How Long Does It Take For Finasteride to Help With Hair Growth?


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Up until a couple of decades ago, hair loss was something that guys just had to accept and take in stride.

Then came finasteride, a medication for treating hair loss that gained approval from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA)  in 1997 as brand-name Propecia. 

As a daily-use medication, finasteride offers men experiencing hair loss the option of slowing down, stopping or even, in some cases, reversing baldness.

If you’re starting to lose your hair, you may have looked into using finasteride, either by itself or in combination with other treatments, to shield yourself from further hair loss.

Below, we’ve explained:

  • What you can expect in terms of finasteride results

  • From how long it takes to produce improvements 

  • The general success rate you can expect from finasteride

We’ve also shared a few practical, science-based tips and techniques to help you get the best possible results from finasteride.

Does Finasteride Work?

When it comes to taking any kind of medication, your first question is probably “does this stuff work?” Actually, it might also be “does this stuff taste bad?” but we digress.

Men have a reason to feel this way. Male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) is a common issue that the majority of men — 53 percent of men in their 40s according to some studies — will have to deal with at some point in life.

Not only do we know finasteride works, we also know how it works and when you can start expecting results after you start using it.

Finasteride Blocks DHT to Stop Hair Loss 

Finasteride is one of two 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, along with dutasteride. 5-alpha reductase is an enzyme that your body eventually converts into a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). 

This hormone is associated with hair loss (specifically androgenic alopecia or male pattern hair loss), as well as an enlarged prostate, which can lead to benign prostatic hyperplasia.

The amount of DHT your body can produce is, for many people, tied to the amount of 5-alpha reductase you have. 

So, when the active ingredient finasteride goes to work, it effectively prevents some of your DHT from ever having a chance to mess with your body — specifically stopping it from messing with your scalp and hair.

Research shows that the overwhelming majority of men who use finasteride experience no additional hair loss during treatment. 

In a review published in the journal, Drugs, researchers found that 83 percent of men with male pattern baldness experienced no change in their hair count after using finasteride over a period of two years.

In comparison, only 28 percent of men who used a non-therapeutic placebo did not experience any change in hair count.

A different study published by the Tokyo Medical Clinic of finasteride carried out in Japan found that more than 99 percent of men with male pattern baldness experienced no worsening of their hair loss during treatment.

You can think of finasteride as something like a pause button for your hair loss. While there’s no guarantee that you’ll grow back the hair you’ve lost, the overwhelming majority of men who use finasteride find that their hair loss doesn’t become more severe during treatment.

Many Men Regrow Hair While Taking Finasteride

If your hair loss isn’t severe, your daily dose of finasteride may also help you to regrow hair in areas of your scalp or receding hairline that only have mild thinning.

In a large-scale clinical trial published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, researchers found that men who used finasteride to treat male pattern baldness experienced a clinically significant increase in their average hair count over a period of two years.

At the beginning of the study, the men had an average hair count of 876 hairs per square inch of balding vertex scalp. 

After two years of treatment with finasteride, this increased to an average of 1,014 hairs per square inch, or approximately 16 percent more hair per inch of skin.

The men that took part in the study reported that finasteride increased new hair growth and improved the general appearance of their hair.

That Tokyo Medical Clinic study we mentioned above also found that 91.5 percent of the men in the study experienced improvements in their hair growth while using finasteride.

In short, while not everyone who takes finasteride regrows hair, many men experience a modest but noticeable increase in hair growth.

(RelatedFinasteride Cost: Pricing Comparisons & Savings Tips)

When Will I See Finasteride Results?

finasteride results timeline: After about three to four months of taking oral finasteride, you should begin to notice an improvement in your hair loss. After one year, your results should appear to be significantly visible. Here’s a breakdown:

  • 0-3 months: The medicine starts working immediately, but you likely won’t see results. In fact, you may notice MORE hair falling out within the first few weeks of use. Don’t worry — this is normal and won’t last long. 

  • 3-4 months: Once you hit the 3-4 month mark you’ll start to notice that your hair loss has slowed, or even stopped. You might also see a little bit of hair regrowth.

  • 4+ months: From here on out you start to really ramp up. Around the one-year mark you should start to notice some pretty significant results of treatment.

How to Improve Finasteride Results

Finasteride is an easy medication to use. It comes in topical and tablet form and only needs to be taken one time per day, either with or without food.

However, taking a few extra steps, such as using finasteride with other hair loss treatments, can increase your success rate with finasteride and speed up your results. 

Use Finasteride and Minoxidil Together for Hair Regrowth

We know finasteride works well on its own, but research shows you can expect even better results if you double up and use it with topical minoxidil, another FDA-approved medication for treating hair loss and stimulating hair growth.

Minoxidil and finasteride work completely differently and target different hair loss problems, which is why they work so well together. Double the fun.

Rather than blocking DHT, minoxidil functions locally and encourages your hair to enter into the anagen, or growth, phase of the hair growth cycle. It also stimulates blood flow to your scalp, which may help to supply your hair follicles with extra nutrients and improve growth.

In one study published in Dermatologic Therapy, researchers found that 94.1 percent of men with male pattern baldness who used finasteride and minoxidil at the same time saw improvements to their hair volume.

In comparison, the rate of improvement was 80.5 percent for men who used finasteride and just 59 percent for men who only used minoxidil.

You may have heard of topical minoxidil under the brand name Rogaine. It’s available as a foam and as a liquid and is designed to be applied directly to your scalp. 

Unlike finasteride, minoxidil doesn’t require a prescription. 

Add Other Products to Your Hair Care Toolkit

While using minoxidil at the same time will give the biggest boost to the effects of finasteride, it’s also possible to improve your hair growth with other products. These include:

  • Biotin supplements. Biotin, an important B-vitamin, doesn’t appear to stop male pattern baldness. However, it plays an important role in the growth process of your hair and may be a good addition to your hair care routine.

  • Conditioner. A quality conditioner plays a supporting role in the hair growth process by keeping your hair strong, hydrated and healthy. Our Thick Fix Conditioner is formulated with niacinamide to bolster and stimulate your hair for a thicker, fuller look. 

(RelatedHow to Get Finasteride: Is It Over the Counter?)

Give Your Scalp a Daily Massage

You probably think that the notion of scalp massages being able to improve finasteride’s results is about as far-fetched as they come, but there’s actually science to back it up. Plus, who doesn’t love a good massage?

Research on scalp massage found that daily four-minute massages over the course of 24 weeks were able to stimulate hair growth and boost hair thickness.

Now, it’s important to point out that this study was small, featuring a total of just nine fellas. However, other research into the effects of scalp massage on hair growth has produced similar findings.

In a larger study of 327 men published in Dermatology and Therapy, researchers concluded that a standardized scalp massage or SSM, appears to stabilize hair loss in healthy men with male pattern baldness.

How and why scalp massages are able to stimulate hair growth remains a mystery, but experts speculate that it may have something to do with softening the skin and increasing blood flow.

Live a Healthy, Hair-Friendly Lifestyle

Male pattern baldness is primarily genetic and hormonal, but this doesn’t mean that your habits and lifestyle don’t play a role in healthy hair. 

Lifestyle-focused steps that you can take to prevent and reduce hair loss include:

  • Quitting smoking. If you smoke, make an effort to quit. Although smoking doesn’t appear to increase DHT levels, the toxins found in cigarette smoke may damage your hair follicles at the DNA level.

  • Eating a balanced diet. Healthy hair growth requires a steady supply of vital nutrients, including zinc, iron and protein. Try to eat a healthy diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein.

  • Avoiding harsh hair products. Many hair care products, including certain shampoos and styling products, contain harsh ingredients that can irritate your scalp and prevent healthy hair growth. Try to avoid shampoos that contain ingredients such as sulfates, and instead opt for a shampoo that’s designed to promote growth and prevent hair loss.

  • Limiting exposure to stress. Although stress doesn’t cause male pattern hair loss, it can contribute to a form of temporary hair shedding called telogen effluvium. Try to minimize your exposure to stress. This could mean making changes to your work habits, making use of therapeutic resources to improve your mental health or practicing meditation to gain more control over your feelings of stress and anxiety.

After You See Positive Results, Keep Using Finasteride

Both finasteride tablets and topical solution are effective, but they aren’t magic baldness-erasing pills. To continue blocking DHT and protect your hair, you’ll need to use finasteride every day to fully benefit from its effects.

The same is true of other hair loss treatments like minoxidil. To maintain your results, you’ll need to continue using these medications over the long term.

The Final Say on Finasteride Results

Finasteride works for most people — that’s hardly in debate. But for those who think it’ll be a miracle for their dormant or dead hair follicles, we’ve got a reality check to share with you. 

  • YES finasteride is an effective treatment that can slow down, prevent and even reverse the effects of male pattern baldness.

  • BUT it does have limitations — it can’t bring hair back from the dead.

  • SO you shouldn’t expect to wake up one day only to find your hair grew twice as thick overnight.

  • BECAUSE finasteride and other hair loss medications, like minoxidil, work gradually and require long-term commitment for optimal results. 

  • PLEASE be sure to seek medical advice from your healthcare provider before using finasteride.

To get the best results from finasteride, make sure to combine it with minoxidil, a balanced diet, a healthy lifestyle and good hair care habits. 

And if you have further questions, talk to a healthcare professional. Finasteride can help you, as long as you’re helping yourself.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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Weight Loss Medications: Are They Actually Effective?

Weight Loss Medications: Are They Actually Effective?

It’s common knowledge that managing your weight keeps you healthy now and as you get older. In fact, obesity contributes to several health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

Not only was the prevalence of obesity in U.S. adults nearly 42 percent in 2017, but the estimated medical costs for adults with obesity were almost $2,000 more each year than for adults who do not have obesity .

Those who have a body mass index (BMI, or the measurement of fat based on height and weight) between 25 and 30 are considered overweight, while those with a BMI over 30 are considered to have obesity.

You’ve probably heard of a few weight loss medications, or at least their brand names, like Ozempic® and Wegovy®. However, there are several other prescription drugs available that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and frequently prescribed off-label for weight loss.

Healthcare providers may prescribe these medications to someone who has obesity or is overweight with a weight-related health problem like high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.


You’re probably familiar with one of semaglutide’s brand names, Ozempic — other brand names for this drug include Wegovy and Rybelsus®.

Ozempic is approved by the FDA to treat type 2 diabetes and may be prescribed off-label for weight loss, in combination with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise or with other diabetes medications like insulin or metformin.

Wegovy, meanwhile, is a prescription medication approved for use for weight loss in people who have obesity or who are overweight.

Ozempic and Wegovy are in a class of medication called GLP-1 receptor agonists, which mimic the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 and target areas of the brain that regulate appetite.

Ozempic was approved by the FDA in 2017, while Wegovy was granted approval to pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk more recently, in 2021.


Although only approved by the FDA to treat diabetes, metformin is often used off-label for weight loss, as well as gestational diabetes (a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy) and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

It isn’t exactly clear how metformin helps people lose weight, but researchers think the drug works as an appetite suppressant. Similarly to Ozempic, metformin may increase how much GLP-1 hormone your body makes. This can send a signal to your brain that you’re full, which means you eat fewer calories.

Read our blog to learn about Ozempic vs. Metformin for weight loss.

(Related: Metformin For Weight Loss: Does It Work?)

Tatsiana Niamera/istockphoto

If you’ve dealt with depression or looked into medication to quit smoking, bupropion may sound familiar to you.

For weight loss, it can be combined with the drug naltrexone, which is used to treat alcohol and drug dependence, to curb your hunger or make you feel fuller sooner. Together, these medications work on two areas of the brain, the hunger center and the reward system, to reduce appetite and help control cravings.

Along with a reduced calorie diet and exercise plan, naltrexone-bupropion can also help keep excess weight off.


Phentermine-topiramate is actually two separate medications that are combined in Qsymia, but are offered separately in other applications. 

While phentermine is considered an anorectic and topiramate is an anticonvulsant, both help with appetite suppression.

Topiramate offers the added benefit of helping you feel fuller longer after you eat.

When used specifically with a healthy exercise regimen and a reduced calorie diet, these medications — either together or separately — have been shown to help people lose weight and keep it off.


Orlistat, which belongs to a class of medications known as lipase inhibitors, reduces the amount of fat your body absorbs from the food you eat.

Orlistat is used for weight loss in conjunction with exercise and a reduced-calorie diet, as well as after weight loss to help people keep from gaining back that weight.

While the brand name Xenical requires a prescription, another brand called Alli is available in a lower dosage without one.


Like Ozempic and Wegovy, liraglutide is an injected weight loss medication. It works as a GLP-1 receptor agonist to suppress appetite, similarly to semaglutide.

Also available under the brand name Victoza at a lower dose, this drug is FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes.

(Related: Weight Loss Injections: Are They Safe?)


These weight loss drugs are all available with a prescription from a healthcare professional, but how effective are they really?

  • One study found that when people without diabetes took a weekly semaglutide injection they had a higher average weight loss — almost a 15 percent average decrease in weight — than people who took a placebo.

  • Metformin has also demonstrated clinically significant weight loss. A 2020 meta-analysis of 21 trials testing metformin found the drug had a modest impact on lowering BMI, especially for those who are considered to have obesity.

  • smaller study on metformin also found that the average amount of weight lost in 154 patients was between 5.6 and 7 kgs (that’s roughly between 13 and 15 pounds).

It’s also worth mentioning cost here — if you can’t afford the drug you need to take, it’s effectiveness essentially drops to zero percent. That said, there’s some wide price disparity between weight loss drugs. 

For instance, injectibals like Ozempic and Wegovy are generally more expensive than orals like metformin — namely because metformin is a generic medication that’s been around for decades, and Ozempic and Wegovy are newer. 

Liudmila Chernetska/istockphoto

Because everyone’s weight loss journey is different, weight loss medications may work slowly for some people and faster for others.

How long you need to take a weight loss prescription drug depends on various factors such as what side effects you experience, how much weight you need to lose, whether the drug helps keep the weight off and more.

Generally, as found in the studies noted above and clinical trials, weight loss will occur within the first few months of using the medication.

Sometimes your health care professional may recommend long-term use of the medication, while other people may be advised to stop the drug if they don’t lose a certain amount of weight after 12 weeks.

If you’re taking a weight loss medication, your healthcare provider will likely suggest that you also increase your physical activity and make healthy lifestyle changes like eating lots of protein and fiber and getting enough sleep. These medications are the most effective when combined with healthy habits.

Jorge Elizaquibel/istockphoto

Just like any medication, weight loss drugs also come with the possibility of side effects.

When it comes to injectibal drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy, there are some broad side effects that apply to all injectibals — like swelling, redness or other discomfort at the injection site — but generally, the side effects profiles of these drugs are similar regardless of delivery method.

The most common side effects of many of these weight loss medications include:

  • Stomach pain or constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

Some, like liraglutide and naltrexone-bupropion, may cause an increased heart rate or headaches.

Liraglutide and semaglutide may also increase the risk of pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas). You may also have a higher risk of developing tumors or thyroid cancer when using liraglutide or semaglutide, although these serious side effects are very rare.


There’s a good chance you’ve heard of weight loss medications like Ozempic or even Wegovy, but there’s also a good chance that the headlines and celebrity-focused articles didn’t answer all your questions. Here’s what you need to know about whether they’re effective.

  • There are several FDA-approved weight loss drugs, including semaglutide, orlistat, phentermine-topiramate, naltrexone-bupropion and liraglutide. Metformin is another common medication used off-label for weight management.

  • These drugs all work slightly differently, but many decrease your appetite and help you stick to a lower-calorie diet. Healthcare providers often recommend they be used alongside regular exercise and healthy habits to maximize sustained weight loss.

  • However, there are side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation and, for the injectibals, injection-side irritation, injury or discomfort. Often, these are mild and serious side effects rarely happen.

  • Cost is also worth considering. Injectibals like Ozempic and Wegovy can generally cost anywhere from $800 to $1,000 per prescription, where a generic like metformin can be had for a fraction of that — usually for under $100 a month.

There’s no one “best weight loss medication” — there’s only what’s best for your particular needs. If you’re curious about medication for weight loss, you can talk to your healthcare provider for medical advice and to explore your options. And if you’re interested in other weight loss treatments online, we can help. 

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by



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