Finasteride is a medication used to treat male pattern baldness (male androgenetic Alopecia) and is used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a benign enlargement of the prostate. It works by converting testosterone in Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that plays a central role in both the development of BPH and hair loss.

Mechanism of action

Finasteride is a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor that specifically inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase type 2. This enzyme is responsible for converting testosterone into DHT in the body. By reducing DHT levels, finasteride can slow the progression of hair thinning and even cause hair regrowth on the scalp in men with androgenetic alopecia. When treating BPH, reducing DHT can help reduce the size of the prostate and relieve symptoms such as difficulty urinating.


For the treatment of hair loss, finasteride is typically taken orally at a dosage of 1 mg daily. When treating BPH, it is given in higher doses (for example, 5 mg daily). The effects on hair loss often only become apparent after several months of regular use, and continued use is necessary to maintain the benefits.

Side effects

Although finasteride is well tolerated by many men, it can cause side effects including:

  • Decreased libido
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Ejaculation disorders
  • In rare cases, breast enlargement or pain

These side effects are reversible in most men after stopping the medication, but in some they may persist even after treatment is stopped.

Important considerations

  • Finasteride is only intended for use in men. Women, especially pregnant women, should not use or handle finasteride because it can cause birth defects in male fetuses.
  • Before starting treatment, men should talk to their doctor about their medical history, possible drug interactions, and their individual risks and benefits.
  • The decision to take finasteride should be carefully considered, especially in view of the possible long-term side effects.

Finasteride is an effective treatment option for men suffering from hair loss or symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia. A thorough discussion with a doctor can help make an informed decision about using this medication.

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