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Is it OK to take Finasteride 3 times a week?
Dr. Michael May (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Michael May (FRCS)
Updated on March 26, 2024

Although it’s normal to naturally lose hair from washing and brushing, when hair loss starts to become more severe, it’s common for patients to jump into action and do something about it.

Hair loss is something that affects around 85% of men globally [1] and 8 million women in the UK alone [2].

From topical products to FUE hair transplants and oral medication, there are plenty of methods you can follow to prevent or reverse the effects of hair loss. One medication that is frequently prescribed to those experiencing hair thinning and loss is Finasteride.

Depending on how quickly you’re losing your hair, you might be wondering if you can adapt your dosage of Finasteride medication to suit your condition.

If you’ve been thinking about changing up your Finasteride dosage to every other day, then read on to learn everything you need to know about the hair loss treatment and its dosage.

Table of Contents

What is Finasteride?

Finasteride is a drug that can be prescribed to you if you’re experiencing hair loss such as male pattern baldness, it comes as an oral tablet and can be administered with or without meals.

You’ll normally find Finasteride under two brand names: Proscar and Propecia.

Proscar is most commonly used to treat symptoms of enlarged prostate and Propecia is usually administered to treat male pattern baldness. Unfortunately, there are no clinical trials for treating female pattern baldness and we advise women against taking finasteride.

What’s the recommended dosage of Finasteride?

The recommended dose of Finasteride is one tablet (1 mg) taken once daily. You can take Finasteride in the morning or at night as long as you routinely take it.

You’ll normally have to keep up the dosage for three months before you see any hair growth benefits, with the full effects starting to show within 12 months [3].

Scalp hair before, after 12 months, and after 24 months of Finasteride treatment

Can you take Finasteride three times a week instead?

Unfortunately, regardless of how bad your hair loss is, you shouldn’t take anything other than the suggested dosage of Finasteride – which is 1 mg per day.

It would be best if you didn’t take finasteride three times a week because the tablet is formulated with the optimal amount of medication to reduce the level of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is a major cause of male pattern hair loss [4].

A 1 mg daily dose of Finasteride has been licensed by the UK’s medical regulatory board for its ability to improve hair loss, any other Finasteride dosage will not have the same effect.

Some studies [5] have looked into the half-life of Finasteride, which stays in your body between 4.7 hours to 7.1 hours, which can result in slow accumulation over time, but it’s still not recommended to skip any of your daily doses.

When you’ve been prescribed Finasteride, you want to make sure you get the optimal benefits and to do this you have to be consistent and take the correct dosage. Skipping, or lowering your dosage can result in minimal change in hair loss.

How does Finasteride work?

Finasteride decreases the amount of DHT in your body, which can negatively affect the hair follicles and thus lead to the loss of hair.

The medications inhibit something known as 5alpha-reductase, which stops testosterone from being able to convert into DHT which slows down the rate of hair loss.

What are the results of taking Finasteride?

If you’re experiencing hair loss, you’ll be happy to hear that the results of taking Finasteride are largely very positive.

In a range of clinical studies, it’s been found that 1mg of Finasteride a day promotes hair growth and prevents further hair loss [6, 7] over a two-year treatment cycle and that the recommended dosage is usually well tolerated by patients [8].

There have been studies that show that daily doses of as low as 0.2 mg per day show some improvement in DHT levels [9], but it’s largely agreed that there need to be more clinical studies to create a strong argument for lower doses.

Various other studies have shown that the drug has beneficial effects on androgenetic alopecia [10], however, it doesn’t have the same effects on female hair loss.

In short, for men who have been experiencing male pattern baldness, Finasteride is an effective medication that can prevent and improve hair loss, with no worsening over a 10-year period [11]. 

What are the side effects of taking Finasteride?

Despite a very low percentage, Finasteride treatment for hair loss does have side effects. This includes but is not limited to a decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction and skin rashes.

It should be noted that most of these side effects disappear once you stop taking the medication. Learn more about Finasteride safety and side effects.

The majority of users will experience no side effects – which is why 1 mg of Finasteride was the most prescribed medication to patients in 2021 by members of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS):

Chart showing the medication prescribed for hair loss

What are some alternatives to taking Finasteride for hair loss?

Although Finasteride is generally a well-tolerated medication that comes with a range of favourable benefits, there are some patients that experience some not-so-good effects [12].

The most common of these are reduced libido, decreased ejaculate volume, Finasteride shedding, and Finasteride gynecomastia – which is where male breast tissue enlarges.

If you’re worried about taking Finasteride for these reasons, there are alternative methods of treating hair loss that you can consider.

There is a range of different options like Minoxidil, Biotin for hair loss, Pygeum bark, and Pumpkin seed oil [4] that have all shown signs of blocking DHT and reducing loss of hair.

If your hair loss is more extreme, you might even think about visiting a hair transplant clinic. The two most common options are an FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) transplant or FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation), both of which can provide a natural result.

Book a consultation

If you want to do something about your hair loss, or just need some professional advice to help you figure out which of the best hair loss treatments for men is best for your situation, speak to one of our professional surgeons at Wimpole Clinic.

Our expert and professional specialists can help you determine the best option for your needs, and take you through the whole process.

If this is of interest to you, you can start off with one of our no-obligation consultations. In this short discussion, you can speak to an expert and figure out if the hair transplant process will be effective for you or not.

Is it OK to take Finasteride 3 times a week?, Wimpole Clinic

Dr. Michael May (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by Dr. Michael May (FRCS)Updated on March 26, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.

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