on where you are purchasing it; whether it is your local pharmacy or online. The average retail price is around $67 (for one month of supply), but you can save money by buying the generic version. As we mentioned before, the active ingredient of generic and branded tablets is identical.
Since Finasteride is not an over the counter medication, you need a doctor visit. The easiest way is to use one of the telemedicine companies to consults with their doctor and have your prescription mailed to you for free (or a very low price).
Keeps Finasteride: $ 48.75 for the first three months ($16.25 per month) and $75 every 3 months after ($25 per month)
Hims Finasteride: First month free, $ 28 per month, including biotin Gummies.
Roman Finasteride: $ 20 per month
With Keeps, Hims or Roman, you can also get better pricing if you bundle Minoxidil and Finasteride. Our favorite bundle is Hims power pack where you can receive Finasteride, Minoxidil, Biotin gummies, DHT blocking shampoo, and conditioner. Right now it only costs $23 which is cheaper than Other options if you consider all the products you are receiving.
Remember that what you can get from Hims (doctor visit, prescription, front door delivery) is less than the price you would pay for your regular visit.
Which is better Minoxidil or Finasteride?
Minoxidil and Finasteride are the two most prominent and clinically proven treatments for hair loss treatment in men. The main goal of both Minoxidil and Finasteride is the same- to slow down hair loss and promote hair growth- but their mechanism of actions is different.
As we mentioned before, Finasteride is a DHT blocker. It works by stopping the conversion of testosterone to DHT (which damages the follicles and makes them unable to grow new hair). Minoxidil works totally in a different way; it widens the blood vessels and facilitates the flow of blood to hair follicles. More blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients to hair follicles and more hair growth.
Finasteride stops the hair loss, and Minoxidil helps with hair regrowth. Depending on you goals and condition you may use one or another.
Should I use Finasteride with or without Minoxidil?
Both Finasteride and Minoxidil do a great job with hair loss treatment. Since they work through different mechanisms, there is no risk of using both products at the same time. If you want to tackle hair loss, it is more effective if you take them together. It also comes to your preference as well, would you rather take a pill every day or apply some liquid/foam into your scalp twice a day.
In a randomized and comparative study that was done in 2015, the combined treatment with oral Finasteride and topical Minoxidil showed the best efficacy.
- Finasteride works in re-growing and preserving your hair
- Be consistent with Finasteride, when you start taking it, keep taking it
- Higher dosage of Finasteride is used for enlarged prostates, do not use this dose for male pattern baldness
- Negative side effects are rare. One of the adverse effects is losing your sex drive, so if you are trying to conceive, you may want to stop taking it temporarily.
Can I take Finasteride forever?
Since Finasteride can only work long term, you need to take it at least for several months before seeing any results. If you stop taking Finasteride, you will lose the hair your gain, but if you want to keep the hair on your head, you can take Finasteride as long as you want.
Does Finasteride make you gain weight?
Weight gain with Finasteride is not typical. If you observe unusual weight gain while you are taking Finasteride, make sure to speak with your doctor.
How do you stop DHT?
Besides taking medications like Finasteride that prevents the conversion of Testosterone to DHT, a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, reducing stress, and taking time to relax can also help.