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What is Finasteride?

Older man with hair loss

What is Finasteride?

Finasteride is the generic form of the hair loss treatment “Propecia” - a popular brand of hair loss medication. Finasteride and Propecia are equally effective at preventing and potentially reversing hair loss. Finasteride is a prescription-only treatment in the UK, meaning you must consult a doctor in person or online before you can take it. Finasteride isn’t available on the NHS and must be ordered privately. After taking an online consultation you can order Finasteride safely and quickly from LloydsPharmacy's online hair loss clinic.

How does Finasteride work?

Hair loss caused by male pattern baldness occurs when a hormone called DHT (dihydrotestosterone) prevents hair follicles from getting the vital nutrients they need to live. Finasteride blocks the production of DHT and thus protects the hair follicles that produce hair. Reducing DHT can stop and even reverse hair loss caused by male pattern baldness.

How do I take Finasteride?

Finasteride is taken as a tablet once a day, on its own or with food. You must take Finasteride regularly to experience results. It is recommended you incorporate the Finasteride tablet into your daily routine to ensure you don’t forget it. For examples, take the tablet at a regular time each day: in the morning, say, or just before you go to sleep at night. Don’t take the tablet more than once: as this will not increase its effectiveness and may cause harm.

How effective is Finasteride?

Very. Finasteride has been shown to be clinically effective in 90% of men with male pattern baldness. Two thirds of men who take Finasteride correctly go on to experience hair regrowth. However it is a treatment for hair loss, not a cure: you must continue to take Finasteride to enjoy the benefits. Finasteride works most effectively for men with mild to moderate male pattern baldness.

How long until Finasteride starts to work?

Results won’t be immediately apparent. Generally you need to take Finasteride once a day for 3 - 6 months before you start experiencing the effects. Ideally you should continue taking Finasteride for at least a year to confirm whether it is effective for you. Be aware, even if you experience extremely positive results you must continue to take Finasteride to maintain the effect.

What are the side effects of Finasteride?

Very few men experience side effects when taking Finasteride. However, all medicines comes with risks and occasionally some men might experience a reduced sex drive or problems ejaculating. A rash or tenderness around the nipples are also potential side effects for some men.

Will Finasteride cure my hair loss?

As above, Finasteride is a treatment and not a cure. If you stop taking Finasteride the DHP hormone that causes hair loss will eventually return to levels that cause hair loss. To keep the levels of DHP low you must continue to take Finasteride on a daily basis. However, if taken like this you will have a 90% chance of stopping and even reversing your hair loss for the rest for your life.

What are the alternatives to Finasteride?

There are very few licensed and clinically proven hair loss treatments in the UK. Below is a brief list of the most effective options:

  • Propecia is an obvious alternative treatment as it contains exactly the same active ingredient (“finasteride”), however some men prefer this more established brand.
  • Regaine (active ingredient minoxidil) is a lotion applied to the scalp twice daily. It is less effective than Finasteride but doesn’t require a prescription. Along with Propecia/Finasteride, Regaine is the only other hair loss medicine advocated by the British Association of Dermatologists. 
  • Wigs don’t treat hair loss but they certainly conceal it. Modern wigs look very natural and come much cheaper than most treatments. However the hair loss will continue.
  • Hair Transplants are clinically effective in 95% of cases, but they can be extremely expensive and success isn’t guaranteed.

Can I buy Finasteride online?

Yes, you can buy Finasteride online from our team of NHS experienced clinicians here at LloydsPharmacy’s Online Doctor. Before placing an order you must take an online consultation to check your suitability for the medication. Provided you are suitable you can order Finasteride online safely via our clinic for same-day collection or next day delivery.