Finasteride is a type of medication called a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor which is used to treat male pattern baldness. It is a generic version of the original branded hair loss treatment, Propecia. Both Propecia and finasteride contain the same active ingredient, which is finasteride 1mg.
It is a widely used hair loss treatment for men who have just begun or have already lost some hair. It is also often used both pre and post-hair-transplant, to make sure hair loss does not restart and maximise the density of hair regrowth.
You can request to buy finasteride online from our UK registered online doctor service. The medication can be issued by our GPs following the completion of an online consultation. Finasteride, in the UK, is a prescription-only medicine. This means a GP consultation and prescription is required before you can use this treatment.
Finasteride works on an enzyme in the body called 5-alpha-reductase. By doing this, it prevents testosterone from converting into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a hormone that causes the hair follicles to shrink and the hair to fall out. DHT is a major cause of hair loss in men.
By reducing the production of this hormone, finasteride helps to reverse the hair loss process and prevent further hair loss.
Finasteride can take 3–6 months to achieve noticeable effects. This is because of the body’s natural hair growth cycle. It needs to be taken regularly and continuously for it to have and maintain its effects.
To maintain benefits seen from finasteride, you will need to continue treatment. If you stop taking finasteride, this will usually allow hair loss to resume.
Finasteride is 90% effective at slowing hair loss over a period of 5 years in clinical studies. When taken regularly over a long period of time, it can be very effective. Once you start taking it, you'll need to take it for life if you want to maintain your hair. Stopping the medication will cause your hair to thin again.
Finasteride 5mg is used to treat an enlarged prostate and is not licensed to treat hair loss. However, finasteride 1mg is licensed in the UK to treat hair loss in men, which means it isn’t off-label use.
Doctors can prescribe drugs off-label, where they are the most appropriate treatment available. The NHS has created a document to explain more about off-label use, which you can access here.
Aindeem was a brand name version of generic finasteride which has been discontinued. They both contain the active ingredient 1mg finasteride.
One tablet, once per day
|Type of Medicine||5-alpha reductase inhibitor|
Prevents conversion of testosterone to DHT, which helps prevent reactions that lead to hair follicle senescence
28, 56, 84, or 168 tablets
From 45p per tablet
Can include impotence, lessened sexual desire, lower volume of ejaculate, breast swelling or tenderness, skin reactions
Finasteride is the active ingredient within the medication.
The other ingredients are lactose monohydrate, microcrystalline cellulose, pregelatinized starch, sodium starch glycolate, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, hydroxypropyl cellulose, titanium dioxide, magnesium stearate, talc, docusate sodium, yellow ferric oxide, and red ferric oxide.
Please note: different generic brands of finasteride could contain different inactive ingredients
Finasteride does contain lactose monohydrate which may cause some uncomfortable symptoms in anyone with severe lactose intolerance. However, the occurrence of severe allergic reactions to finasteride is rare. A severe allergic reaction can present as trouble breathing, dizziness, itching/swelling, or rashes. Please seek immediate medical attention if you do notice the symptoms after taking finasteride.
Finasteride should be taken once a day at the same time each day. You should always take the medication as directed by your doctor and never take too much. It can be taken with or without food and is only effective if it is taken long term.
The dose of finasteride used to treat male pattern baldness is 1mg daily. Finasteride can also be prescribed at a higher dose for men with prostate problems.
Finasteride should not be crushed or split and should be swallowed whole. Pregnant women and women who could become pregnant should not come into contact with any crushed or split tablets as it can cause harm to an unborn fetus. If this happens, ensure that she washes her hands thoroughly right away and she receives medical attention.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the possible side effects associated with finasteride. However, it’s listed as an uncommon side effect. This means that up to 1 in 100 people may experience ED as a side effect.
Side effects of finasteride are generally mild, however, it’s important to be aware of all side effects before starting the medication. You should make sure you read the patient information leaflet before use. This will give you everything you need to know about the drug. From side effects to storage instructions.
There are some side effects you should discuss with your doctor if you experience them. This includes a reduced sex drive, anxiety, depression, erectile dysfunction or blood in the semen. For a complete list of possible side effects, see section 4 of the patient information leaflet.
Finasteride should not be taken by women. Pregnant women should avoid coming into contact with it as the medicine can be absorbed through the skin.
Finasteride isn’t suitable for men who are allergic to the active ingredient or any of the other ingredients in the tablets. It’s also not suitable for anyone already taking finasteride for another condition.
Men with a history of liver disease may require a blood test before using this medicine. For more information, read section 2 of the patient information leaflet. You should talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns.
You should inform your doctor of any other medications you take prior to starting finasteride. Particularly if you take any other 5α-reductase inhibitors.
Finasteride side effects are uncommon but if you do experience any they will likely disappear after you stop taking the medication.
Both finasteride and minoxidil are effective for treating hair loss but they work in different ways. While finasteride is a tablet taken orally to target the hormones, minoxidil is applied directly to the hair and works by relaxing the blood vessels to allow blood to flow more freely towards the hair follicles. This promotes hair growth rather than preventing hair loss like finasteride.
Minoxidil is suitable for both men and women, whereas finasteride is only suitable for men.
There are studies showing that finasteride can in fact regrow hair in more than 60% of men using the drug. However, it's unlikely that it will completely restore an area of complete baldness. Finasteride works better as a preventative measure rather than a cure for baldness.
Finasteride is not needed after having a hair transplant. The donated hair follicles will not react to the DHT in the same way as your natural follicles that are prone to male pattern baldness.
Finasteride is also used to treat an enlarged prostate. In this case, the drug will be prescribed at a higher dose.
Finasteride is generally safe to use alongside other hair loss treatments. It's recommended to ask the advice of a pharmacist before doing so.
Finasteride does not affect hair growth on other parts of the body. If you experience changes in body hair while taking finasteride, speak to your doctor.
No. Clinical trials have shown that finasteride is not effective in reversing hair loss in women and taking it can harm a pregnancy.
Normal hair growth happens in a cycle of 3 phases: anagen, catagen and telogen. Every single hair goes through these phases, each relating to different states of activity.
In the case of common baldness, male pattern baldness, or what is commonly called hereditary hair loss; genes and hormones cause the miniaturisation or “shrinking” of the hair follicles. This results in a shorter anagen phase and a particularly long telogen phase so the hairs then become short and thin. They are soon barely visible to the naked eye and eventually, the hair follicles shut down completely.
At any one time, around 90% of most people’s hair follicles are in the anagen phase and approximately 10% are in the telogen phase.
Male pattern hair loss occurs in men who are genetically predisposed to be more sensitive to the effects of DHT. Researchers now believe that the condition can be inherited from either side of the family.
DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is found in several tissues in the body including the scalp.
5-alpha reductase is an enzyme that regulates the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). An enzyme is a protein that acts as a catalyst to speed up a chemical reaction. 5-alpha reductase can be inhibited by drugs such as finasteride. DHT is a form of testosterone which can promote hair loss on the scalp.
Male pattern hair loss affects at least 50% of men at some point in their lives, and possibly as many as 80% by the age of 70 years. It affects different populations at different rates, probably because of genetics. Up to half of male Caucasians will experience some degree of hair loss by age 50, while other population groups such as Japanese and Chinese men are far less affected.
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