Finasteride is an FDA-approved effective treatment that prevents hair loss and can even regrow hair. Doctors often prescribe it for men to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia).
However, finasteride cost can easily exceed $50 per month. In fact, a few of its various brand names are even more expensive than this. For example, Propecia cost is well over $100 per month.
So, is there a way to save money when using finasteride? How to circumvent the issue with the finasteride price?
Keep reading to know more about finasteride, how it works, and how to get such treatment at an affordable price.
What Is Finasteride and How Does It Work?
Finasteride is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor type of medicine. It can stop the male hormone (testosterone) from turning into another form called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by blocking the 5-alpha enzyme.
DHT causes your prostate to grow larger. It can also bind with hair follicles and prevent them from growing new hair, resulting in male pattern hair loss in adulthood.
When finasteride enters the male’s system, it stops the production of DHT. In turn, this can help shrink the enlarged prostate back to normal and reduce hair loss.
That said, finasteride isn’t an over-the-counter type of medicine. To purchase this drug, you must have a valid finasteride prescription written by a licensed healthcare provider.
How Effective Is Finasteride?
According to the National Library of Medicine, finasteride can lower prostatic DHT levels by up to 90%. Moreover, a study done in 1999 proves that finasteride treatment increased the hair count in the frontal scalp of treated patients significantly.
Does Finasteride Come in a Topical Form?
Although showing promising research results, there’s no FDA-approved version of topical finasteride yet. Finasteride is only available as oral tablets. However, your doctor may suggest a combination treatment involving taking it alongside Rogaine (topical minoxidil).
How Much Does Finasteride Cost per Month?
When first came into the market as a hair loss treatment, finasteride was only available under the brand name Propecia. It comes in the form of oral 1 mg tablets, which cost over $130 for a 30-tablet bottle. This means a single tablet costs over $4.
Propecia also comes as a 90-tablet bottle sold for more than $330. Getting the 90-tablet Propecia bottle saves you $20 per month and almost 70 cents per pill. Although this is a decent amount of money to save, it’s still expensive.
Take a look at how finasteride price compares to other brand-name hair loss medications.
|Drug Name||Price||Price per Month / Day|
|Propecia (finasteride)||$133 per 30 (1 mg) tablets||$133 / $4.43|
|Rogaine (minoxidil)||$30 per 5% solution bottle of 60 ml||$30 / $1|
|Aldactone (spironolactone)||$840 per 100 (100 mg) tablets||$252 / $8.40|
|Avodart (dutasteride)||$284 per 30 (0.5 mg) capsules||$284 / $9.46|
What Is Generic Finasteride?
Finasteride is available under another brand name, Proscar, and it’s approved for use in adult men. Generally, doctors prescribe Proscar to:
- Treat the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
- Reduce the risk of enlarged prostate surgery resulting from BPH
- Prevent BPH from worsening over time (usually by combining it with doxazosin)
How Much Does Generic Finasteride Cost?
Because of its ability to treat prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia), finasteride is now available as a generic medicine. This resulted in selling it at significantly lower prices.
That’s because medically necessary treatments are usually much cheaper than cosmetic treatment, despite having the same active substance.
Generic finasteride often costs a bit over $30 for a bottle of 30 (1 mg) tablets. This means that one dosage of finasteride is almost $1.
Is Finasteride Covered by Insurance?
As mentioned before, there are two types of finasteride. Men use the first type to treat and prevent hair loss, which is typically taken at a daily dosage of 1 mg tablet. The other type is the generic version used to treat BPH with a higher daily dosage of 5 mg.
Most insurance providers cover finasteride when taken to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia. However, only a few of them do when you use it as a hair loss medication.
It helps to contact your local pharmacy to know the cost of finasteride. Moreover, by asking your insurance provider directly, you can determine whether your health insurance covers finasteride.
Depending on your location, insurance coverage, and other factors, you can get generic finasteride for as low as $15 per bottle.
How To Save Money When Using Finasteride?
Using brand-name finasteride treatment for hair loss can break the bank, especially when taken for prolonged periods. Luckily, there are a few ways to save money while using finasteride, even if you don’t have insurance coverage.
Take a look at the following eight tips to help you save money.
Tip #1: Use Generic Finasteride Instead of Propecia
Since both generic and brand-name finasteride has the same active ingredient, you can always use the cheapest finasteride version for hair loss treatment. Aside from the name and the packaging design, there’s no difference between the two types.
Doing that can save you up to $100 per month.
Tip #2: Buy Larger Supplies
If you insist on sticking to using Propecia, you can also save money by buying larger bottles. As mentioned before, the 90-tablet Propecia bottle saves you a monthly sum of $20.
As for generic finasteride, you can save money with this method too. The 90-tablet finasteride costs about $75, while the 1000-tablet one sells for a bit over $735, saving you almost $10 per month.
Tip #3: Use Free Prescription Savings Services or Discount Cards
Some organizations and local programs offer free prescription savings services for those who don’t have health insurance. These types of services can save you up to 80% on medication at their partner pharmacies.
Using such savings methods, you can get your monthly supply of finasteride for as little as $2.5.
Tip #4: Use Finasteride 5 mg Instead of Finasteride 1 mg
The generic finasteride pills come in doses of 1 mg and 5 mg. That’s because the dosage required for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia is much higher. Because of that, the 5 mg version of finasteride usually costs much less than the 1 mg.
While the bottle of 30 (1 mg) finasteride tablets costs $31.30, the same amount of 5 mg finasteride pills starts at about $12.42. If you’re able to split a single pill into four parts, you get a dosage of 1.25 mg at a significantly lower price.
Getting a 1.25 mg dosage of finasteride is just as effective and safe as the 1 mg dosage. So, you don’t need to worry about trying to divide the pill into five parts.
Just remember to cut only one pill at a time. Otherwise, the active ingredients inside the pills may deteriorate faster.
Tip #5: Use a Mail-order Pharmacy
You can find finasteride through mail-order pharmacies. Not only does using this service allow you to buy your medication without leaving home, but it also helps lower the medicine cost.
What’s more, some types of insurance plans offered by Medicare cover the price of mail-order drugs.
Tip #6: Take an Alpha Blocker Instead
If you’re taking finasteride to treat enlarged prostate, consider consulting your physician about switching to a more affordable medicine. For example, doctors prescribe Alpha blockers as blood pressure drugs, but they’re commonly used to treat enlarged prostate as well.
What makes this drug a great option is that it’s much cheaper than finasteride.
Tip #7: Try OTC Minoxidil
If you’re using finasteride to prevent and reverse hair loss, consider switching to another medicine, like Rogaine (minoxidil). Ask your physician for advice about it and if it can work with your case.
Minoxidil may not be effective for some conditions. However, it’s definitely worth the try, as it’s a cheaper option than finasteride.
Tip #8: Ask Your Doctor About Combination Drugs
As previously mentioned, your physician may recommend combining finasteride with another treatment, such as Rogaine. This can help lower the overall monthly cost of your hair loss treatment.
Similarly, your physician might suggest combination treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Combination BPH drugs usually combine finasteride with an alpha-blocker in the form of a single tablet.
Combination drugs are much more affordable than buying two separate medications. In the long run, this can lower your medical bills significantly.
A Final Thought
No doubt that finasteride is one of the most effective treatments for hair loss. It also treats another serious issue called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
Sadly, the finasteride cost can be unbelievably high when using the branded version: Propecia. Plus, there’s also the cost of the appointment with your healthcare provider. However, there can be other ways around this.
Using generic finasteride instead of Propecia can cut your medical expenses by up to 75%. Furthermore, getting insurance coverage for this medication plays a massive part in lowering its cost, among a few other methods.
In all cases, make sure to consult your physician about the proper dosage before using any kind of medicine.