Finasteride is a pill that is taken once a day.
How It Works
Finasteride lowers the level of
androgens, a class of hormone that affects hair
Why It Is Used
Finasteride was originally used to
treat enlarged prostate glands (benign prostatic hyperplasia). In a much lower dose, it is now also used to treat
inherited hair loss in men (androgenetic alopecia), the most common
Finasteride has not been proved effective in women and
is not approved for women by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA).2 Women and children should not use
How Well It Works
Finasteride is recognized as a
successful therapy for inherited hair loss for men. Research reports that it
slows hair loss on the scalp and helps regrow hair.1, 3 But bald
spots may not be completely covered, and visible results may take from a few
months to a year.
Possible side effects in men include
sexual problems, such as difficulty getting an erection and reduced desire
Women who are or may become pregnant should not take or
handle crushed or broken finasteride tablets because finasteride can cause
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects.
(Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Finasteride is for men only.
Women and children should not use it.
Women who are or may become
pregnant should not take or handle crushed or broken tablets because
finasteride can cause birth defects.
Finasteride must be taken
daily. If you stop taking finasteride, any regrown hair will gradually be lost,
and within 6 to 12 months your scalp will most likely appear the same as before
If you are having a prostate screening, tell your
doctor you are taking finasteride because it may affect the results of your
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Habif TP (2010). Hair diseases. In Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy, 5th ed., pp. 913-935. Edinburgh: Mosby Elsevier.
Springer K, et al. (2003). Common hair loss disorder.
American Family Physician, 68(1): 93-102.
Whiting DA, et al. (2003). Efficacy and tolerability
of finasteride 1 mg in men aged 41 to 60 years with male pattern hair loss.
European Journal of Dermatology, 13(2):