When To Take Finasteride For Hair Growth

7 min
Finasteride is an effective treatment for male pattern baldness. Its effectiveness varies depending on who is using it. It is most successful when administered during the early stages of androgenetic alopecia, before major hair loss develops. To get the most advantage, it must also be used on a regular and ongoing basis. Despite its effectiveness in hair regrowth, it has many side effects that should be known before beginning to use it, and it is critical not to take it without the supervision of a doctor or health care provider, especially if symptoms appear. We will go over all of this in detail, including possible symptoms, the best time to take this drug, and other relevant information on its use.

Mechanism of Action and Hair Growth Benefits

Finasteride works by inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a hormone that contributes to the miniaturization of hair follicles in individuals genetically predisposed to androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness). By blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT, finasteride helps reduce DHT levels in the scalp, which can slow down hair loss and promote hair regrowth in some individuals. Here’s how finasteride’s mechanism of action leads to hair growth benefits:

  1. Reduction of DHT Levels: Finasteride primarily targets the type II 5-alpha reductase enzyme, which is predominantly found in the scalp and prostate gland. By inhibiting this enzyme, finasteride reduces the conversion of testosterone to DHT specifically in the scalp, leading to lower DHT levels in the scalp tissues.
  2. Maintenance of Hair Follicles: DHT is known to contribute to the miniaturization of hair follicles in individuals with androgenetic alopecia. By reducing DHT levels, finasteride helps maintain the size of hair follicles, preventing them from shrinking and eventually ceasing to produce visible hair.
  3. Extended Anagen Phase: The anagen phase is the active growth phase of the hair follicle cycle. By inhibiting DHT, finasteride prolongs the duration of the anagen phase, allowing hair follicles to grow hair for longer periods before entering the telogen (resting) phase. This extension of the anagen phase can result in thicker and longer-lasting hair growth.
  4. Promotion of Hair Regrowth: While finasteride may not fully restore hair in areas that have already experienced significant hair loss, it can promote the regrowth of miniaturized hairs, leading to increased hair density and coverage in some individuals. This effect is often more pronounced in the crown area of the scalp.

When is the best time to take finasteride?

The timing for taking finasteride primarily depends on personal preference and convenience. Here are some considerations:

  1. Consistency: The most crucial aspect of taking finasteride is consistency. It’s typically recommended to take it at the same time every day to maintain steady levels of the medication in your system.
  2. Daily Dosage: Finasteride is usually prescribed as a once-daily medication. Whether you take it in the morning, afternoon, or evening is less important than taking it consistently every day.
  3. Routine Integration: Some people find it helpful to incorporate taking finasteride into their daily routine. This could mean taking it with breakfast, before bed, or at another time that fits well with your schedule.
  4. Remembering to Take It: Choose a time when you’re less likely to forget to take your medication. For example, if you have a daily morning routine, you might find it easier to remember to take finasteride alongside brushing your teeth or eating breakfast.
  5. Personal Preferences: Consider any personal preferences or factors that might influence when you prefer to take medication. For example, if you find that finasteride makes you drowsy, you might prefer taking it in the evening.
  6. With or Without Food: Finasteride can be taken with or without food, so you don’t necessarily need to time it with meals unless you find it easier to remember that way.

The Importance of Consistency in Finasteride Usage


Finasteride is a medication that inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, reducing testosterone conversion to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Consistent use helps maintain steady levels of the medication, which is essential for managing conditions like benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and androgenetic alopecia. It stabilizes DHT levels, slows prostate gland growth, and reduces hair loss. Consistent use prevents symptom flare-ups and promotes hair growth. Finasteride is often used as a long-term treatment for BPH or alopecia, and consistent use minimizes side effects. Healthcare provider monitoring is crucial for prompt identification and management.

  1. Daily Dosage: Take finasteride once daily at the same time for steady levels.
  2. Long-Term Treatment: Finasteride is used long-term for conditions like BPH or male pattern baldness.
  3. Effectiveness: Consistency is crucial for managing symptoms and slowing hair loss.
  4. Missed Doses: If missed, take finasteride as soon as possible; don’t double up.
  5. Follow Healthcare Provider’s Instructions: Follow dosage instructions tailored by your healthcare provider.
  6. Monitoring and Follow-Up: Regular check-ups help monitor progress and side effects.
  7. Potential Side Effects: Be aware of and monitor for potential side effects with consistent usage.

Potential Side Effects and Safety Considerations

Before taking finasteride, discuss any concerns or questions you may have about potential side effects and safety precautions with your healthcare expert. Based on your medical history, they may provide you with personalized advice and help you assess the benefits and drawbacks of a course of therapy.

  1. Sexual Side Effects: Some may experience decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, or ejaculation issues with finasteride. These are often reversible but consult your healthcare provider if they occur.
  2. Breast Tenderness: Rarely, finasteride may cause breast tenderness or enlargement (gynecomastia). Inform your healthcare provider if you experience these symptoms.
  3. Depression/Mood Changes: While uncommon, mood changes or depressive symptoms may occur. Discuss any mood alterations with your healthcare provider.
  4. Allergic Reactions: Rarely, finasteride can trigger allergic reactions such as rash, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience these symptoms.
  5. Prostate Cancer Risk: Finasteride may reduce prostate cancer risk but can also mask its presence in screening tests. Follow recommended prostate cancer screening guidelines.
  6. Pregnancy Risk: Pregnant or potentially pregnant women should avoid handling crushed or broken finasteride tablets due to risk to the male fetus.
  7. Liver Function: Individuals with liver disease may require dose adjustments or closer monitoring while taking finasteride.
  8. Interactions: Finasteride may interact with certain medications, particularly those metabolized by the liver. Inform your healthcare provider about all medications and supplements you’re taking to prevent potential interactions.


Tips for Maximizing Finasteride Effectiveness

  1. Consistent Use: Take finasteride regularly as directed.
  2. Follow Instructions: Adhere to prescribed dosage and frequency.
  3. Long-Term Treatment: Continue finasteride for sustained benefits.
  4. Patience: Results may take time; keep using it.
  5. Healthy Lifestyle: Eat well, exercise, manage stress.
  6. Avoid Harmful Habits: Quit smoking, limit alcohol.
  7. Regular Check-ups: Attend follow-ups to monitor progress.
  8. Consult Your Doctor: Discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is it safe to take finasteride?

Yes, finasteride is generally considered safe when used as prescribed. However, it can cause side effects such as decreased libido and erectile dysfunction. Pregnant women should avoid handling the medication. Regular monitoring is advised, especially for long-term use. It’s essential to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider.

What are the long-term side effects of finasteride?

While finasteride is generally well-tolerated, some individuals may experience long-term side effects, although they are rare. These can include:

  1. Sexual Dysfunction: Some users may experience persistent sexual side effects such as decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, or difficulty ejaculating even after discontinuing finasteride.
  2. Mood Changes: In rare cases, finasteride has been associated with persistent mood changes or depressive symptoms that may persist after discontinuation of the medication.
  3. Gynecomastia: Rarely, finasteride may cause breast tenderness or enlargement in some individuals.
  4. Persistent Symptoms: In a small number of cases, individuals may report persistent symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, or muscle weakness even after stopping finasteride, a condition sometimes referred to as post-finasteride syndrome (PFS). However, the existence and nature of PFS are still debated within the medical community.

In conclusion, finasteride is generally safe and effective for treating conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia and male pattern baldness. While it may cause rare side effects such as sexual dysfunction or breast tenderness, most users tolerate it well. It’s important to weigh the benefits against potential risks and discuss any concerns with a healthcare provider. Overall, when used as prescribed and monitored, finasteride can be a valuable treatment option for many individuals.

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