Finasteride 5mg is a drug primarily used to treat benign prostate enlargement (BPE). It can also be used to treat male pattern baldness, although it’s less commonly used than Finasteride 1mg.
In this article, learn all you need to know about the Finasteride 5mg dose, including:
Finasteride is a drug that blocks the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male sex hormone metabolised from testosterone.
DHT is an important androgen for male development in early life. But for adults, high levels of DHT are linked with male pattern baldness and benign prostate enlargement (BPE) . So Finasteride is often used to treat these conditions.
Finasteride 5mg is the highest dose of this medicine usually administered. It’s commonly used to treat benign prostate enlargement (also known as benign prostate hyperplasia).
Benign prostate enlargement is the medical term for an enlarged prostate. It’s not usually a serious condition, but it can cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as a frequent need to urinate and difficulty urinating. That’s because prostate enlargement narrows the urethra:
Finasteride 5mg is available under the brand name Proscar. It’s also available as a generic medication, which may be cheaper and works the same way. Learn more about how much Finasteride costs.
In rare cases, Finasteride 5mg can be used to treat male pattern baldness (also known as androgenetic alopecia).
However, most evidence shows that Finasteride 5mg is no more effective at treating hair loss than Finasteride 1mg, which is the standard dose for male pattern baldness treatment [2-4]. So it’s not usually necessary to take Finasteride 5mg for hair loss.
Finasteride 5mg isn’t licensed to treat hair loss in the UK, but some doctors may prescribe it off-label.
Finasteride 5mg tablets stop your body from converting testosterone to DHT by reducing the activity of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. Reducing your DHT levels can help shrink an enlarged prostate and reverse hair loss caused by male pattern baldness.
One study found that 5mg of Finasteride reduced scalp DHT levels by 69% and serum DHT levels (i.e. DHT in the body) by 72% .
By comparison, Finasteride 1mg reduced scalp DHT levels by 64% and serum DHT levels by 71%. This suggests that in general, a Finasteride 1mg dose is enough to decrease DHT levels and slow hair loss.
According to the NHS, it can take around six months for Finasteride 5mg to work for BPE .
For hair loss, you can usually see results in around three to six months.
Take your Finasteride dose as prescribed by your doctor or pharmacist. This usually involves swallowing one tablet whole at the same time each day.
If you forget to take Finasteride one day, wait until the next day to take your next dose. Don’t double up to make up for the lost dose.
Finasteride 5mg may cause side effects including:
The majority of these side effects are rare, affecting just a small number of users. But it is more common to experience these when taking a 5mg dose than a 1mg dose . That’s why those with male pattern hair loss are generally advised to stick to the lower dose of Finasteride.
Weight gain is not a common side effect of Finasteride.
One study has linked Finasteride with weight gain in men with prostate cancer . But there’s no evidence to suggest it can lead to an increase in weight in men with BPE or male pattern baldness.
Long-term side effects of Finasteride 5mg are uncommon but may include erectile dysfunction, lower libido, and Finasteride-related gynecomastia (enlarged breast tissue in men).
Some men may also experience post-Finasteride syndrome, which is characterised by persistent symptoms even after you stop taking the medication.
Taking Viagra and Finasteride together may help if you’re experiencing issues with sexual performance.
Some other medications are known to interact with Finasteride, so it’s important to speak to your doctor if you’re taking any of the following medicines :
This list is not exhaustive, so if you’re taking any other medications, consult your doctor to check it’s safe to take with Finasteride. They may want to monitor you while you take the drug to ensure no interactions develop over time.
Finasteride 5mg has been shown to effectively treat male pattern baldness. However, for most men, it’s not necessary to take a 5mg dose of Finasteride for hair loss.
Taking a higher dose can increase the risk of side effects, without offering a significantly higher chance of hair regrowth. So unless advised otherwise by a qualified trichologist, it’s best to stick with a 1mg Finasteride dose.
Not sure if Finasteride is right for you? Book a free consultation with our patient advisors. We can talk you through all your treatment options, including Finasteride alternatives such as Minoxidil and hair transplantation.
Learn more about Finasteride 5mg in these frequently asked questions.
There’s no time of day that’s best to take Finasteride 5mg tablets, but you should aim to take it around the same time each day.
Swallow the tablet whole with water. You can take Finasteride with or without food.
No. Breaking or cutting Finasteride tablets can impact the drug’s effectiveness, so you shouldn’t halve your dose.
If you don’t feel 5mg is the right dose for you, speak to your doctor about switching to a lower-strength tablet.
Finasteride for women isn’t usually advised, especially for premenopausal women. While it can be effective for tackling female pattern hair loss, it can cause complications in pregnancy and lead to irregularities in the menstrual cycle .
As with men, taking a 5mg dose is more likely to lead to adverse effects than a lower dose.
Yes, taking Finasteride 5mg can increase your testosterone levels. Because less testosterone is converted to DHT, testosterone levels remain higher.
However, testosterone is generally a weaker androgen than DHT. Most of the physiological effects of testosterone are mediated by its active metabolites like DHT. So even though Finasteride increases testosterone, the fact that it lowers DHT means that you’re more likely to see an anti-androgenic effect.
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