Men Home > Finasteride (Propecia)

Male Pattern Baldness
One study was conducted on the use of this medication for vertex male pattern baldness (hair loss at the very top of the head) in men. At first, the men who took finasteride had new hair growth, while the men who did not take finasteride continued to lose hair. After about a year, the increase in new hair growth stopped for the men on finasteride, and these men started to slowly lose their hair again. However, the hair loss was much slower for the men taking it than for the men who were not taking it.
After five years of taking the medication, 48 percent of men had increased hair growth, 42 percent had no change (the hair loss had stopped), and 10 percent had lost hair. For the men who were not on finasteride, 75 percent had lost hair after five years.
In a study looking at finasteride for male hair loss treatment near the front of the head (in the center), finasteride was effective in increasing hair growth. This study did not include men with hair loss near the temples.
Female Hair Loss
Another small study was conducted on the use of finasteride for postmenopausal women with female pattern baldness. This study did not show a difference for the women who took finasteride. This could mean that the medicine is not effective for female hair loss, or it could mean that the study did not include enough women to be able to notice a difference.

When and How Do I Take It?

Some general considerations for when and how to take finasteride include:
  • The medication comes in tablet form. It is taken by mouth once daily.
  • It may take as long as three months of taking finasteride before results can be seen.
  • It can be taken with or without food.
  • Finasteride should be taken at the same time each day to maintain an even level of the drug in your blood.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. It will not work if you stop taking it. Hair loss will return within one year after you stop taking it.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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