When prescribed for male pattern hair loss, finasteride is taken once a day as a 1mg dose.
Ensure that you stick to your daily schedule by:
- taking your tablet at the same time of day, each day
- swallowing each tablet whole with a full glass of water
- continuing to take your prescription even after visible results if you wish to maintain the improvement in your hair
There are two forms of finasteride tablets available in Ireland. Finasteride 1mg tablets, which have recently been licensed, are taken as one tablet once a day. This dose is only used to treat hair loss.
The other form is finasteride 5mg tablets which are used to treat prostate problems. They are not licensed for use to be for hair loss, however they are widely used because of the availability of the 1mg tablets. The dose when using these is a quarter of a tablet once a day. You should use a pill cutter, which you can buy easily from a pharmacy, to cut the tablets into 4 equal parts. Your pharmacist may also be able to help to cut these for you.
Both options are effective, as you are taking a similar amount of finasteride. The finasteride 5mg tablets are usually more cost effective, however the 1mg tablets are more convenient as they do not need to be cut.
In other EU countries, and in the UK, finasteride 1mg tablets are also found under the brand name Propecia. This particular brand is not available in Ireland.
How should I take finasteride?
Finasteride can be taken with or without food. If you forget to take your dose within 6 hours of the usual time, take it right away. If more than 6 hours have elapsed, skip the missed dose and wait to take the next one as usual. Do not double dose.
It is best to monitor the condition of your scalp regularly. You can do this by taking pictures of your hairline and scalp. Tracking changes will let you know if the treatment is working for you, but be patient as it can take up to a year to see visible results.
When combined with minoxidil, finasteride may be more effective as they work in different ways. Minoxidil is a topical medication for promoting hair growth. If you have had serious hair loss, it could be helpful to combine the use of these remedies for better results. Adding on a hair loss shampoo can also help stop damage to hair follicles and promote regrowth. These treatments will not work for complete hair loss.