Androgenetic alopecia (hereditary hair loss) is incredibly common and is estimated to affect nearly half of all men by the age of 50. Most men notice a receding hairline first, followed by a thinning of the hair at the crown and temples.
Typically, male pattern hair loss starts in a man’s late twenties or early thirties, but it can be younger. This type of hair loss is caused by oversensitive hair follicles, which is linked to the male hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Finasteride works by stopping testosterone turning into DHT, which slows down hair loss and promotes regrowth. It is most effective in men with early-stage hair loss, and it is the only licensed medication for male pattern baldness in the UK.
Clinical studies in men with androgenetic alopecia have shown that finasteride can slow down hair loss, promote hair regrowth, and improve the scalp’s overall appearance.
How to take finasteride tablets
You should take one finasteride tablet at the same time every day with a glass of water – we do not recommend that you crush or split these tablets.
Most men see results within three to six months of starting hair loss treatment, but for it to continue working you must keep taking finasteride. The effects will not last beyond six to twelve months after you stop taking the tablets.
Finasteride tablets are not suitable to treat hair loss in women or anyone under 18 years old. For a full list of cautions, you can download the patient information leaflet.
Like most medicines, finasteride 1mg tablets can cause some unwanted symptoms, but not everyone will experience these. Certain side effects of finasteride are
- Erectile dysfunction (problems getting an erection)
- Less interest in having sex
- Problems with ejaculating
If these symptoms become a problem and you’re struggling to cope, talk to your doctor.
Finasteride can cause an allergic reaction in some people. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop taking finasteride and seek immediate medical help:
- Skin rash – itchy, red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin
- Tightness in your chest or throat
- Trouble breathing or talking
- Swelling in the lips, face, tongue, or throat
If you have ever had an allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in finasteride or any other medicine, tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start treatment.
Advice for women
Finasteride is not suitable to be taken by women, and it poses a significant risk to pregnant women. If finasteride gets into a pregnant woman’s bloodstream, it could harm her unborn baby, so it’s important to take extra precautions.
If you are pregnant or likely to become pregnant, you should not handle the tablets, particularly if they are broken or crushed. Finasteride can also be present in semen, so if your partner is taking this medication, then you should use a condom during sex.
What is Finasteride?
Finasteride is an effective treatment for early-stage male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia). It’s the only licensed treatment for hair loss in the UK – you might also see it sold under the brand name, Propecia.
Both medicines are part of a group of drugs known as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors; they work in the same way but Finasteride is cheaper to buy.
How does Finasteride work?
Finasteride works by lowering levels of the hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is linked to hereditary hair loss in men. It does this by inhibiting the enzyme responsible for turning testosterone into DHT. This promotes hair re-growth, prevents further hair loss, and improves the overall appearance of the scalp.
How effective is Finasteride?
Clinical trials have proven that Finasteride can reverse hair loss in men. A study of male pattern baldness in men aged between 18 and 41, found that taking Finasteride every day for a year not only slowed down hair loss but improved hair re-growth¹.
How do I take Finasteride?
Finasteride (1mg) should be taken every day at the same time. We recommend that you swallow the tablet whole with a glass of water, either with or without food. The tablets should not be split or crushed, and they should not be handled by pregnant women.
It can take between three to six months before you see a noticeable difference.
Does Finasteride work?
Finasteride is an effective treatment for early-stage male pattern baldness. It works by reducing levels of the male hormone DHT, which is linked to oversensitive hair follicles. In clinical trials, Finasteride has been shown to slow down hair loss, promote hair re-growth, and improve the overall appearance of the scalp.
How to reduce side effects of Finasteride
Like all medicines, Finasteride can cause side effects in some people. These are usually temporary and will disappear when you stop the treatment. Some men report having less interest in sex, problems getting an erection and premature ejaculation.
To reduce the risk of experiencing any unwanted symptoms, take the tablets exactly as prescribed. Taking more Finasteride than you should, will not make them any more effective, but it could significantly increase your risk of experiencing side effects.
Is Finasteride safe?
Finasteride is safe to take for long periods (months or even years). Like all drugs, it can cause side effects, but not everybody will get them and they are usually temporary.
In rare cases, Finasteride can cause breast cancer in men. If you notice any changes to your chest such as lumps, swelling, pain, or discharge from the nipples, speak to your doctor. Additionally, if you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction or depression, then you should stop taking the tablets immediately and seek medical help.
Does Finasteride re-grow hair?
Finasteride is designed to slow down hair loss and promote hair re-growth. It does this by lowering the levels of a hormone linked to hereditary hair loss in men. Studies have shown that Finasteride can increase hair growth and improve the appearance of the scalp.
How long does Finasteride take to work?
It can take between three to six months for Finasteride to work.
Once you stop taking the tablets, the effects will wear off and you will see a return to your hair’s normal condition within 6 to 12 months.
Does Finasteride lower testosterone?
No. Finasteride works by lowering the levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body. DHT is a male hormone linked to sensitive hair follicles and by inhibiting its production, Finasteride can help to reverse the signs of hereditary hair loss.
How long does Finasteride stay in your system?
Finasteride stays in your body for up to 24 hours and therefore you need to take the tablet daily, ideally at the same time.
It is important to know that, Finasteride only works while you are taking it. You can expect to see a return to your hair’s normal condition 6 to 12 months after you stop the treatment.
Can I get Finasteride from my GP?
Finasteride isn’t available on the NHS for the treatment of hair loss. However, you can buy it from private pharmacies – we recommend that you choose a retailer registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) for the best health advice.
Can you get Finasteride on prescription?
Finasteride is not available on the NHS, but you still need a prescription to buy it.
Certain pharmacies, like Post My Meds, can prescribe patients with Finasteride, but only after they’ve checked you are suitable to take the medication. If you’re buying online, you should expect to complete a consultation first before you can buy the treatment.
How much does Finasteride cost UK?
Finasteride is available to buy in packs of 28, 56, 84, and 168, from Post My Meds:
- 4-week supply – £13.95
- 8-week supply – £26.99
- 12-week supply – £39.99
- 24-week supply – £79.95
These prices include free first class delivery.
How to buy Finasteride UK
Finasteride is not available on the NHS for hair loss, but you can buy it privately from a pharmacy. It’s easy to buy online in just a few simple steps with Post My Meds:
- View your hair loss treatment
- Start a consultation
- Select treatment and pay for your order and wait for it to arrive
The consultation is designed to check that you are suitable to take Finasteride. It’s quick to complete, and all your answers are kept in the strictest confidence. You can expect us to ask about your current health and any other medication you are taking.
To protect your privacy, we ship all our products in unbranded, generic packaging – the only thing on there will be your name and address.
Is generic Finasteride as effective as Propecia?
Finasteride is an unbranded alternative to Propecia. Both contain the same active ingredients, and they are both equally effective at treating hair loss in men.
Is Minoxidil the same as Finasteride?
Minoxidil is a hair loss treatment similar to Finasteride, but it works in a different way.
Finasteride is considered the most effective of the two. Minoxidil is designed to help promote re-growth, but it cannot slow down hair loss in the way Finasteride can.
Unlike Finasteride, you can buy Minoxidil without a prescription, and it’s also suitable for both men and women (Finasteride is not recommended for use by women).
What’s the difference between Propecia and Finasteride?
Finasteride is the generic version of Propecia. They both work in the same way, but because finasteride is unbranded, it is much cheaper than Propecia.
Propecia starts from £49.49 for 28 tablets and is also available to buy online.
Can Finasteride cause hair loss?
It’s normal within the first three months of using Finasteride for you to notice some hair loss, known as shedding. This is a sign that the tablets are working – the older hairs are making way for the new, healthier hairs that are about to grow.
- Kaufman, K D et al. National Library of Medicine [online] Finasteride in the treatment of men with androgenetic alopecia. Finasteride Male Pattern Hair Loss Study Group [updated Oct 1998; cited 30 Nov 2021] Available from: https://bit.ly/3D7fQiQ