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IMPORTANT Finasteride must be prescribed by a healthcare provider. A Roman-affiliated U.S.-licensed healthcare professional will evaluate your health information to determine if treatment with Finasteride is appropriate. Finasteride is not for use by women or children, and should not be handled by pregnant women. It decreases blood PSA levels and may increase the risk of high-grade prostate cancer. Learn more about Finasteride including important safety information here.
Finasteride is for use by ADULT MEN ONLY and should NOT be used by women or children.
Do not take finasteride if you:
Before taking finasteride, tell your healthcare provider if you:
Withholding or providing inaccurate information about your health and medical history in order to obtain treatment may result in harm.
How should I take finasteride?
Finasteride can have the following side effects:
The most common side effects of finasteride include:
The following have been reported in general use with finasteride:
Keep finasteride and all medicines out of the reach of children. Do not give finasteride to other people, even if they have the same symptoms you have. It may harm them.
Oral finasteride 1 mg is one of two FDA-approved treatments for male pattern hair loss, the other one being topical minoxidil 2% or 5%. Since oral finasteride has been shown to cause sexual side effects in a small number of men (3.8% of men who took finasteride vs 2.1% of men who took placebo in phase III clinical trials for finasteride), researchers have been interested in whether topical finasteride applied to the scalp may be effective in treating male pattern hair loss with a lower potential for side effects.
A 2018 systematic review of the results of seven different studies concluded that topical finasteride is effective for the treatment of male pattern hair loss but also lowers plasma (blood) DHT levels which can lead to undesired side effects like low libido. Still, it appears that the incidence of side effects was lower with topical finasteride than oral finasteride. Also, some researchers found that plasma DHT levels were only minimally decreased with topical finasteride.
At this time, topical finasteride is not FDA-approved for the treatment of male pattern hair loss and must be specially compounded by a compounding pharmacy and requires a doctor’s prescription. For this reason, compounded topical finasteride is not available through Roman.
In the United States, finasteride, whether oral or topical, is not available without a prescription from a healthcare practitioner. Oral finasteride in the 1 mg and 5 mg doses are FDA-approved medications to treat male pattern hair loss and the symptoms of BPH, respectively. Topical finasteride is not FDA-approved and can be made by compounding pharmacies but still requires a prescription. There may be sellers who advertise finasteride online without a prescription, but these are not recommended as they may not be regulated for purity of ingredients, efficacy, or safety.
Minoxidil is one of two FDA-approved treatments for male pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia). It was originally designed as an oral pill to treat hypertension. It was quickly abandoned as a primary treatment for hypertension because patients didn’t tolerate the oral (pill) form very well. It is still available in oral form, but it is rarely used. One of the side effects of oral minoxidil was unwanted hair growth. This prompted a study of minoxidil in topical form, which turned out to still have the positive effect of stopping hair loss and in some cases, even regrowing hair that was lost. The topical form is better tolerated and does not have the same effects as when it was taken by mouth.
How is minoxidil different from Rogaine®?
Rogaine® was the original brand name version of topical minoxidil that was FDA-approved for male pattern hair loss. After several years of Rogaine® being on the market, the FDA approved generic formulations of minoxidil. Rogaine® and generic minoxidil are both available in 2% and 5% strengths as a solution and as a foam. Minoxidil 5% has been found to be more effective in men, while the 2% and 5% are equally effective in women. Both strengths are FDA-approved for use in men and the 2% strength is also FDA-approved for use in women.
The most common side effects of topical minoxidil are irritation and itching of the scalp where the medication is applied. Unintended hair growth can occur if minoxidil comes in contact with areas other than your scalp. Other potential side effects of topical minoxidil that are more rare include:
You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these side effects.
When minoxidil is used topically, only about 2% of it is absorbed, which is why it has such a good side effect profile. Topical minoxidil does not interfere with any known drugs that are taken orally under normal circumstances. You should not use topical minoxidil over damaged skin because this will increase the amount that is absorbed systemically. Consult a dermatologist before using topical minoxidil if you are using other topical medications on your scalp.
Minoxidil comes in two strengths, 2% and 5%. 5% minoxidil has been shown to be more effective than 2% in men but not in women. Both strengths are approved for hair loss in men, but only the 2% strength is approved in women.
For minoxidil solution: The dose should not exceed 2 mL per day.
For minoxidil foam: The dose should not exceed one capful per day.