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Minoxidil is a hair loss and hair regrowth treatment that’s widely used to treat male pattern hair loss. Like most hair loss treatments, minoxidil begins working immediately but can take several months to produce noticeable results.
Unlike drugs such as finasteride, which prevent hair loss by blocking DHT, minoxidil works by creating an ideal growth environment for your existing hair follicles.
Hair goes through several phases as it grows. At first, it enters into an anagen phase. This is the period in which the hair grows. After this, it goes into the catagen and telogen phases, in which it shrinks and detaches from the follicle and is replaced by a new hair.
Finally, each hair enters into the exogen phase, during which it falls out from your scalp and is replaced by the new hair.
You can read more about this in our Guide to the Hair Growth Process and Regrowing Hair.
Minoxidil is thought to induce an early anagen phase when it’s applied to your scalp, meaning it can cause hair follicles to go through the rest of the growth process prematurely before starting to grow again.
This is why some people experience hair shedding when they first start using minoxidil. As hair follicles go through the growth process and enter into the anagen phase, old hairs can fall out in large numbers, making it seem as if you’re losing more hair than normal.
The anagen phase of the hair growth process can last from three to five years, during which your hair will grow to its full natural length before starting to shed.
Since minoxidil can start
Most studies indicate that the results from minoxidil usually start to show after six months, with few or no visible results in the first three months of use. There are also studies that don’t show any results after three months, indicating that minoxidil can take some time to start working.
In one clinical study, 26% of men reported moderate to dense hair regrowth after using a 2% minoxidil topical treatment for 4 months. This shows that minoxidil does work if you’re patient and willing to use it consistently.
In conclusion, minoxidil starts working immediately but won’t produce any noticeable results for the first three to six months. After six months, you should start to see some improvement, with the "final" results usually visible after approximately one year of continuous usage.
Finasteride is for use by MEN ONLY and should NOT be used by women or children.
Read this Patient Information before you start taking Finasteride and each time you get a refill. There may be new information. This information does not take the place of talking with your healthcare provider about your medical condition or treatment.
What is Finasteride?
Finasteride is a prescription medicine used for the treatment of male pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia).
It is not known if Finasteride works for a receding hairline on either side of and above your forehead (temporal area).
Finasteride is not for use by women and children.
Who should not take Finasteride?
Do not take Finasteride if you:
are allergic to any of the ingredients in Finasteride. See the end of this leaflet for a complete list of ingredients in Finasteride.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking Finasteride? Before taking Finasteride, tell your healthcare provider if you:
have any other medical conditions, including problems with your prostate or liver
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.
How should I take Finasteride?
If you forget to take Finasteride, do not take an extra tablet. Just take the next tablet as usual.
Finasteride will not work faster or better if you take it more than once a day.
What are the possible side effects of Finasteride?
decrease in your blood Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) levels. Finasteride can affect a blood test called PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) for the screening of prostate cancer. If you have a PSA test done you should tell your healthcare provider that you are taking Finasteride because Finasteride decreases PSA levels. Changes in PSA levels will need to be evaluated by your healthcare provider. Any increase in follow-up PSA levels from their lowest point may signal the presence of prostate cancer and should be evaluated, even if the test results are still within the normal range for men not taking Finasteride. You should also tell your healthcare provider if you have not been taking Finasteride as prescribed because this may affect the PSA test results. For more information, talk to your healthcare provider.
There may be an increased risk of a more serious form of prostate cancer in men taking finasteride at 5 times the dose of Finasteride.
The most common side effects of Finasteride include:
a decrease in the amount of semen
The following have been reported in general use with Finasteride:
in rare cases, male breast cancer.
Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
These are not all the possible side effects of Finasteride. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA1088.
How should I store Finasteride?
Keep Finasteride in a closed container and keep Finasteride tablets dry (protect from moisture).
Keep Finasteride and all medicines out of the reach of children.
General information about the safe and effective use of Finasteride.
Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those listed in this Patient Information. Do not use Finasteride for a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give Finasteride to other people, even if they have the same symptoms you have. It may harm them.