Does Finasteride Lower Testosterone?

WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

Finasteride is a widely prescribed medication used to treat male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) and an enlarged prostate gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH). While it has proven effective in addressing these conditions, there has been some concern about its potential impact on testosterone levels, which is a crucial hormone for men's overall health and well-being.

Does finasteride lower testosterone?

Yes, finasteride can lower testosterone levels to a certain extent, but the decrease is generally modest and typically falls within the normal range for most men. The degree of testosterone reduction varies from person to person and depends on factors such as age, dosage, and individual response to the medication.

How Finasteride Works

Finasteride belongs to a class of drugs called 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. It works by blocking the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a more potent form of testosterone that plays a significant role in male pattern baldness and prostate enlargement.

By inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to DHT, finasteride effectively reduces the levels of DHT in the body. However, this process can also lead to a slight decrease in overall testosterone levels due to the body's natural feedback mechanisms.

Testosterone Reduction with Finasteride

Studies have shown that finasteride can lower serum testosterone levels by approximately 10-15% in most men taking the recommended dosage of 1mg per day for hair loss treatment. This reduction is generally considered modest and unlikely to cause significant side effects or health concerns for the majority of users.

It's important to note that the decrease in testosterone levels typically remains within the normal reference range, and the body's overall testosterone production is not completely shut down by finasteride.

Individual Variations

While the average reduction in testosterone levels is modest, some men may experience a more significant decrease, while others may not experience any noticeable change. These individual variations can be influenced by factors such as age, baseline testosterone levels, and genetic factors that affect the body's response to the medication.

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Monitoring and Managing Testosterone Levels

If you are considering or currently taking finasteride, it's essential to have your testosterone levels monitored regularly by your healthcare provider. This can help detect any significant declines and determine if any adjustments or additional treatments are necessary.

Potential Side Effects of Low Testosterone

While a modest decrease in testosterone levels may not cause noticeable side effects for most men, a more significant or prolonged reduction can potentially lead to symptoms such as decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, depression, and loss of muscle mass.

Managing Low Testosterone

If your testosterone levels drop below the normal range and you experience concerning symptoms, your healthcare provider may recommend discontinuing finasteride or exploring other treatment options, such as testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) or alternative hair loss treatments.


In conclusion, while finasteride can lead to a modest decrease in testosterone levels, the reduction is generally within the normal range for most men and is unlikely to cause significant side effects or health concerns. However, individual variations exist, and it's essential to monitor testosterone levels regularly and address any concerning symptoms or declines with your healthcare provider.

Ultimately, the decision to take finasteride should involve a careful consideration of the potential benefits and risks, as well as a discussion with a qualified healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate course of action based on your individual circumstances.

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Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.