When is the Best Time To Take Finasteride?

When is the Best Time To Take Finasteride?

This post was most recently updated on June 19th, 2023

While the signs of male pattern hair loss can make you frustrated, an FDA-approved medication like Finasteride can help slow and even stop the progress. If you’re wondering when is the best time to take Finasteride, it is as soon as you notice hair loss. You should take it once a day at the same time every day.

We go into more detail about the best practices to follow when it comes to taking Finasteride for male pattern baldness below.

What Type of Medication is It?

Finasteride is a prescription hair loss medication that comes under the brand name PropeciaDutasteride and this medicine are the only two approved by FDA to treat male pattern hair loss. In addition, it is also available under the name Proscar that’s used to cure Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) i.e. enlarged prostate glands.

Illustration of Finasteride blocks the action of 5AR - best time to take Finasteride

Finasteride blocks the activity of a specific enzyme called 5-alpha reductase (type II) from converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – a hormone that is responsible for Male Pattern Baldness (MPB). This can reduce the levels of DHT, slowing down or even reversing hair loss. A standard dose of the pill can reduce serum DHT levels by 70 percent.

A 1998 clinical trial published by the JAAD found the results of 1,553 men who received 1mg of Finasteride or a placebo for a year. Those who took Finasteride 1mg noticed reduced hair loss, while treatment with a placebo resulted in continued hair loss. The 2-year trial with 1215 men shows that men who took Finasteride 1mg experienced improved hair regrowth.

Clinical data has proven that Finasteride is very effective for MPB treatment. Now, let’s find out whether or not Finasteride can be used for other hair loss types.

Should I Take Finasteride?

This is only approved by FDA and prescribed for use for men with Male Pattern Baldness. It won’t be effective for hair loss that is not caused by DHT. MPB is also known as androgenetic alopecia – a type of hair loss caused by your genetics. This also can affect women (especially post-menopausal women) and is known as Female Pattern Baldness (FPB).

Although one study shows that it can improve hair thickness in post-menopausal women with FPB, it’s still considered off-label. Finasteride is not approved by FDA for hair loss or thinning hair in women. In fact, this generic medication is not prescribed for use in women and children.

The symptoms of MPB can be seen when your hairline begins to recede around the temples. Besides receding hairline, you may also notice a small bald patch on your crown. There are actually seven stages of balding you may go through. It is called The Norwood Scale (Hamilton-Norwood Scale).

The Norwood Scale - best time to take Finasteride

Next, let’s find out when you should start the medication.

When Should You Start Taking Finasteride?

The pills come as once-a-day oral tablets and are typically prescribed at a dosage of 1mg per day. If you take this medication as early as you first notice hair loss, you may have a better chance of hair loss reduction and even new hair growth.

Don’t take Finasteride 5mg for BPH treatment to treat your hair loss. It is because using more Finasteride than prescribed won’t improve the results instead may increase your risk of side effects.

It is still effective even if you have lost a significant amount of hair. However, the earlier you start the medication, the more effective it is at stopping hair loss and stimulating growth. It is because your hair follicles have less time to be exposed to DHT, so the damage is relatively mild.

  • Guided by the Norwood Scale above, male pattern hair loss usually begins to become more noticeable if you’re at Norwood Stages 3-5 and hair thinning is visible. So, it is the best time to take this.
  • Although Norwood Stages 1-2 are not yet considered balding, you can also try to take the medication if you’re worried about losing more hair gradually in the near future especially if the gene is in your family.
  • If you have Norwood Stages 5-6 and have extremely fine hair, it’s still worth trying Finasteride. But if you’re completely bald, then the hair follicles are dead and Finasteride may not be effective.

That said, it is best to ask your doctor before taking the medicine to make sure it’s appropriate for your hair condition. These are the best ways to take this product. Next, let’s find out the dosing schedule.

What is the Best Time of Day To Take Finasteride?

For hair loss treatment, you should take a tablet once every day which can be taken with or without food. There’s actually no best time of day to take Finasteride, it’s more about establishing a daily habit. The time of day doesn’t affect how the medication works in any way.

You should try to take Finasteride at the same time each day to regulate the effects of this pill. This will help maximize its effectiveness and reduce the risk of potential side effects. 

  • If you forget to take your dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take it more often or too less than the recommended amount.
  • You can also take Finasteride and vitamins/ multivitamins together as they don’t interfere with each other.
  • If you experience side effects (although uncommon) and don’t want to take a risk, you can take reduce them to make them less noticeable or disappear. However, taking Finasteride at a normal dose will give superior results rather than if you cut the dose.
  • Finasteride is not affected by sweating, so your workout will not affect its effectiveness.
  • Speak to your doctor if you want to change the time you take Finasteride.
  • You can also use topical Minoxidil together with Finasteride, as they can effectively target hair loss from multiple angles.
  • Finasteride (Propecia) is not available over-the-counter in the United States. So, you have to get a valid prescription from your healthcare provider to make sure it’s right for you.
Be patient and consistent with your treatment, as it may take at least 3 to 6 months to see noticeable decreased hair loss and improved regrowth. If you haven’t seen any improvement after 6 months, it is best to talk to your doctor. 

Finasteride may cause side effects during and after your treatment, such as decreased libido, inability to achieve an erection, and ejaculation disorder. However, data from clinical trials suggest that it is relatively rare, and it only occurs in a very small percentage of men using Finasteride.

Bottom Line

To conclude, the best time to take Finasteride is when you can take it at the same time every day. You can choose to take it either in the morning or at night because the time of day won’t affect its effectiveness. Plus, the earlier you start the dosage, the more effective it will be at relatively stopping hair loss and even regrowing your hair.

You may notice the visible results after 3-6 months of use. Take at least 3 months when you start your Finasteride journey. Patience and consistency are the keys to achieving the best results. Most importantly, speak to your doctor before starting the medication and follow as directed.

The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice instead for informational purposes only. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of Finasteride.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if a dose is missed?

Never double it for the next day if you missed it. Skip it and go back to your regular dosing schedule.

What should I know about the storage and disposal of this medication?

Store Finasteride at room temperature and away from children and excess heat or moisture. Don’t put this medication in your bathroom as it’s too humid.

Will I need to use this drug long-term?

Finasteride usually takes a long time before you notice the visible results. Don’t stop taking this medication without talking to your doctor. Your hair may return to its initial state after one year of stopping the dose.

Can Finasteride be crushed, split, or chewed?

Swallow the whole tablet with a glass of water without crushing or breaking it. Pregnant women, women of childbearing age, or those trying to conceive should not handle a crushed tablet as it can absorbed through the skin and affect hormone levels. 


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Bosley. The Norwood Scale, Class 1–7: Understanding Male Pattern Hair Loss. Retrieved from https://www.bosley.com/blog/norwood-scale/ 

Chandrashekar BS, Nandhini T, Vasanth V, Sriram R, Navale S. Topical minoxidil fortified with finasteride: An account of maintenance of hair density after replacing oral finasteride. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2015 Jan-Feb;6(1):17-20. doi: 10.4103/2229-5178.148925. PMID: 25657911; PMCID: PMC4314881.

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Kaufman KD, Olsen EA, Whiting D, Savin R, DeVillez R, Bergfeld W, Price VH, Van Neste D, Roberts JL, Hordinsky M, Shapiro J, Binkowitz B, Gormley GJ. Finasteride in the treatment of men with androgenetic alopecia. Finasteride Male Pattern Hair Loss Study Group. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1998 Oct;39(4 Pt 1):578-89. doi: 10.1016/s0190-9622(98)70007-6. PMID: 9777765.

Zito PM, Bistas KG, Syed K. Finasteride. [Updated 2022 Aug 25]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513329/

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