How long does Finasteride work for?

Hi - I've been on Finasteride (Propecia) for a year and have had good results. My hairline seems to be holding and I've even experienced a little regrowth. How long does Finasteride work for before I'll start losing my hair again? Thank you!  


F, New York

Tags:woman hair loss results hairline grow back temporary

Finasteride works by blocking DHT, a hormone that has been shown to cause hair loss in men.  Everyone is different, but if your hair loss has plateaued and you keep taking the finasteride, it should remain effective.  Once you stop taking it, the hair loss would likely resume.

Finasteride works by blocking the normal production of the male hormone DHT, which causes male pattern baldness. To answer your question of how long Finasteride works for, the answer will vary depending on each individual.

In many cases, Finasteride use will keep regular users at a stable plateau of hair loss, preventing their receding hairline from getting any worse. In other cases, taking Finasteride will only slow the process or male pattern hair loss. And in other cases, Finasteride will actually lead to hair regrowth.

Part of the reason for the broad range of results is that Finasteride does not completely block the production of DHT or completely suppress the 5-alpha reductase enzyme. Even with a high oral dosage of 5mg/day, Finasteride would only block somewhere between 65% and 70% of circulating DHT. Depending on both the sensitivity of your hair follicles to DHT and your natural DHT levels, the efficacy of DHT-blocking hair loss treatments can vary.

If 5-alpha reductase inhibitors like Finasteride eventually prove to be unsuccessful for you (or if you begin to suffer adverse effects like sexual dysfunction), I suggest contacting a board-certified dermatologist to discuss alternative treatment options.

If Finasteride has proven to be an effective treatment so far, then you may be able to keep using it indefinitely. Some patients eventually develop negative side effects from using Propecia over the long-term which may prevent them from sticking with the treatment.

Possible side effects include erectile dysfunction, loss of sex drive, breast tenderness, dizziness, and headaches. If you're suffering from negative side effects, you should consult with a hair-loss specialist about changes to your treatment and other hair restoration options.

We have many patients who have used Propecia (Finasteride) regularly for decades now, and have successfully managed to maintain their hairline. In some cases, our patients report new hair growth and a noticeable increase in hair count.

I have had some patients who have been on it for 20-25 years and they still have their hair -- though it is a bit grayer.