Propecia (finasteride)

Updated February 28, 2014
Propecia (finasteride)
Bottom Line

According to clinical studies, doctor-prescribed Propecia is more effective at growing hair back than minoxidil, and it works for most men. It's not approved for women and can cause serious birth defects for pregnant women who even handle the tablet. A small percentage of users suffer sexual side effects, but those disappear if Propecia is discontinued. Propecia must be taken daily, and it can take up to a year for results to take effect.


Effective especially when used as part of a combination therapy. Numerous clinical studies say that prescription Propecia is one of the most effective treatments for male-pattern baldness. Only hair transplant surgery is more effective, according to researchers, but they recommend Propecia first because of its affordability and its effectiveness in the beginning stages of hair loss. Experts claim, in fact, that Propecia is most effective when it is taken at the first signs of thinning hair. In a recent study published in the Journal of Dermatology, researchers studying the effects of finasteride on Japanese men with androgenetic alopecia observed significant hair growth in 87 percent of test subjects. Studies show that it is superior to minoxidil (the active ingredient in Rogaine), but many people use both products for maximum results.

  • Stops progression of hair loss for most men
  • Sold in tablet form -- no messy application
  • Treatment must be continued for rest of patient's life
  • Risk of sexual side effects for men
  • Not approved for women
  • Requires prescription
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