For men with receding or thinning hair, prescription treatment with Propecia or Finasteride can help prevent further loss and encourage regrowth.
We can prescribe Finasteride or Propecia tablets to treat hair loss. Finasteride is the generic version of Propecia. They work in the same way.
Finasteride is the active ingredient in both medicines. It works by lowering the level of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the scalp. DHT slows hair growth by causing your hair follicles to shrink and eventually stop working. With less DHT affecting your scalp, you should keep more of your hair.
With both medicines, you need to use them continuously to see results.
If you’re prescribed either treatment you would take one tablet daily on an ongoing basis.
Side effects are uncommon and can include a skin rash and nipple tenderness or swelling.
A small number of men experience erectile problems and reduced sex drive, which can be long-lasting. There have been rare reports that these medicines can also cause depression and suicidal thoughts.
For the full information of a medicine’s side effects and how to take it, it’s important to read the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with your medicine.
With both medicines you should see results in as little as three months — so long as you use the treatment every day. Studies show the treatment prevents further loss of hair in nine out of ten men and causes some new hair growth in two out of three men.
The active ingredient finasteride is only effective while it’s active in your body. If you stop treatment, any results will begin to reverse within six months.
If you’re still losing your hair after 12 months of treatment, it’s unlikely it will work for you.
This service is not suitable for women or for men with hair loss that’s not caused by male pattern baldness.
There is a potential risk to a male foetus in pregnant women. If your partner is pregnant, or might be pregnant, you must use condoms. And she must not handle the tablets. If your partner is trying to get pregnant, you must not use these tablets.
It’s important that you tell us which other medicines you’re taking — whether they’re prescription or medicines you’ve bought without a prescription. You must also tell us about any other medical conditions. We need to know so that we can prescribe hair loss treatment that’s suitable for you.
Finasteride and Propecia can be taken in combination with minoxidil solution which is applied topically to the scalp.
Alternative options include wigs, hair pieces and hair transplants.
Page last reviewed by: Dr. Christina Hennessey 21/06/2021