Male hair loss affects up to half of men by the age of 50. Finasteride and Propecia have both gained equal and effective recognition as treatment of male pattern hair loss also known as androgenetic alopecia. They work the same way, as they are the same medication. However there are some differences. 


The active ingredient is Finasteride which belongs to a class of medications known as 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. Its primary role is to inhibit the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is associated with hair loss. It is available in liquid or tablet formulation from different manufacturers. 

Generic finasteride is prescribed in 1mg and 5mg versions however for different purposes. The 1mg is intended for hair loss treatment whereas the 5mg is for benign prostatic hyperplasia. 


It is the brand name of finasteride. Propecia and finasteride are different in branding, but share the same active ingredient and mechanism of action. It is available in 1mg tablet form. 

The difference between Finasteride vs Propecia

The both are the same in essence as they both contain the active ingredient finasteride and are both used to treat male pattern baldness. Finasteride is the generic name of the medication whereas Propecia is the brand name. 

A clinical review of finasteride concluded that oral finasteride successfully promoted hair regrowth and prevented further hair loss. Topical finasteride is another option with promising results. Some studies have found a decrease in hair loss with topical use also. 

Both medications are equally effective in treating hair loss. Reducing the DHT levels helps slow down hair loss and some cases can promote hair regrowth. The results may vary individual to individual and the effectiveness is more successful long term when treatment is started early in the hair loss journey. 

The dosage for hair loss in Finasteride and Propecia is 1 mg daily. This dosage is considered effective for many individuals in combating hair loss. It’s crucial to follow the prescribed dosage and consult with healthcare professionals before starting or altering any medication regimen.

Since both Finasteride and Propecia are the same thing, they are generally well tolerated however may cause some side effects. Most common side effects include decreased libido and potential increased risk of erectile dysfunction. 

It can sometimes cause nipple discharge or pain in the breast area. It’s important to discuss any concerns or side effects with the doctor as they can provide relevant medical advice. 

Finasteride/Propecia cannot be used in women who are pregnant, individuals who may have drug interactions with other medication and those previously have had an allergic reaction to finasteride. 

Though both medications have the same active ingredient the manufacturing process is different and thus the cost to the consumer varies. The cost of propecia is $100+, which is much higher than the generic finasteride costing $40+. The reason behind the difference is the cost of production, the patent of the drug, and the necessary research conducted for the initial drug. 

As Propecia was the initial company which developed the data, the cost of its development remains higher, whereas generic companies have data to rely on once they begin production, hence their cost is significantly less. 

Other alternatives

Treatment approaches for hair loss depend on its cause, with options like topical solutions, oral medications, surgical procedures, or a combination. 

Hair loss occurs when the natural shedding of 50-100 strands of hair per day is not replaced by new growth. Known as alopecia, it can be triggered by genes, hormones, health issues, or aging, affecting the head or body. 

Hair loss takes various forms, including thinning, receding hairlines in men, or wider parts in women. It can be temporary due to medications, health problems, or infections, or linked to hormonal changes, stress, immune issues, or harsh hair treatments. Addressing the underlying cause often reverses hair loss.

Consult a doctor

Individuals with any concerns about their hair health should call their doctor and discuss the options available. These could vary from fixing the underlying condition or trying the prescription drug finasteride. A starting spot would be to notice a pattern of hair fall and speak to your doctor about overall health.

Consult a doctor