Propecia for Hair Loss: How to Save Your Hair and Your Money

piggy bank next to medicine bottle
Dr. Sharon Orrange
Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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Propecia (finasteride) a day works for male pattern hair loss. Hair loss is a huge deal for men, some of whom are willing to pay big dollars for years for their Propecia.

Daily use of Propecia for more than 3 months is necessary before benefits are observed, so it does work . . . but at a cost. Remember that continued use is recommended to sustain benefit and when you stop, you will see reversal of what Propecia did within 12 months. Ok now, think about the cost: Propecia is more than a dollar a day so you will be forking out more than 50 bucks a month. But wait, I have a secret for you.

Merck makes both Propecia (1 mg of finasteride) and Proscar (5 mg of finasteride). Proscar, unlike Propecia, is available as generic finasteride. If you can cut your finasteride tablet in three pieces, the difference in cost is striking. You can save a ton of money.

Is it worth it? Yes, Propecia (finasteride) works. In male pattern hair loss, the balding scalp contains increased amounts of DHT compared with hairy scalp. Finasteride decreases scalp and serum DHT concentrations (DHT is what testosterone is converted to).

Is there a downside to Propecia? Not really. In controlled trials of Propecia (finasteride) for the treatment of male pattern hair loss, discontinuation rates were similar to those taking placebo and decreased ejaculate volume was the main complaint.

Finasteride, Propecia, and Proscar are all the same medication at much different prices – ask your doctor about it.

Dr O.

Propecia is typically not covered by insurance, and costs about $70 – $75 per month. Merck, the manufacturer, also offers up to $60 off the first 90-day supply, and up to $200 off the fourth 90-day supply, for a savings of $260 in your first year. In contrast, finasteride is covered by most insurance plans as a Tier 1 medication – meaning you’ll pay only your lowest copay – and it can be found for as low as $10 – $20 per month.

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