What are the side effects of finasteride?

Finasteride is a common choice for treating hair loss and alopecia. If you’re experiencing male pattern balding, you may have been recommended finasteride, or perhaps you’re already on its prescription. There are also two common brand names for finasteride: Proscar and Propecia.

Although finasteride is highly effective for treating receding hairline and mature hairline, it comes with side effects like all other medications. It’s even recommended for women, so they could also experience the same side effects as men do. 

Some common side effects of finasteride include a lack of sexual desire, increase in breast size or softness, skin itchiness, rashes, erection, and ejaculation problems. Other serious issues may consist of abnormal swelling in different parts of the body. On a higher level, the side effects may even influence prostate cancer.

The side effects of finasteride

The side effects of finasteride may be more crucial for one group of people than the other.

Finasteride is taken orally, unlike minoxidil, which is a topical medication. 

  • Little to no sex drive
  • Dizziness
  • Skin irritation and rashes
  • Weakness or the sensation of fainting
  • Small term or long-term headaches
  • A runny nose and sniffing
  • Frequent urination

The above side effects are usually moderate. They tend to disappear within a few days or the first week. So if they remain of average temperament, you don’t need to worry about anything. However, there are some super severe finasteride side effects. These can include mental illnesses such as depression and other abnormal conditions like nipple discharge, breast lumps, and swelling of various body parts.

NOTE: Frequent urination is not a side effect. It’s a sign that your finasteride medication is working correctly. However, if you find any of the above side effects taking place along with the urination, go to the doctor immediately.

What causes the side effects?

Finasteride dosage may vary from one person to another, having different side effects for everyone.

Although the most common finasteride dosage is 1 mg per day taken once, even a little dose of an overdose could increase the chances of developing severe finasteride side effects. 

Moreover, taking an extra dosage or combining finasteride with other medicines and nutrients may induce allergic reactions like difficulty breathing and so on. 

All the finasteride side effects can be due to the way this medication works. So always consult your doctor and tell them about your diet plan or any other medications you’re on – whether they’re oral or topical.

WARNING: Keep your hands clean before taking the tablet. Don’t take dirty or unclean hands for granted. You may take a good finasteride tablet, but the environment or care you give can cause you tons!

Could some people have more side effects than others?

Yes, some people on finasteride may experience more side effects.

Remember that finasteride is a common choice for men. If a woman is taking it, particularly a pregnant one, side effects are prone to arise. Don’t even come in contact with a broken finasteride tablet if you see one. The tablet coming in contact with the skin alone can cause defects in the fetus, even if you aren’t already pregnant but are planning to.

There could be a high chance of developing prostate cancer too. It could be of any stage, owing to the finasteride side effect on the level of prostate-specific antigen. If you’re taking finasteride, it’s best to keep your PSA levels in check. You would have to go to the doctor for regular tests as this can’t be done at home.

Taking precautions to minimize finasteride side effects

Always keep an eye out for allergic reactions.

If you’re careful with finasteride, there will be little to no chance of developing both general and severe side effects. Always remember to follow these preventive measures, no matter where you are:

  • Never chew on the tablet, as this could crush it and expose you to unwanted chemicals.
  • Don’t refrigerate the finasteride, and similarly, don’t keep it at high temperatures either. The room temperature is an ideal way to store finasteride.
  • Never expose the tablet to a moist environment like when it’s raining or if you’re near a swimming pool or any damp room.
  • Never expose the finasteride tablets to light.
  • If you’re traveling, keep the finasteride tablets along with you. Don’t put them in the luggage, always carry them with you.
  • Similarly, don’t leave the finasteride tablets in your car or any other small cramped place where they could get crushed.

PRO-TIP: When you’re traveling, you wouldn’t need to take out the tablets. But it’s always best to carry your prescription letter with you. The airport staff may ask, and you would need it to make your case clear!

Of all the finasteride side effects, the sexual ones may last even after you’ve stopped the medication. Therefore, it’s necessary never to exceed the dose that has been prescribed to you. This is the primary factor in developing severe finasteride symptoms.

Are there alternatives to finasteride?

There are several alternatives to finasteride worth looking into. Those are:

  • Minoxidil
  • Hair transplant
  • Biotin
  • Essential oils
  • Saw palmetto

If you want to know more finasteride alternatives, have a look at this resource.


So while finasteride is 99% effective in treating excessive hair loss and alopecia, it comes with some side effects. These include overall weakness, dizziness, headaches and lightheadedness, and above all – little to no sex drive. Frequent urination is the only sign that the drug is working normally. However, the sexual impact of finasteride prevails even after you stop using the medication, so it’s a significant sign of severe finasteride side effects. If it worsens, don’t hesitate to visit your doctor.

Never wait for your hair to go down to start taking care of it. If you’re struggling with hair loss, but it hasn’t exceeded the point of alopecia, we suggest you try out our hair recovery bundles. Our hair products are 100% vegan and have natural ingredients, so there are little to no side effects! Using our versatile haircare range, you could accelerate hair growth, make hair more robust, and recover from hair loss before the conditions get too worse to handle. So make a wise decision – select from our hair products today!


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