Finasteride 1mg Vs 5mg: Which Is The Right Dosage For You?

Medically reviewed by Dr. Amy Revene M.B.B.S.
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated

As the spotlight shines brightly on hair loss treatments, choosing Finasteride 1mg vs 5mg is central to many discussions. 

Amidst the myriad hair growth formulas, medicines, and products, finasteride has earned a solid reputation for mitigating hair loss and promoting regrowth. 

But what's the ideal dosage? Is the 1mg dose as effective as the more potent 5mg version, or does the latter's strength make it the superior choice? 

This comprehensive guide delves into these crucial questions, providing the answers you need to navigate your hair growth journey. 

Filled with research-based insights and expert perspectives, we'll help you decide whether you're newly grappling with thinning tresses or have been battling hair loss for years. 

Welcome aboard as we traverse the intriguing paths of hair loss treatments, with a particular focus on the Finasteride 1mg vs 5mg debate.

Summary

The choice between 1mg and 5mg of finasteride largely depends on the treated condition. 

A 1mg dosage for hair loss is typically adequate and most commonly prescribed. This dosage has significantly slowed down hair loss and stimulated hair regrowth. 

On the other hand, 5mg of finasteride is generally used for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and it's important to remember that this dosage is not intended for hair loss treatment. 

Both dosages can cause similar side effects, but the risk might be higher with the 5mg dosage due to its increased potency.

What is finasteride?

finasteride 1mg vs 5mg

Finasteride is a prescription medication primarily used to treat male pattern baldness and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It works by inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that can contribute to hair loss and prostate growth.

Further, finasteride's mechanism of action makes it a valuable tool in managing conditions sensitive to DHT. 

In the case of hair loss, DHT can shrink hair follicles, leading to thinner, shorter hairs and, eventually, hair loss. 

Finasteride can slow down or even reverse this process in some individuals by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to DHT. 

While it's typically prescribed for men due to its potential side effects in women, it has been used off-label in post-menopausal women or those not planning to conceive. 

However, women of childbearing age should not use finasteride due to the risk of birth defects.

Is finasteride effective at treating hair loss?

finasteride 1mg vs 5mg

Male pattern baldness, a widespread condition, has sparked extensive research into the efficacy of finasteride as a treatment method.

The impressive consensus indicates that finasteride consistently facilitates hair growth and decelerates hair loss associated with DHT effects.

In a landmark set of trials featured in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in 1998, scientists contrasted the impact of finasteride with placebo on male pattern baldness.

The outcome was enlightening - men experiencing baldness who were administered finasteride for two years witnessed notable increases in hair growth. The average hair count surge was above 15 per cent in the crown or vertex scalp region.

A more contemporary study in the journal Dermatologic Therapy reported that 80.5 per cent of men grappling with male pattern baldness demonstrated improved hair growth after a 12-month finasteride regimen.

In a nutshell, the effectiveness of finasteride is well established, with ample large-scale studies substantiating the drug's role in halting hair loss and enhancing hair growth for many men.

Finasteride 1mg uses

Finasteride is prescribed at a daily dosage of 1mg for hair loss. This is the common dosage found in most hair loss medications containing finasteride, including the original 1mg Propecia tablets.

Almost all finasteride studies focusing on hair loss utilise this dosage. 

For instance, a research paper in the 2004 edition of the Dermatology Journal showcased the use of 1mg finasteride for a 12-month to combat male pattern hair loss, leading to improvements in 80 per cent of the participants.

However, an important point to note is that just because it's possible to take higher dosages of finasteride, it doesn't necessarily mean it's required. 

When addressing hair loss, 1mg of finasteride daily is usually sufficient.

Indeed, consuming larger quantities of finasteride doesn't enhance the outcomes compared to the 1mg dosage. 

On the contrary, it could expose you to an increased risk of experiencing adverse effects.

Finasteride 5mg uses

Surprisingly, finasteride isn't exclusively a hair loss remedy — it's also used to manage certain prostate-related health conditions.

If you're diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), commonly called an enlarged prostate, and finasteride is your prescribed treatment, you'll probably be given the 5mg dosage.

This dosage is often marketed under the brand name Proscar®. It's specifically designed to regulate the growth of the prostate and ease the symptoms of BPH. 

However, this dosage of finasteride is not intended for hair loss treatment.

What are the side effects of finasteride 1mg vs 5mg?

finasteride 1mg vs 5mg

Finasteride, whether at 1mg or 5mg dosage, can potentially cause side effects. Common side effects can include sexual problems like a decrease in sex drive, problems with erections, or a reduction in the amount of semen released during sex. 

These side effects usually go away after stopping the medication. Other less common side effects include rash, depression, or tenderness around the nipples. 

It's important to note that while 1mg and 5mg dosages can cause similar side effects, the risk may be higher with the 5mg dosage due to its greater strength. 

Always consult your doctor if you experience any side effects.

Let's elaborate side effects of both dosages separately:

Finasteride 1mg side effects

Similar to finasteride as a whole, the potential side effects of a 1mg dose encompass the same main three:

  • Lowered sexual desire
  • Impotence or erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Reduced volume of ejaculate

Significant side effects from finasteride are infrequent, and with a lesser dose, they become even rarer. 

For instance, reduced libido — the most frequently reported side effect of finasteride — only impacts 1.8 per cent of men who take it.

Finasteride 5mg side effects

Compared to the lower dose, finasteride 5mg has been associated with a slightly higher intensity of the side effects seen with the 1mg dose and a few additional noticeable side effects.

Clinical trials of finasteride 5mg revealed that 8.1 per cent of men experienced erectile dysfunction, with 6.4 per cent of men noting a lowered sex drive and 3.7 per cent reporting a decrease in ejaculation volume.

Further adverse effects cited by men using finasteride 5mg encompass skin rash and enlargement and tenderness of breast tissue.

Finasteride is not associated with clinically significant interactions with other drugs in both doses.

 An effective alternative to finasteride

finasteride 1mg vs 5mg alternative

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Clinical studies suggest that this serum shows promising results in as little as 45 days.

The Bio-Pilixin® Serum doesn't just claim to reduce hair shedding and encourage hair growth; it delivers. In clinical testing, 93% of participants indicated they were satisfied with the results.

Designed for daily use, this plant-powered serum aims to nourish your hair.

Every ingredient in the serum is of the highest quality, carefully selected based on a thorough review of scientific literature. 

Capilia Longa, a nutrient-rich medium from Curcuma longa stem cells, has been studied clinically and observations suggest it may reduce hair loss by up to 89–90% and improve hair density by 52%.

Niacinamide provides the strength needed for sustained hair growth by improving blood flow and protecting hair follicles from premature death due to oxidative stress caused by pollution and UV rays.

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Finasteride 1mg vs 5mg: What are the differences?

Finasteride, a medication renowned for its effectiveness in combating hair loss and managing prostate conditions, is typically available in two primary doses: 1mg and 5mg. The variations in dosage result in differing use cases and potential side effects.

Uses

Finasteride 1mg is most commonly prescribed for hair loss (androgenetic alopecia), while the 5mg version is generally used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or an enlarged prostate.

Side effects

Both doses can lead to similar side effects, including sexual issues like decreased sex drive or erectile dysfunction. 

Still, the risk of experiencing these might be higher with the 5mg dosage due to its increased potency.

Effectiveness

Both versions are adequate for their specific use cases. However, increasing the dosage from 1mg to 5mg for hair loss treatment doesn't necessarily offer any added benefits but may increase the risk of side effects.

Finasteride 1mg vs 5mg: Which is right for you?

If you're dealing with hair loss (androgenetic alopecia), the appropriate dose is typically 1mg daily. If you're prescribed finasteride for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or an enlarged prostate, you'll likely be given a 5mg dosage. 

As always, you should consult a healthcare provider to determine the best dosage and treatment for your situation.

Conclusion

The choice between 1mg and 5mg of finasteride largely depends on the treated condition. 

A 1mg dosage for hair loss is typically adequate and most commonly prescribed. This dosage has significantly slowed down hair loss and stimulated hair regrowth. 

On the other hand, 5mg of finasteride is generally used for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and it's important to remember that this dosage is not intended for hair loss treatment. 

Both dosages can cause similar side effects, but the risk might be higher with the 5mg dosage due to its increased potency.

FAQs

Can finasteride cause side effects?

Yes, 1mg and 5mg of finasteride can cause side effects. These include decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and decreased ejaculation volume. However, such side effects are rare and often resolve after medication discontinuation.

Is the 5mg dose of finasteride more effective for hair loss?

No, the 1mg dose is generally sufficient for treating hair loss. Taking a higher amount doesn't necessarily offer any additional benefits and may increase the risk of side effects.

Can I use finasteride for both hair loss and prostate issues?

Yes, finasteride can be used for both, but the dosages differ. The typical dose for hair loss is 1mg, while for an enlarged prostate (BPH), it's generally 5mg. Always consult a healthcare provider to determine the best dosage for your situation.

Can women use finasteride for hair loss?

Finasteride is typically not recommended for women, particularly those who are pregnant or may become pregnant, due to potential risks. Always consult with a healthcare provider for suitable hair loss treatments.

Is finasteride a permanent solution for hair loss?

Finasteride can significantly slow down hair loss and stimulate hair regrowth while you're taking it. However, these improvements may reverse if you stop taking the medication. It's best to discuss long-term treatment plans with a healthcare provider.

References: 

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15316165/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9777765/
  3. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/dth.12246 

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Dr Amy Revene M.B.B.S. graduated from the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. She is currently working as a General Physician at New Hope Medical Center. Amy has a passion for research and offers her expertise and opinions to help people in their quest to lead healthy, happy lives.