Evidence Basedcheckmark

Finasteride (Propecia)

Finasteride is prescription oral medication approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for male pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia).

Finasteride

The Skinny


Average Recovery

0 days

Permanence

Temporary

Application

Pill

Surgical

No

Cost

$10 - $1377

The Specifics


What is finasteride (a.k.a. Propecia)?

Finasteride (brand name: Propecia) is a prescription oral medication for the treatment of hair loss and hair thinning. Finasteride is a type II 5-alpha reductase inhibitor that decreases the levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a male sex hormone (androgen) that reduces the size of hair follicles and leads to unhealthy hair.

Anatomy of the Hair Follicle

Hair Follicle Anatomy Illustration

There are numerous common side effects associated with this therapy including sexual dysfunction. Finasteride is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for male pattern hair loss. This medication can treat thinning hair, receding hair, and bald spots. Finasteride is also a formulation for BPH (prostate concerns) labeled under the brand name Proscar.

What cosmetic concerns does finasteride treat?

  1. Hair Loss: By altering DHT levels in the blood, finasteride increases hair diameter and growth rate with possible enhancements to hair counts as well.

Who is the ideal candidate for finasteride?

The ideal candidate for finasteride use is in the early stages of hair thinning or loss. Finasteride is not recommended for individuals with liver disease, high grade prostate cancer, males with breast cancer, or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding (due to risk of birth defects).

What is the average recovery associated with finasteride?

There is no recovery time with finasteride use. Individuals should regularly consult with their medical provider while using Finasteride to determine continued efficacy, appropriateness of use, and possible discontinuation of therapy.

What are the potential side effects of finasteride?

Possible side effects of finasteride use include sexual dysfunction (impotence), decreased libido (sex drive), difficulty achieving orgasm, ejaculation dysfunction, swelling in the breasts, hands, and feet, breast tenderness, dizziness, weakness, headache, runny nose, allergic reactions, and skin rash (hives).

What can someone expect from the results of finasteride?

The results of finasteride will develop gradually over about three to six months with regular and consistent use. To maintain results, the medication will need to be taken indefinitely.

What is the average cost of finasteride?

The average cost of finasteride is $10 to $1,300, but may be dependent on insurance. The actual cost of the Finasteride will vary by location, healthcare provider, and individual candidate needs.

Pros

increased hair growth

Cons

many side effectsmust use indefinitely

Invasiveness Score

mildmoderatesevere
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Invasiveness is graded based on factors such as anesthesia practices, incisions, and recovery notes common to this procedure.

What to Expect


Finasteride leads to increased hair diameter and growth rate, although increased hair counts are also observed to a lesser extent. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after hair loss treatment with Finasteride.

The Takeaway


Finasteride, brand name Propecia, is an FDA-approved oral prescription drug used in male pattern baldness hair loss treatment. Finasteride alters DHT production to encourage hair growth and healthy hair follicles.

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Source List

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  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association Hair Loss: Tips for Managing aad.org
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