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Are Finasteride Results Legit? What the Average Man Can Expect

Michele Emery, DNP
Medically reviewed by Michele Emery, DNP Written by Our Editorial Team Last updated 9/08/2020

It’s common for most guys to experience male pattern baldness at some point in their lives. According to the American Hair Loss Association, approximately 85 percent of men will be affected by male pattern baldness by the time they turn fifty. However, there are ways to slow down or prevent the effects of hair loss, so that you can enjoy a full head of hair well into your later years.

One of the most popular hair loss treatment methods comes in the form of a once-daily pill called finasteride. 

It is the only prescription DHT-blocking medication that’s been approved by the FDA to treat male pattern baldness, and has helped millions of men in the fight against baldness. 

Let’s look at what the average guy can expect after taking finasteride.

Finasteride Helps Prevent You from Going Bald

When finasteride was first investigated as a viable solution to male pattern baldness, researchers noticed two things: approximately 83 percent of the men who took it in clinical trials stopped losing hair as a result of taking the drug and more than 66 percent of men actually grew hair back after two years of taking it regularly. 

When researchers tested different treatment methods for male pattern baldness, they found that finasteride was incredibly effective at stopping male pattern baldness in its tracks. Men who took it for a 48-week period were observed to have experienced hair regrowth at a rate of 18 hairs in the growing cycle in a  square centimeter target area, compared to men in the placebo group who lost nine hairs in the square centimeter target area.

This research supported FDA approval in 1997 of finasteride for the treatment of male pattern baldness. Since then, finasteride has been successfully used as a treatment program for men who’re unhappy with their hair loss. 

Finasteride Stops Baldness at Its Source

It works by stopping testosterone from being converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male androgen that’s linked to balding. This means that for a lot of men, finasteride is able to effectively prevent male pattern baldness by reducing the amount of DHT present in the scalp. 

Medical researchers noted that a daily dose of 1mg finasteride is enough to reduce the amount of DHT in the scalp by more than 60 percent

The point is, it works.

For Best Results, Finasteride Requires Commitment 

The most important thing to remember when taking finasteride is that you’re not taking a magic baldness-erasing pill. While finasteride is designed to disrupt DHT and stimulate hair growth, you need to continue taking it to fully benefit from its effects. 

If you stop taking finasteride, you can expect to lose the hair you’ve regrown in one year.

The good thing is, it’s pretty convenient to take. You don’t have to make any major changes to your daily routine — all you need to do is take the pill once a day, and within three months you could start seeing more hair on your head.

Finasteride Is One of the Most Effective Ways to Combat Hair Loss

When it comes to hair care, finasteride is one of the most effective treatments against male pattern baldness. Men start to see improvement in their hair’s appearance within as little as three months after starting finasteride. 

In one study, finasteride’s effectiveness was compared to five percent minoxidil. Researchers found that 80 percent of the men who took finasteride benefitted from dense hair regrowth, while only 52 percent of the men applying minoxidil enjoyed similar results. 

Furthermore, in the same study, researchers noted that men who combined finasteride and minoxidil experienced even better results than individuals who used one treatment plan on its own.

In a nutshell: officially, finasteride is shown to be overwhelmingly 85 percent effective with hair regrowth seen as early as within the first three months of use. 

Finasteride Is Successful, but There Is a Risk of Side Effects (Though Rare)

The truth is that finasteride is very good at preventing male pattern baldness, but a small number of men who use it as part of their treatment program may experience various sexual and other side effects. 

In clinical trials studying the use of finasteride, 1.3 percent of finasteride users experienced erectile dysfunction, 1.8 percent experienced a decrease in libido and 1.2 percent experienced an ejaculation disorder.

Other side effects associated with finasteride include breast tenderness or enlargement, rashes, depression, anxiety, testicular pain, and neurological issues like mental fogginess, which in general affect a very low number of finasteride users.

There have been reports of a slight increased risk (1.8 percent with 5mg Finasteride dosage versus 1.0 percent placebo) of High Grade Prostate Cancer for men over age 55 years old. Again, this is at a much higher dosage (5mg versus 1mg ) than we prescribe for hair loss.

And though very rare, it’s worth noting that a small number of men who take finasteride continue to experience them even after cessation of treatment. 

If you’re one of the few people who experience side effects as a result of taking finasteride, make sure that you contact your physician for further instructions.

Talk to Your Healthcare Provider to Learn More

Have you been interested in starting a treatment program for male pattern baldness? Be sure to ask your healthcare provider about finasteride to see if it’s a good fit for you. 

And if you want an even stronger treatment plan against male pattern baldness, ask your healthcare provider about combining finasteride with other hair loss treatments like minoxidil.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.