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Finasteride (Propercia): Uses, Side Effects & Interactions

One of the alternative treatments that has increased recently in hair loss is finasteride.

The study conducted by Northwestern University has shown that finasteride, used to reduce the amount of DHT, completely stops male pattern hair loss, and stimulates hair growth.

Finasteride is only suitable for men. This drug reduces the DHT hormone in men’s blood by 70%.

Finasteride, one of the most recommended drugs by professionals, can cure your hair loss problem.

Here’s the recap of the article:

  • FINASTERIDE BLOCKS DHT HORMONE
  • FINASTERIDE WAS FOUND TO BE EFFECTIVE IN HAIR TREATMENT IN 1997
  • FINASTERIDE STOPS HAIR LOSS AND THICKEN HAIR
  • FINASTERIDE IS FDA-APPROVED; IT IS SAFE
  • PREGNANT WOMEN CAN NOT USE IT
  • AFTER YOU STOP USING IT, THE EFFECTS WILL DISAPPEAR
  • THERE ARE ORAL, GEL, AND SPRAY FINASTERIDE

What Is Finasteride?

Finasteride is a tablet-form medication that is taken orally. Finasteride is used for hair loss problems in men.

It is known to be effective in the treatment of androgenetic hair loss in men with 1mg use.

💡 Finasteride was used for Benign prostatic hyperplasia at 5mg when it was found first.

Both problems are related to the DHT problem. So, it is basically a cure for baldness and prostate problems in men.

Finasteride for hair loss contains three forms: tablet, gel, and spray.

What Is Finasteride Used For?

Scalp hair loss, excessive hair growth, transgender hormone therapy, and androgenetic alopecia (male pattern hair loss) are the problems that finasteride is used for.

Here’s a summary of how it works:

  • ANDROGENETIC ALOPECIA: The male pattern of hair loss can be solved with this medication since it is an alpha-blocker.
  • SCALP HAIR LOSS: The gel form can be applied to the scalp, and it can reduce hair loss.
  • EXCESSIVE HAIR GROWTH: Women who have excessive hair growth problems can use it.
  • TRANSGENDER HORMONE THERAPY: Trans women can benefit from its anti-androgen properties.

Does Finasteride Stop Hair Loss?

Yes, finasteride stops hair loss. JAAD noted that clinical studies have shown that finasteride use stops hair loss in 90 % of men.

❗ If you stop using Finasteride, hair loss may start again.

Does Finasteride Prevent Baldness?

Yes, it usually prevents baldness to a great extent. Since it blocks the DHT hormone, the hair loss problem that DHT causes disappears, and hair growth begins.

JAAD also noted that clinical trials have shown that hair growth started again in 67% of patients with baldness problems.

How Does Finasteride Work?

Finasteride blocks the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme from converting testosterone to dihydrotestosterone.

Finasteride, which blocks DHT, relieves the patient of the negative effects of DHT on hair follicles by up to 70%. Thus, the scalp relaxes and slows down hair loss.

⚠️ DHT shrinks hair follicles. The hair growth cycle is disrupted because of this. Since it directly damages the hair follicles, the hair becomes thinner, breaks, and sheds.

Is Finasteride Safe to Use?

Yes, finasteride is safe to use. There is no risk in the use of finasteride, which is a long-term drug. It has some side effects, but they are rare.

Is Finasteride FDA-Approved?

Yes, Finasteride has been FDA-approved for use in the treatment of androgenic alopecia since 1997.

The FDA approved Finasteride because it is used to lower DHT levels and DHT is harmful to hair health. It has also been approved by the FDA after finding out finasteride’s long-term effect was proven in clinical trials.

Who Can Use Finasteride?

Finasteride is suitable for men to use.

It is used as a treatment for prostate and male-pattern baldness in men.

Finasteride is not recommended for pregnant women to use or even touch the drug because this drug can cause abnormal development in the fetus.

The other group that cannot use finasteride is children.

Why Women Cannot Take Finasteride?

Due to hormonal differences between men and women, women cannot use Finasteride. It does not have the same effect on women. If women with hormonal differences use the drug, undesirable hormonal changes in women may occur.

Especially those who may become pregnant, pregnant women, and breastfeeding women should never use it. It is very dangerous to use finasteride while pregnant. The DHT hormone is necessary for normal fetal development. Using during pregnancy leads to developmental abnormalities. It should not be used, especially by women who are pregnant with male babies.

Trans women can use it in hormone treatments.

What Are the Side Effects?

Some undesirable effects may occur. We can classify them as common or rare. Let’s see Finasteride’s side effects listed in the table.

COMMON

RARE

Shaking

Swelling of the Body

Cold Sweating

Allergic Reaction

Confusion

Weight Gaining

Depression

Redness on the Body

Sexual Dysfunction

Numbness

Erectile Dysfunction

Runny Nose

⚠️ Finasteride may lead to prostate cancer. It can be classified as finasteride permanent side effects. If you have any risk of prostate cancer, you should consult your doctor immediately.

Does It Affect Sexual Life?

Yes, using finasteride affects sexual life.

It can be said that sexual side effects are severe. Sexual desire decreases, and it has been noted that erection problems are also experienced.

⚠️ These are long-term side effects and are not permanent.

Does It Reduce the Sperm Count?

Finasteride has a very strong effect on hormones. Most scientific studies have proven a decrease in sperm counts. However, this is something that returns to normal after the end of the medication.

How Does Finasteride Affect the Body's Hormonal System?

Finasteride is most closely associated with the testosterone hormone, as it achieves treatment by directly affecting it. It prevents the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. It is also known for maintaining the balance of testosterone and estrogen.

Do the Side Effects Pass?

Yes, the side effects of finasteride pass. Usually, after you stop using the medication, the side effects disappear within a few weeks.

⚠️ If you experience severe side effects, such as depression, and they do not go away after using the medicine, you should consult your doctor for medical advice.

How Do You Reduce the Side Effects of Finasteride?

There are some ways to eliminate side effects or minimize them as much as possible. However, it is worth noting that the first thing to do is to reduce the dosage.

  1. Introducing a healthy diet into your life will minimize the possible effects of the drug.
  2. Exercise, along with diet, is a good combination.
  3. Foods containing zinc save you from the side effects of finasteride.
  4. It is not a good idea to consume alcohol while taking Finasteride, as alcohol will interfere with the effects of the medication.


You should also focus on foods that increase testosterone such as garlic, ginger, onion, red meat, herbs, broccoli, and eggs.

What Happens in the Long-Term Use of Finasteride?

Finasteride is already a medicine that involves long-term treatment. It has been declared safe for long-term use by the FDA.

Long-term usage is even more important and recommended for Finasteride’s effectiveness. No complications were observed because of the long-term use of Finasteride. There are no risky and serious problems for up to 7-10 years of usage.

Only patients over 60 years of age may face serious health problems.

⚠️ It is beneficial to drink 2.5 liters of water daily while using this medicine. You should also have regular check-ups once in 6 months. This is very important for your health monitoring.

What Happens If You Overdose?

Overdoses of finasteride cause increased side effects. Effects such as erection problems, breast enlargement, or decreased sexual desire may increase. It may even require medical intervention.

⚠️ If there is any suspicion of an overdose, consult your doctor immediately.

How Long Does It Take for Finasteride to Work?

Finasteride needs 3–4 months to work. Its effects start after 3–4 months. It is important to remember that hair growth itself is something that takes time.

How to Get Finasteride

You can only get Finasteride with a prescription. You can’t get it without a prescription, it’s not an over-the-counter medication. After the examination with your doctor, he can prescribe it according to your needs.

In Which Form Does It Exist?

There are three finasteride alternatives. One is a tablet taken orally. The other is in gel form. The third one is in spray form.

ORAL FORM: This can be found in brands called Proscar and Propecia. It contains 5 mg of finasteride in Proscar and 1 mg in Propecia.

GEL FORM: This is called topical finasteride. It contains 25% finasteride and 2% minoxidil (another anti-baldness drug).

SPRAY FORM: This is also called topical finasteride and contains 5% minoxidil and 0.1% finasteride.

They are all effective, but if there were a battle like finasteride spray vs. pill, the drug would be more effective because it contains more finasteride.

Brands of Finasteride

It includes two brands of finasteride treatments: Proscar and Propecia. Both of them are FDA-approved. They are effective drugs in the treatment of baldness.

Proscar is often used to treat BPH, but it has also been shown to be effective in treating hair. On the other hand, it has been found that finasteride propecia reduces DHT by 60%.

There is also a finasteride alternative called Avodart, which contains dutasteride, another alpha-blocker. Dutasteride and finasteride have almost the same effects, but their action mechanisms are different.

How Is Finasteride Administered?

Finasteride, which is in tablet form, is taken orally. 1mg of Finasteride is usually taken once a day on an empty or full stomach, but this varies depending on the prescription your doctor will write.

The appropriate finasteride dose for hair loss is 1mg. If you are curious about the dose of 1mg vs. 5mg, it should be underlined that 1mg is for hair loss and 5mg is for prostatic hyperplasia problems.

finasteride

Topical Finasteride is used by massaging the scalp with fingertips for approximately 1 minute.

What Happens If I Miss a Day or a Week of Finasteride During Medication Intake?

If you forget to take the medicine for a day or a week, you do not need to add an extra dose. What you need to do is immediately return to your old medication schedule and continue taking the medications. However, if it starts to be forgotten regularly, the inhibition of the DHT hormone may weaken, and hair loss may begin again.

How Much Does Finasteride Cost?

Finasteride medications range in price from $10 to $60 per month. Finasteride cost depends on the number of finasteride pills.

Number of tablets

Approx. Price

28 Tablets

$14

56 Tablets

$25

84 Tablets

$35

168 Tablets

$60

Since it is considered that finasteride generic medication, there are different prices under different brand names.

Is Finasteride Covered by Insurance?

No. Finasteride tablets prescribed for the treatment of baldness is not covered by insurance.

Which Insurance Companies Cover Finasteride?

Insurance does not cover finasteride tablets prescribed for the treatment of baldness, but it does cover it when used for prostatic hyperplasia.

Commercial health insurance plans, Medicare drug plans, and Medicaid cover 5 mg of Finasteride, used to treat enlarged prostates.

Can You Combine Finasteride with Other Medications?

There are no risky drug interactions. Still, combining finasteride with other medications is something that needs to be controlled by the doctor.

It is generally recommended NOT to use it together with some herbal medicines. The only drug that can be combined is minoxidil because it is considered highly effective when they are together.

Can You Combine Finasteride with Minoxidil?

Yes, it is possible to use minoxidil and finasteride together! No adverse interactions were observed when the two were used together. In fact, according to research, it has been determined that combining them often leads to a better result.

How Does Caffeine Affect Finasteride?

There are theories that finasteride and caffeine are a good combination. Because caffeine improves blood flow. This helps medications work more efficiently. Therefore, caffeine does not have a bad effect; on the contrary, it can be more effective.

[1] “Finasteride.” MedlinePlus, 15 June 2022.

[2] “Finasteride Oral: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing.” WebMD.

[3] “Finasteride – StatPearls.” NCBI.

[4] Mysore, Venkataram. “Finasteride and sexual side effects.” Indian dermatology online journal vol. 3,1 (2012): 62-5. doi:10.4103/2229-5178.93496