Taking finasteride every other day may help reduce associated side effects, such as difficulty having or maintaining an erection and reduced sex drive, however, doing so may also impact the effectiveness of the treatment. In general, the most effective dose for hair loss treatment is 1mg taken daily. But, keep in mind that different dosages may be prescribed depending on the individual.
In this article, we discuss whether you have to take finasteride every day for it to be effective for hair loss treatment. In addition, we explore different dosage options, how well they work, associated side effects, and alternative treatment options.
Finasteride Every Other Day vs. Every Day
When taken daily, finasteride inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which reduces the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone linked to hair loss. By doing so, it helps slow down hair loss and may promote hair growth.
Research suggests that taking finasteride daily can lead to more consistent suppression of DHT levels, resulting in improved hair regrowth. While there is no current research on every other day finasteride dosing, it is generally understood that the most effective dosage for treating male pattern hair loss is 1mg taken every day.
However, it’s important to note that individuals may respond differently to finasteride treatment and it’s best to always consult with your healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate dosage regimen for your specific needs.
Finasteride Dosage and Effectiveness: .5mg vs. 1mg vs. 2.5mg vs. 5mg
In general, research has focused on different doses of finasteride taken daily, including .5mg, 1mg, 2.5mg, and 5mg. More research is still needed on whether it’s effective to take different doses of finasteride every other day or several times a week, instead of every day.
While the typical dose tends to be 1mg daily, in some cases, healthcare providers may prescribe a lower dose, such as .5mg per day, to potentially reduce the risk of side effects, while still providing some treatment benefits.
Research suggests that:
- The most effective dosage for finasteride is 1mg daily.
- There is similar effectiveness with the 1mg daily dose, the 2.5mg daily dose, and the 5mg daily dose, however, higher doses may be associated with an increased risk of side effects.
- Doses lower than 1mg daily, like a .5mg dose taken daily, tend not to be as effective at treating hair loss symptoms.
Side Effects of Taking Finasteride
In general, finasteride is well tolerated, however, side effects are still possible. When taken daily, the side effects of finasteride may be more likely compared to every other day dosing due to more consistent suppression of DHT levels.
For some individuals, taking finasteride every other day may potentially reduce the incidence and/or intensity of certain side effects, while still providing some hair loss treatment benefits.
Side effects of taking oral finasteride may include:
- Difficulty having or maintaining an erection
- Reduced sex drive
- Ejaculation issues
- Testicle pain
Seek urgent medical care if you experience swelling, difficulty breathing, itching, rash, or hives.
What are the side effects of taking finasteride 3 times a week?
The side effects associated with taking finasteride three times a week are the same as the side effects of taking it daily. These may include reduced sex drive, ejaculation issues, testicle pain, difficulty maintaining an erection, and depression. However, taking it less frequently may reduce side effects and how effective the medication is.
If you are worried about experiencing side effects or have experienced some in the past, you may want to consider oral finasteride alternatives.
These may include:
- Topical finasteride, which research suggests has a similar effectiveness as oral finasteride, with reduced potential for side effects
- Dutasteride, which research suggests may be even more effective than oral finasteride, however, side effects may be similar
- Minoxidil, or Rogaine, an FDA-approved topical treatment for certain hair loss conditions that is associated with fewer side effects than oral finasteride
- Laser caps, a non-invasive treatment option that is considered effective and is associated with minor side effects
- Over-the-counter (OTC) supplements, as well as shampoos and conditioners, that contain ingredients such as biotin and saw palmetto, which may help promote scalp health and hair growth
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
While it’s okay if you miss a dose of finasteride, it will work best if taken according to your healthcare provider’s instructions. Typically, finasteride is taken once daily for the most effective hair loss treatment.
No, you don’t have to take finasteride every day. However, in general, for the most effective treatment it’s best to take finasteride according to your prescription, which is typically a once daily dose.
Finasteride should be taken according to your healthcare provider’s instructions, however, a missed dose here and there will likely not impact your hair growth results. In general, it can take anywhere from one week to five weeks of not taking finasteride for an individual to see their typical rate of hair loss return.
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