Wednesday, January 17, 2024
When you're looking for hair loss treatments, it can often be confusing with the number of options available. And in many cases, you might need to make the choice between generic finasteride vs Propecia.
Finasteride and Propecia are both the same hair loss treatments used to treat male androgenetic alopecia (commonly known as male pattern baldness). Propecia is a branded version of Finasteride but still contains the same active ingredient, which is 1mg of the drug Finasteride. They are both available via our online doctor.
In this guide, we'll help you understand the difference between these hair regrowth treatments and give you all the information you need to make the right decision.
|Type of medication
|Brand name version
|What it does
|Treats hair loss in men
|Treats hair loss in men
|Same as Propecia (1mg Finasteride)
|Same as Finasteride (1mg Finasteride)
|How it works
|Reduces a substance (DHT) that causes hair loss
Reduces the same substance causing hair loss
|Usually more expensive
|How often to take it
|One pill a day
|One pill a day
|Time to see results
|Usually 3-6 months of daily use
|Usually 3-6 months of daily use
|Common side effects
|Can include reduced sex drive, erectile problems
|Similar side effects as Finasteride
|Why choose this?
|Less expensive, same effectiveness
|Brand name might feel more trustworthy to some
Both Finasteride and Propecia work by stopping a specific enzyme in the body, called 5-alpha reductase, from working. This enzyme usually changes testosterone, a hormone, into another substance known as DHT (dihydrotestosterone).
DHT normally acts on hair follicles to reduce the growth phase of the hair from 3-6 years to a few months. It also causes the hair follicles themselves to shrink, making the hairs grow back thinner and more sparse with each cycle. This leads to progressive hair loss. By blocking this enzyme and reducing the levels of DHT, both Finasteride and Propecia reduce hair loss and increase healthy hair growth.
By stopping this enzyme and lowering the amount of DHT, both Finasteride and Propecia help reduce hair loss and promote the growth of healthier hair.
To understand this, it’s useful to know how a new drug is brought to market. Pharmaceutical companies will develop a drug and then take it through all the required stages of testing before it can be approved for use by the regulatory bodies which are the MHRA in the U.K. and the FDA in the USA. When a new drug is released, the drug company will have a patent on it, meaning that only they can manufacture the drug for as long as the patent is in place. Once the patent expires, other pharmaceutical companies are free to manufacture the drug. They benefit from the fact that all the research and testing has already taken place and can therefore manufacture it at a much cheaper price. Propecia was the first of its kind to come to market, with the FDA approving its patent in 1997. The generic version of Finasteride became available in 2006.
Both drugs contain the same active ingredient, but the other components or excipients may vary. Excipients are non-active ingredients, they have no therapeutic effect but can influence how a drug looks or tastes, or how stable it is or how quickly it is absorbed.
Patients may express a preference for a branded drug for the above reasons, and sometimes there are medical reasons why branded drugs may be prescribed. For example, anti-epilepsy drugs are often prescribed as branded this is due to different absorption rates between generic and branded versions, which could result in increased frequency of seizures. As a rule, NHS practitioners are encouraged to prescribe generic medications as they are much cheaper.
First, it’s important to realise that there need to be some hair follicles present for it to work, i.e., it’s not likely to help if you are already totally bald. If used daily, you are likely to see results in 3-6 months. If use is discontinued, however, the hair will return to its baseline pre-treatment level within 9-12 months. Therefore, to be effective, it must be used continuously.
When it comes to the amount taken by patients, there is no difference between these hair loss treatments. Since finasteride and Propecia contain the very same active ingredient, they are prescribed in equivalent tablet doses.
The recommended dosage for treating pattern baldness is simple - one 1mg oral tablet once per day. This dosage comes from extensive clinical testing showing that 1mg of finasteride daily provides the optimum balance of safety, tolerance, and effectiveness for stopping hair loss in a majority of men.
The easy, once-a-day finasteride or Propecia routine makes it more convenient to maintain good adherence over the long term as well. Missing doses can allow DHT levels to creep back up, resulting in renewed hair follicle shrinkage and gradual baldness returning. So, taking the medication consistently every day is important to maintain regrowth results. But the single tablet is easy to add to any regular routine.
In terms of medication amount, patients can expect the same 1mg daily dose whether they opt for cheaper generic finasteride or a costlier brand name, Propecia. Just be sure to complete the full prescription course as directed for the best hair saving and regrowth with either choice.
Both medications share the same active ingredient (finasteride) so their potential side effects are very similar. However, there may be subtle differences in reaction rates.
Common side effects
Affecting 1-10 out of 100 users:
Uncommon side effects
Affecting 1-10 out of 1000 users:
Side effects with unknown frequency include allergic reactions in some individuals.
In most men, sexual side effects like low libido or erectile dysfunction go away after stopping the medication. If any worrisome reactions occur, consult a licensed healthcare professional right away. Reporting side effects helps medical experts understand these treatments better over the long term.
Overall, finasteride and Propecia pose very low health risk for most patients, especially compared to the psychological benefits of slowing hair loss. However, discuss all options thoroughly with a provider before starting treatment.
Here’s a price comparison of the two medications on the Oxford Online Pharmacy website.*
|4 weeks supply
|12 weeks supply
|24 weeks supply
*These prices are from the Oxford Online Pharmacy website on 10.01.24 and are subject to change.
A Japanese study followed up on 3177 men with Male Androgenetic Alopecia who were taking 1mg of Finasteride for a total of 3 years. 87.1 % of them reported an increase in hair growth to varying degrees, with adverse reactions reported in just 0.7%
As the active ingredient is the same, you are just as likely to achieve results with Finasteride as you are with Propecia.
Just as you may choose a branded food product because you like the subtle difference in its taste or its marketing appeal, you may choose Propecia for the same reasons. However, there are also equally valid reasons why one might opt for finasteride instead.
The main driver is typically cost - since finasteride is available generically, it is significantly less expensive in the UK. For patients paying out of pocket, this difference can be substantial. Over a year of treatment, generic finasteride can save hundreds of pounds compared to brand-name Propecia.
The safety profile of the drugs is the same due to their identical active ingredient. However, there is more medical trial data on Propecia for the simple reason that it has been around longer. Some men may prefer it for the added reassurance that this could provide.
Yet, for many patients, paying extra for the brand name alone offers little additional benefit. Due to the pharmacological equivalence between these oral tablets, generic finasteride performs just as well at stopping hair loss for a fraction of the sticker price. Ultimately, the choice comes down to personal preference, budget, and consultation from a licensed healthcare professional. Both provide safe and clinically proven options for treating male pattern baldness.
Deciding between generic finasteride or branded Propecia can be difficult. But with the right considerations, patients can make informed decisions about these identical hair loss treatments.
In the end, have open conversations with medical professionals about expectations, budget, and other needs influencing the choice between these safe and proven hair loss solutions. Either finasteride or Propecia can fight pattern baldness successfully over the long term when taken as prescribed. Lifestyle factors, genetics, age and extent of shedding also play roles in determining results. But the most crucial decision is simply taking that first step to stop further hair thinning and begin regrowing what's been lost.
Oxford Online Pharmacy is a trusted, fully registered UK pharmacy focused on exceptional patient care and safety. Our experienced team is ready to provide personalised advice and support regarding options like finasteride and Propecia for treating hair loss.
We encourage you to fill out our easy online consultation form as the first crucial step. This consultation collects information on your health history and needs in order to make the best-informed choice between finasteride or Propecia moving forward.
Selecting the right treatment is so important. Our pharmacy experts will take the time to understand your specific situation, preferences, and budget to ensure you get tailored recommendations catered to your circumstances. We offer complete reassurance that the guidance you receive will be based on your individual health profile.
Please see our contact page to get in touch with us directly for consultations or any additional questions. We are committed to supporting you fully throughout your hair regrowth journey. Our team's guidance can help you take that first empowering step towards safely and effectively addressing hair thinning or balding.
The time is now - reach out so we can start developing your customised plan for preventing further loss and regrowing healthier, thicker hair in the long term. Our customers' success and satisfaction are our top priorities.
No, the brand does not matter in terms of performance or safety. Generic medications like finasteride contain the same active ingredient as brand-name versions like Propecia. What matters most is sticking with consistent daily use to stop hair loss rather than the name on the tablet. Both deliver the same results.
No, there are other drugs and supplements that also reduce DHT levels to help slow and regrow hair. But finasteride is one of the most clinically proven medications for this purpose. However, research continues into other potential natural DHT blockers as well, like pumpkin seed oil for example.
No, Finasteride does not lower overall testosterone in the body. It works by blocking the conversion of testosterone into DHT. This helps redirect testosterone's effects to be more beneficial, including healthier hair growth.