Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 1/24/2021
Finasteride is an FDA-approved medication for treating and preventing male pattern baldness. It works by reducing dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that can bind to your hair follicles and prevent them from producing new hairs.
When finasteride first came onto the market as a treatment for hair loss, it was only available as Propecia®, a brand name medication that cost $50 or more per month.
Today, finasteride is available as a generic medication, generally at significantly lower prices.
Below, we’ve explained how much generic finasteride costs, as well as how much you will likely pay for brand name versions of finasteride such as Propecia. We’ve also shared several tips to help you get the best value for money while you treat male pattern baldness.
Finasteride is available as a generic medication, making it an inexpensive way to slow down or stop hair loss caused by male pattern baldness.
Propecia, the first brand name medication to contain finasteride, is significantly more expensive than generic finasteride. Read more: Propecia vs Finasteride
Finasteride is not an over the counter drug. You’ll need a valid prescription from a licensed healthcare provider to purchase and use finasteride.
Although most insurance providers will cover finasteride when it’s used to treat prostate enlargement, few cover finasteride as a treatment for hair loss.
Finasteride is a prescription medication that’s used to treat and prevent androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness.
Finasteride works by inhibiting the action of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, which is responsible for converting testosterone into dihydrotesterone (DHT).
As we’ve explained in our guide to DHT and male hair loss, DHT can bind to receptors in your hair follicles and cause them to miniaturize. Over the course of months and years, hair follicles that are sensitive to DHT shrink, weaken and eventually stop producing new hairs.
By stopping your body from converting testosterone into DHT, finasteride helps to limit damage to your hair follicles and prevent male pattern baldness from worsening.
Research shows that a typical dosage of finasteride can reduce the level of DHT in your blood by more than 70 percent.
A large-scale study from the late 1990s, which involved more than 1,550 men, found that daily use of finasteride slowed down hair loss, increased hair growth and improved hair appearance in men with male pattern baldness in two years.
Finasteride is an affordable medication. A month’s supply (30 pills) of generic finasteride costs from $20 to $60+ per month, depending on the specific brand you choose and the pharmacy or healthcare provider from which you purchase your medication.
Since finasteride is a prescription medication, you’ll need to talk to a healthcare provider before you can purchase it. Depending on your location and level of insurance coverage, this may cost $15 to $200 or more.
We offer generic finasteride online from $22 per month, following a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate.
Propecia, a brand name version of finasteride produced and marketed by Merck, typically costs more than generic finasteride. A month’s supply of brand name Propecia typically costs $100 to $150, depending on your pharmacy or healthcare provider of choice.
Merck, the drug’s manufacturer, occasionally offers discounts on Propecia. These can lower the price of this medication, particularly when it’s purchased over the long term.
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Finasteride is typically used for two purposes. The first is treating and preventing hair loss. As a treatment for hair loss, finasteride is typically taken at a dosage of 1mg each day and continued for as long as necessary.
The second is treating benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH -- a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. When it’s used to treat BPH, finasteride is taken at a higher dosage of 5mg each day.
Most insurance plans cover finasteride when it’s taken to treat BPH. However, many insurance providers do not provide coverage for finasteride when it’s used for cosmetic reasons, such as for treating and preventing hair loss.
If you’d like to take finasteride and want to learn more about its insurance status, it’s important to contact your insurance provider for more information.
The best way to save money while using finasteride is to stick to generic medication. As we’ve explained in our guide to generic finasteride vs. Propecia, generic finasteride contains exactly the same active ingredient at exactly the same dosage as brand name Propecia.
The only difference between the two, aside from the name and design on the packaging, is the price. As such, you’ll save money and get the same results by using the generic version.
Finasteride is an easy medication to use, with only a single pill per day to remember. Try to use the following tips to get the best results:
Use finasteride with minoxidil. Finasteride works well on its own, but it’s more effective when it’s used with minoxidil -- an over-the-counter, topical medication that boosts blood flow and stimulates hair growth.
Be consistent. You’ll need to use finasteride every day to prevent hair loss and maintain any hair you grow back. Make sure to be consistent and take your medication at roughly the same time every day to ensure your DHT levels are reduced.
Pay attention to side effects. Side effects from finasteride aren’t common, but they can happen. Our guide to finasteride side effects lists what to look for and explains what you can do if you notice side effects developing.
Be prepared for results to take three to 12 months. Finasteride works, but the results can take time. It may take anywhere from three to 12 months before you’ll be able to see a visible improvement in your hair after you start using finasteride, and even then, finasteride is only effective as long as you’re still taking it.
We’ve talked more about what you should expect after you start using finasteride in our finasteride results timeline.
Although branded Propecia can cost a significant amount over the long term, generic finasteride is a cheap, effective medication that can help you to slow down, stop or reverse hair loss.
On average, you can expect to pay $20 to $60+ per month for generic finasteride, depending on your choice of pharmacy or healthcare provider. If you buy finasteride offline, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of an appointment with your healthcare provider.
For an easier, more affordable option, get your finasteride online. We offer generic finasteride by itself and with other hair loss treatments in our Hair Power Pack, following an online consultation with a healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate.