What is Finasteride and How Does It Work?

14 April, 2022  |  Holy Winter - Healthcare Writer

What is Finasteride and How Does It Work?

Finasteride is a common medication for the treatment of male pattern baldness, particularly among those with mild to severe hair loss. It is the generic version of Propecia, which is a well-known hair-loss treatment. Propecia's patent on Finasteride manufacturing expired in 2014, allowing other manufacturers to develop the medicine. As a result, the cost of generic Propecia has decreased, making it considerably more affordable. There is also no difference in formula regarding Finasteride vs Propecia, and both contain the same active ingredient.


Finasteride for Hair Loss

Male pattern baldness happens when the hair follicles shrink over time, producing increasingly thinner hair strands that eventually stop making new hair. It is caused by DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a hormone that is produced from testosterone. It is produced more in men who are genetically predisposed to male pattern hair loss. Therefore, blocking DHT production is the most effective strategy to prevent hair loss and reduce its severity, and Finasteride is a drug that can help with it. 

Finasteride works by inhibiting 5-reductase, an enzyme found in the oil glands of hair follicles that converts testosterone to DHT. As a result, Finasteride helps to prevent and, in some circumstances, reverse hair loss by lowering the quantity of DHT impacting follicles in the scalp.

It is worth knowing that Finasteride hair regrowth is only on the head and does not affect hair development elsewhere in the body.

How to take Finasteride

How to get Finasteride is simple — you can get it from the nearby drug store or order it online and get it delivered to your doorstep. However, how to take Finasteride is what you need to know. 

On average, a 1mg pill of Finasteride hair loss tablets are taken once a day to treat hair loss. So taking more of it will not make a difference. Also, its effectiveness remains the same regardless of whether you take it with or without food, but it’s important not to cut it into half-dose tablets. 

The results will not be immediate. In most cases, you'll need to take Finasteride every day for 3-6 months before you notice a difference in your hair loss. Finasteride should be used for at least a year to determine if it is effective for you. Once you stop taking Finasteride, the hair loss will likely return. 

How long does it take for Finasteride to take effect?

The outcomes of Finasteride usage take between 3 to 4 to appear. If you follow the recommendations and take Finasteride each day, you should notice benefits by month three or four. However, because hair follicles need time to create new hairs, it normally takes between 6 to 9 months to experience the full benefits of Finasteride. It is critical to know that Finasteride hair regrowth is not a thing, meaning you won’t recover the hairs that you have previously lost. You will, however, prevent further loss of hair. The majority of individuals who take medicine do so to prevent additional hair loss rather than to restore their prior hair. As a result, you may not see gains in your hair with Finasteride, despite the fact that it is working to keep more hair from receding. It's also necessary to know that your hair will continue to fall out as part of its normal growth cycle, and this won't stop after you start taking Finasteride. The "final" results take around a year to appear. These are usually visible after roughly a year of daily use. If you fail to take the tablet on certain days or miss it for longer periods of time, Finasteride may not perform as efficiently as it should.

Finasteride UK Side Effects

Finasteride has few and relatively minor side effects. Sexual side effects are sometimes reported as side effects. It is generally not a major cause of concern, but it can be persistent on rare occasions and last after the medication has been stopped.

Following are some of the most common negative sexual side effects:

  • Erectile dysfunction (ED). Finasteride-induced erectile dysfunction has been recorded to affect about 1.3 percent of men in clinical studies, compared to 0.7 percent of men who took a non-therapeutic placebo.

  • Reduced libido. 1.8 percent of men who took Finasteride and 1.3 percent who received a non-therapeutic placebo reported having their libido impacted.

  • Ejaculation dysfunction.

Some other, less prevalent side effects of Finasteride include depression, testicular pain, breast alterations (such as male breast growth, lumps, pain or discharge from the nipples), itching, rash, hives, face swelling, and trouble breathing or swallowing.

Contact your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects since it could suggest a serious allergic reaction.

However, if you use Finasteride correctly, you may lower your risk of experiencing side effects. Remain mindful of the following points:

  • Use the proper dose. Finasteride is used to treat hair loss at a dosage of 1mg per day. Taking more will not improve your results and might instead increase your chance of negative effects. However, if you have consistent side effects or certain chronic underlying illnesses, your doctor may advise you to take a reduced dose of Finasteride.

  • If you miss a dose, skip it and move on to the next. There's no need to take twice as much Finasteride to make up for a missed dose. 

  • Notify your healthcare practitioner if you experience any adverse side effects. In some circumstances, side effects are only a little discomfort but do make sure to tell your doctor about it so that your health status can be kept in check.

Finasteride is an excellent medicine that will either stop your hair loss or slow it down, and in some cases, reverse it as well. However, it’s a gradual process, and while there are techniques to speed up the effects of Finasteride, don't expect to wake up one day and find your hair has doubled in thickness. Use Finasteride with a balanced diet, an active lifestyle, and appropriate hair care habits for best results.

Reviewed By

Omar El-Gohary

Omar El-Gohary

The superintendent and lead pharmacist - registration number 2059792.

Omar is passionate about developing healthcare technology to empower our patients.

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