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How to get Finasteride: Is it Over the Counter?

6 min
06/06/2024
Finasteride belongs to a group of medicines called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors and antiandrogens and is a medicine used to treat hair loss and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men. It can also be used to treat excessive hair growth in women. It is usually taken orally and is also found in the form of topical formulations for patients suffering from hair loss.

Prescription-Based Methods for Obtaining Finasteride

  • When is finasteride prescribed:

  1. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): It works by blocking the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone that causes prostate enlargement.
  2. Male hair loss: Promoting hair regrowth in the scalp by inhibiting DHT, which is responsible for hair loss.
  • Who can prescribe finasteride for you:

  1. Primary care physician (PCP): Your local primary care provider or health care provider can prescribe finasteride.
  2. Dermatologist: You can pursue this option if you prefer a specialist opinion.
  3. Telehealth providers: Many telehealth services and online pharmacies offer finasteride.

Telemedicine and Online Prescription Services

Telemedicine has revolutionized healthcare by providing convenient medical services that can be easily accessed via online platforms. Telemedicine simplifies access to health services and provides an effective alternative in many ways, the most prominent of which are:

  • Convenience: Whether you’re feeling unwell or need a routine prescription, it’s easy to make a quick call or video chat with your provider from the comfort of your home.
  • Accessibility to various medical services: Many platforms today provide routine treatments and specialized care for various areas, including behavioral health, sexual health, dermatology, preventive care, and chronic diseases.
  • Lower costs: Telemedicine is a good option in terms of cost and insurance coverage, and represents an effective alternative to traditional in-person visits.
  • Online Prescriptions: You can legally obtain prescriptions through telemedicine sessions, where online doctors can prescribe common medications such as antibiotics, birth control, thyroid medications, blood pressure medications, and many more.

Over-the-Counter Availability of Finasteride

Finasteride is not available without a prescription, as it requires a prescription from a doctor, for the following reasons:

  • Safety: Using finasteride exposes you to potential side effects, including impotence, breast tenderness, and mood changes, so if you are interested in taking it, see your doctor to evaluate your medical history and risks, and to monitor your response to the medication.
  • Hormonal effect: Finasteride affects hormone levels by inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. It reduces the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which plays a role in hair loss, so changing the hormonal balance can have broader effects on the body.
  • Individual treatment: The causes of hair loss vary between individuals, so your doctor should determine whether finasteride is right for you based on factors such as age, health conditions, and other medications.
  • Underlying conditions: Sometimes hair loss is a symptom of an underlying health problem (such as thyroid problems and nutritional deficiencies). A prescription allows the doctor to check and treat any contributing factors.
  • Legal and regulatory reasons: Regulatory agencies (such as the Food and Drug Administration) oversee prescription drugs to ensure safety, effectiveness, and quality.

Generic vs. Brand Name Finasteride

Here are the most important points by which the generic drug Finasteride can be compared with other commercial versions of it, such as Propecia:

Learn about what is Propecia, uses, benefits, and potential side effects.

  • Active ingredient: Finasteride and Propecia both contain the same active ingredient: finasteride. This compound is effective in slowing hair loss and stimulating regrowth by lowering dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels in the body.
  • Brand Name vs. Generic Name: Propecia is the brand name of the drug manufactured by Merck & Co., while finasteride is the active ingredient in Propecia and the generic version of the drug. Propecia was initially released under the name Proscar to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Proscar tablets contain 5 milligrams of finasteride and are still prescribed for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. In 1992, the US Food and Drug Administration approved a second finasteride drug called Propecia to treat male pattern baldness, which contains less finasteride (1 mg) than the treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (5 mg).
  • Intended Use: Propecia is designed for daily use by men who suffer from male pattern baldness, such as receding hair lines, baldness around the crown, or other signs of hair loss. Generic finasteride is also intended to treat hair loss, as it provides the same benefits and mechanism of action as Propecia.
  • Effectiveness: Generally, you will see similar results from both Propecia and Finasteride in reducing hair loss.
  • Price difference: The main difference is in the price, as generic Finasteride is much cheaper than Propecia. However, despite the difference in cost, both options are equally effective in treating hair loss.

To learn more about effective treatments for men’s hair loss, be sure to read our detailed article on topical Finasteride and Minoxidil spray. Discover how this powerful combination can help you achieve better results in combating hair loss.

Buying Finasteride Safely and Legally

Like any other medication you purchase online, it is important to handle your Finasteride purchase safely and legally. Here are some guidelines you can follow:

  • Consult your doctor first: Before starting to take any medication, including finasteride, consult your doctor to assess your suitability for treatment and provide a formal prescription if necessary.
  • Reputable pharmacies: Look for online pharmacies that obtain finasteride directly from reputable manufacturers. Check whether the pharmacy provides details about the origin, manufacturing process, and quality control procedures of the medicine.
  • Prescription requirements: Ensure that the pharmacy requires a prescription, as legitimate sources will always request a prescription, demonstrating adherence to legal and medical standards.
  • Avoid suspiciously low prices: Be wary of sources offering finasteride at unusually low prices, as these prices may indicate counterfeit or substandard products.

In conclusion, obtaining Finasteride can be a straightforward process when you follow the appropriate steps and consult with a healthcare professional. As an effective treatment for men’s hair loss, it offers hope to those struggling with thinning hair and baldness. By understanding how to access this medication and its benefits, you can take proactive steps toward managing and improving your hair health. Always ensure you are informed and guided by a medical expert to achieve the best results.

FAQs About Obtaining Finasteride

  • Do I need a prescription for finasteride?

Yes, finasteride is a prescription medication.

  • How do I get a prescription for finasteride?

To get a prescription for finasteride, you need to visit your primary care doctor or dermatologist.

  • Are there any online services where I can get finasteride?

Yes, there are many online telehealth services that offer consultations and prescriptions for finasteride.

  • Are there any generic versions of finasteride available?

Yes, generic versions of finasteride are available. The generic version is often less expensive and just as effective as the brand-name version.

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