Finasteride comes in 5mg and 1mg doses, but which one is most commonly used for hair loss and why? Learn more about Finasteride strengths here.
Finasteride is one of the only 2 medications currently available which are FDA approved for male pattern hair loss treatment, also known as androgenic or androgenetic alopecia (AGA).
It is easy to come across Finasteride when you are on a hair loss treatment journey, but for some, it may be confusing to find that Finasteride tablets come in 2 strengths (although only one is commonly used for hair loss).
Below, we will cover the story behind Finasteride and the strengths used for male pattern hair loss, including why you should always listen to your doctor when it comes to dosing decisions.
Finasteride was initially released on the market in 1992, in a 5mg tablet strength which was FDA approved under the brand name Proscar for use in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia. 5 years later, in 1997, another Finasteride-containing medication was released under the brand name Propecia.
Propecia is only available in the 1mg tablet strength, and its FDA-approved indication is only for androgenic alopecia in men, not anything prostate related.
So, why is the same ingredient approved for two separate and seemingly diverse indications?
It all comes down to strengths and Dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
DHT is an androgen that develops from testosterone, and this hormone in surplus has been found to be a culprit in both prostate issues and the shrinking of the hair follicles in the scalp causing androgenic alopecia.
Finasteride help remedy these situations by blocking the enzyme which helps form DHT from testosterone, thus reducing the DHT levels in the body.
However, it turns out that 1mg of Finasteride may reduce DHT enough to help with prostate issues, and that 5mg Finasteride may be overkill for helping with male pattern hair loss issues.
Dose-ranging studies were conducted in 1999 to help verify which dose of Finasteride is the best choice for male pattern hair loss.
In these studies, men were given either 0.1mg, 0.2mg, 1mg, or 5mg of Finasteride daily, or a placebo, and then their hair counts, self-reports, and clinical assessments were conducted by researchers.
The two lower doses of 0.1mg and 0.2mg were way less effective than the two higher doses, with the 0.1mg dose being about the same as the placebo (or not getting the medication at all).
But, the two higher strengths of 1mg and 5mg were much better at improving hair counts, self-reports, and visual hair inspections.
The thing is, both the 1mg dose and the 5mg dose gave similar results, leading researchers to conclude that the 1mg dose of Finasteride is the optimal strength to prescribe for male pattern hair loss.
Learn More: Why a Topical Finasteride Gel Is So Awesome!
Researchers have concluded that the 1mg strength of Finasteride and the 5mg strength produce similar hair improvements, so taking more than the recommended 1mg Finasteride strength to help improve your hair will likely not give you much better results.
Also, there is a small risk of potential side effects with Finasteride, including erectile dysfunction, ejaculation disorder, decreased ejaculate volume, decreased sperm counts, and a reduced sex drive.
So, if you take a higher strength of Finasteride than recommended by your doctor for hair loss, you will likely not see more hair improvements, but you may be at a higher risk of developing unwanted side effects.
Bottom Line: More is not always better, and higher doses may increase your risk of side effects. Always follow the instructions from your doctor and pharmacist when it comes to dosing and never change your dose or regimen without consulting with a doctor first.
When men with androgenic alopecia took the 5mg Finasteride, studies show that the hair improvements were about the same as the 1mg dose.
Since the dose of Finasteride recommended for benign prostatic hyperplasia is the 5mg dose, it is possible that men who are using Finasteride to treat their prostate may see improvements in their hair as well if they suffer from androgenic alopecia.
Of course, you should not be taking 5mg Finasteride just for hair loss treatment, but, if you do happen to have both conditions, the 5mg Finasteride may end up being beneficial for both.
Here at Strut Health, we carry both the 1mg Finasteride tablet to help treat androgenic alopecia, as well as a novel compounded Finasteride topical gel formula for those who want to avoid the tablet, or potentially reduce their systemic exposure to Finasteride.
You can have a free questionnaire-based online consultation with our U.S. licensed doctors today to see if oral or topical Finasteride may be a good choice for your hair loss goals. If you are a good candidate for treatment, your prescription can be shipped to your front door for free.
If you have any questions while you are on your Finasteride hair growth journey, our staff and doctors will be available to answer your questions anytime with free unlimited follow-ups.