What is Finasteride?

Finasteride is an alpha-reductase inhibitor. It decreases the natural body hormones in the hair follicle which leads to increased hair regrowth and slower hair loss.

What Does Finasteride Treat?

Finasteride is used to treat male pattern baldness at the crown and in the middle of the scalp. This medication is used for adult males and should not be used by women or children.

How to Use Finasteride

Before you begin taking this medication, read the patient information leaflet provided by the pharmacist. This medication is taken by mouth, usually once each day. It may be taken with or without food.

For the best results, take it at the same time each day and be consistent. It may take up to three months to see the benefits. This medication must be taken continuously to maintain your hair growth.


Before beginning finasteride, talk to your doctor about any medications that you be taking, including herbal products and dietary supplements.

Since finasteride may be absorbed through the skin, if the film coating of the tablet has been broken or crushed, it should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or may become pregnant. Keep away from children. This medication should not be used by women, especially during pregnancy or breastfeeding as it may cause harm to an unborn or nursing child.

Side Effects

Some men may experience decreased sexual ability/desire. Finasteride may also decrease the amount of semen released during sex. While this is harmless, it has continued in some men even after stopping the treatment. While unlikely, serious side effects may occur. These include:

  • Inability to urinate
  • Lump in the breast
  • Nipple discharge
  • Breast enlargement
  • Pain in the testicles
  • Pain/tenderness in the breast
  • Allergic reaction (rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, trouble breathing)

If any of these serious side effects occur, discontinue the use of the medication, and speak to your doctor immediately.