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How long does finasteride take to work?

Finasteride is a hugely popular drug offered for hair loss issues. It works by preventing testosterone being converted to DHT (it reduces DHT levels by up to 70 percent), and is highly effective when it comes to preventing male pattern hair loss. In some cases it has even been shown to encourage hair growth once more, although this is not the result for everyone, and is not the main function of the drug.

Although finasteride may be ideal for you, it does take a little time for results to become noticeable. The truth is that finasteride starts working as soon as you begin to take it, but it can take a number of months before the results are visible; you may not initially notice anything different, but this is why persevering is so important – eventually, you may even notice a stall in your hair loss or possible a slight regrowth of hair, though this is not guaranteed.

From Taking The First Pill

As soon as you take the first pill, your Dihydrotestosterone DHT levels will start to reduce. Finasteride is taken daily, and the idea is that the drug accumulates within your system, ensuring that hair loss is stopped and your hair is protected.

After Three To Four Months

Everyone’s metabolism works differently, and this will affect finasteride’s effectiveness and will determine how long it will take for you to notice that it has begun to work. Some people find that they notice a difference in their hair loss within three months, while for others it could be a year.

Hair follicles are slow to produce new hairs, so you will need to continue to take the pills for some time even if you don’t feel they are working. It may simply be that your hair takes longer to grow than someone else’s. Missing pills and not following the instructions that your health care provider has given you will cause finasteride to take longer to work.

In realistic terms, it is important to give finasteride at least a year before seeking an alternative. If this is something you choose to do, make sure you speak to a doctor to review your condition and the treatment prescribed to you. If you stop taking Finasteride abruptly, you may find that your hair begins to fall out again.

New Hair?

Of course, finasteride’s main function is to prevent further hair loss - not necessarily to re-grow hair which has already been lost and damaged. This means you may not notice any improvement in the look of your hair at all – your hair may have been lost for good. However, if you were to stop taking finasteride for an extended period, your hair loss could continue, and you would notice that you were once more losing your hair.

One other thing to remember is that hair falls out naturally; there is a specific hair growth cycle. It starts with the anagen phase wherein the hair grows – roughly half an inch per month. This phase will last around three to five years. Next comes the catagen phase; this is a transitional phase lasting just 10 days. Finally, it is the telogen phase. This is when the hair falls out naturally. The follicle left behind needs about three months to recover before new hair will grow.

Just because you are seeing hair on your pillow, on your hairbrush, or in the shower, that doesn't mean finasteride isn't doing its job; this is often simply hair that would have fallen out no matter what preventative measures you have put in place.

Authored & Reviewed By

Mohamed Imran Lakhi

MPharm - Lead Pharmacist
Imran Lakhi is the superintendent pharmacist and founder at Prescription Doctor. He has been at the core of our team.

Published on: 23/10/2019 Reviewed on: 18/03/2021
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