Monday, April 25, 2022
I’d like to share with you a question I was asked via our customer services phone line - why is Finasteride available in 1mg and 1.25mg doses, and which one is better?
Here I’d like to tell you a bit about what I read, what I found and what I think. I hope the information shared helps you with your own decisions about finding the right option for you.
Let’s start with why these products are both available and why different services might recommend one or the other.
So, if you go shopping around for Finasteride you will probably come across a couple of services that offer 1.25mg doses instead of the more available 1mg.
The UK (and worldwide) recommended and approved dose of Finasteride for treating Male Pattern Baldness (MPB), also known as Androgenic Alopecia (AA) is 1mg once daily and most services will offer this as individual 1mg tablets packaged in blister strips inside their original manufacturer's sealed box.
The 1.25mg doses are almost always 5mg tablets, cut into quarters. Sometimes the service you buy from will provide these already quartered or they might provide you with the 5mg tablets and tell you to quarter them yourselves.
And the only reason for this is… cost. The 5mg tablets are considerably lower cost per box than the 1mg tablets - this cost saving might be passed on to the customer, retained by the provider as profit or a bit of both.
I should mention as a side - a dose of 5mg Finasteride daily is used to treat prostate conditions and would never be recommended for use as an MPB/AA treatment.
As for whether the extra 0.25mg daily dose does anything extra for your hairline, the answer is very likely not. Studies (1) show that men who are taking 5mg Finasteride daily don’t show any faster or thicker hair regrowth than men who take 1mg daily, instead only increasing their risk of experiencing side effects.
There are a few other considerations you should make. If the service you buy from is supplying the tablets pre-cut, you should feel comfortable that this process is being done in a clean environment and that your tablets are being handled by clean hands.
If the service you use supplies you with 5mg tablets and instructs you to cut them yourself then there are a few safety precautions you need to take. The first being to ensure that no females touch the tablet segments and that the area where you have been cutting the tablets is cleaned properly of residue. You may be aware that Finasteride can be absorbed via the skin and has the potential in females to cause defects in an unborn baby.
I’d also recommend you buy a proper “pill cutter”, no kitchen knives please. The 5mg tablets weren’t designed to be split like this and you might find that some segments crumble instead of holding their shape. This residual powder should be discarded (ideally at your local high street pharmacy).
There is no increased effectiveness in taking 1.25mg of Finasteride daily as opposed to the 1mg dose.
The 1.25mg doses are likely to be fiddly or not in original packaging, but they could cost you less.
Wherever you source your Finasteride from, it is the service’s responsibility to give you clear directions concerning how to handle and take your medicine. You should also be given a relevant Patient Information Leaflet, which covers treatment for MPB/AA and not a leaflet for the 5mg strength which is used to treat prostate conditions.
For more information about Finasteride or other treatments for MPB/AA, please see our Guide.
1. Roberts JL, Fiedler V, Imperato-McGinley J, Whiting D, Olsen E, Shupack J, et al. Clinical dose ranging studies with finasteride, a type 2 5alpha-reductase inhibitor, in men with male pattern hair loss. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1999 Oct;41(4):555–63.