Finasteride: Benefits, Side Effects, Usage and More

Finasteride is a widely prescribed medication for the treatment of male pattern baldness and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It has proven efficacy in addressing these conditions, making it a popular choice among patients and healthcare providers alike. As a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor, it works by preventing the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that contributes to hair loss and prostate growth. While the benefits of finasteride can be significant for those it is suitable for, it’s also essential to be aware of its side effects and the necessary precautions before usage. This document aims to provide a comprehensive overview of finasteride, helping individuals make informed decisions in consultation with their healthcare providers.

Benefits of Finasteride

Finasteride has proven to be effective in treating male pattern baldness and BPH, alleviating symptoms and improving quality of life for many individuals. Here are some specific benefits:

  • Hair regrowth: By inhibiting DHT production, finasteride can help stimulate hair growth in those experiencing male pattern baldness.
  • Slows hair loss: In addition to promoting hair growth, finasteride can also slow down or even stop further hair loss.
  • Reduced prostate size: For individuals with BPH, taking finasteride can decrease the size of the prostate gland, leading to improved urinary flow and reduced symptoms such as frequent urination and difficulty starting urination.
  • Lower risk of complications from BPH: By reducing the size of the prostate gland, finasteride can also lower the risk of developing urinary tract infections and other complications associated with BPH.
  • Prevents hair loss during hormone therapy: Finasteride can be beneficial for transgender individuals undergoing hormone therapy by preventing or minimizing hair loss caused by changes in hormone levels.

Side Effects of Finasteride

While finasteride can have significant benefits, it’s essential to be aware of the potential side effects before starting treatment. These may include:

  • Sexual side effects: Some individuals may experience a decrease in sex drive, difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection, and other sexual dysfunction while taking finasteride.
  • Breast tenderness or enlargement: In rare cases, finasteride can cause breast tenderness or enlargement in males.
  • Allergic reactions: As with any medication, finasteride can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. Symptoms may include rash, itching, swelling of the face or tongue, and difficulty breathing.
  • Mood changes: Some individuals have reported experiencing mood swings and changes in mental health while taking finasteride.

It’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider if any of these side effects occur, as they may indicate the need to adjust the dosage or discontinue treatment.

Related: Minoxidil: Benefits, Side Effects, Application Techniques and More

Usage and Precautions

Finasteride is available in both oral tablet and topical solution forms. It’s essential to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions carefully and avoid taking more than the recommended dose. If you miss a dose, do not take a double dose to make up for it.

It’s also important to inform your healthcare provider of any other medications or supplements you are taking before starting finasteride, as there may be potential interactions. Individuals with liver disease should also use caution when taking finasteride and consult with their healthcare provider.

Pregnant women should not handle crushed or broken finasteride tablets, as it can be absorbed through the skin and potentially harm a developing fetus.

How to Apply Topical Finasteride

If using the topical solution form of finasteride, it’s essential to follow these steps:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water before and after applying the solution.
  2. Apply the prescribed amount of solution onto the affected areas of the scalp.
  3. Massage gently into the scalp and let air dry for at least two hours before washing your hair.
  4. Wash your hands thoroughly after application.

It’s essential to use the topical solution as directed and avoid getting it on any other part of your body.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can finasteride be used for female pattern hair loss?

Finasteride is not currently approved for use in females and has not been extensively studied in this population. However, some healthcare providers may prescribe it off-label for female pattern hair loss.

How long does it take to see results from finasteride?

Hair regrowth and slowing of hair loss can vary from individual to individual, but it may take several months to see noticeable results.

Is finasteride safe for long-term use?

Finasteride has been approved for long-term use in treating male pattern baldness and BPH. However, individuals should continue regular check-ups with their healthcare provider to monitor any potential side effects.


Finasteride can be a beneficial treatment option for individuals experiencing male pattern baldness and BPH. With the potential to improve quality of life. However, it’s crucial to be aware of its potential side effects and precautions before starting treatment. Consultation with a healthcare provider is necessary to determine if finasteride is suitable for an individual’s specific needs and medical history. So, it recommended to consult with healthcare provider before starting treatment. Overall, finasteride can be an effective medication for those it is suitable for, offering significant benefits and improving overall well-being.

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