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Can you get Finasteride on the NHS?
Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)
Medically reviewed by
Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)
Updated on February 2, 2024

At present, Finasteride 1mg for hair loss is not available for patients through the National Health Service. Only Finasteride 5mg is available to NHS patients with a legitimate medical condition. However, these Finasteride tablets are prescribed for conditions such as an enlarged prostate caused by Benign Prostate Enlargement.

In this article we will look at:

  • Can you get finasteride on the NHS?
  • Finasteride for hair loss vs benign prostate enlargement
  • Can you get Finasteride without a prescription?
  • Can you get help with Finasteride side effects on the NHS?
  • What to consider when getting a private prescription for Finasteride
  • Where to get Finasteride
Table of Contents

Can you get Finasteride on the NHS?

Though Finasteride is available in two dosages, only the 5mg dosage, which is used to treat conditions such as an enlarged prostate, is available on the NHS at present.

The 1mg dosage for male pattern baldness is not available on the NHS and needs to be obtained privately.

Although Finasteride is an NHS-recommended treatment for hair loss, the 1mg dosage is not available on the NHS because male pattern baldness is a largely cosmetic condition. It doesn’t usually cause health problems if untreated, whereas an enlarged prostate can lead to many medical issues if left untreated [1].

In rare cases, Finasteride for transgender patients may be available on the NHS if it’s deemed part of your gender-affirming hormone therapy.

Finasteride for hair loss vs benign prostate enlargement

Finasteride works to inhibit the body’s conversion of testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone). Excessive DHT production can cause conditions such as male pattern baldness or an enlarged prostate. Finasteride reduces the hormone levels and therefore slows or halts these conditions [2].

Finasteride and DHT chemical structure

The medication works in the same way for both male pattern baldness and enlarged prostate. However, a stronger dose is usually needed for an enlarged prostate [3].

This can be disheartening to hear as we know that many men can experience mental distress due to hair loss. When Rob Holding had a hair transplant at the Wimpole Clinic, he was very open about the effects of hair loss on his mental health.

Rob Holding before and after hair transplant at the Wimpole Clinic

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While he has received a lot of praise for his hair transplant result, medications following his procedure played a vital role.

Can you get Finasteride without a prescription?

No, you can’t get Finasteride without a prescription from a medical professional as Finasteride cannot legally be sold without one.

You must be deemed medically suitable by your GP or a hair transplant clinic before you can get Finasteride. Without accurate and professional medical advice and monitoring, you won’t know if Finasteride is suitable for you.

Finasteride has been linked with several side effects, so it’s important to mitigate the risk of these with support from a health professional.

Buying Finasteride from an unlicensed supplier can put your health at risk. Speaking to a reputable hair loss clinic is the best way to get a Finasteride prescription to tackle male pattern baldness.

Can you get help with Finasteride side effects on the NHS?

Yes, you can get help for Finasteride’s side effects on the NHS. Though it’s not usually prescribed through the National Health Service, you can still access NHS care for any complications.

See your GP if you experience any of the following when using Finasteride:

Post-Finasteride syndrome (PFS),  is a condition characterised by Finasteride side effects continuing after someone stops taking the drug and is an emerging area of clinical concern.

Why you should tell your GP that you are taking Finasteride

As always, it’s important to notify your GP or healthcare professional if you are taking any medications that they may not be aware of.

In the case of Finasteride, it is especially important to notify your GP of your Finasteride dosage if you need to take a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test. This blood test is used to check for prostate cancer and the results can be affected if the patient is taking Finasteride.

What to consider when getting a private prescription for Finasteride

Here are three areas to consider when getting a private Finasteride prescription.

Supplier licensing and reputation

One of the most important things to remember when obtaining a prescription privately for Finasteride is to check that the supplier is licensed and reputable. Choosing a reputable clinic is important as you need a medical assessment to ensure Finasteride is suitable for you.

Any clinic that you attend should be registered with the CQC (Care Quality Commission). If you’re obtaining a prescription from an online pharmacy, check that the pharmacy is registered with the GPhC (General Pharmaceutical Council).

Finasteride costs

Private prescriptions can be expensive, so it’s important to consider how much Finasteride costs.

A private consultation can cost anywhere from £100-£200. A monthly prescription for Finasteride typically costs £20-30, though online pharmacy prices tend to be cheaper at around £15 per month.

When you start taking Finasteride, you may need to continue taking it indefinitely to maintain the hair regrowth effects. So prescription costs are ongoing and usually add up to around £180-£360 per year.

Finasteride results

It is important to remember that a Finasteride before and after results can be different for each individual, and depends on the stage of your male pattern baldness.

It is also important to be realistic about the results you can expect from Finasteride. If you’re in the early stages of hair loss, or your hair loss is localised on the crown, you can expect to see better results with Finasteride treatment than someone on the latter stages of the Norwood Scale.

If you can’t get a private prescription for Finasteride, either due to cost or unsuitability, there are alternatives to Finasteride available.

Where to get Finasteride

There are a few options for where to obtain Finasteride:

A specialist hair clinic can help to assess your hair loss and prescribe you Finasteride if needed.

Other hair loss treatments like Minoxidil aren’t available on the NHS, but you can get them over-the-counter without a prescription.

Get expert advice about Finasteride

If you need more advice or a face-to-face consultation about Finasteride, our trichology team is on hand to offer guidance and support. We can prescribe hair loss treatments such as Finasteride alongside various surgical treatments.

As a reputable clinic providing quality hair restoration services for over 45 years, we have a plethora of experience. Book your free consultation with Wimpole clinic today for further information on how we can help restore your lose hair.

Can you get Finasteride on the NHS?, Wimpole Clinic

Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)
Medically reviewed by Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)Updated on February 2, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
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