Propecia Vs. Finasteride: Are They The Same & Which Is Better?

If you’re on the hunt for hair loss treatments, you’ve probably heard of either propecia or finasteride. So, is finasteride the same as propecia?

Comparing finasteride vs. propecia is like comparing paper tissues to Kleenex! Both are the same drug. Propecia is the brand name, while finasteride is the generic name.

In this article, we’ll tell you the differences and similarities between generic finasteride vs propecia. Keep reading to find out which hair loss treatment is for you.

What’s the Difference Between Propecia and Finasteride?

Propecia and finasteride are the same. Finasteride is the generic name of the active constituent, while propecia is a brand name belonging to Merck Sharp and Dohme.

There’s no difference between brand drugs and generic drugs. In fact, the FDA states that brand and generic drugs should be identical in the following:

  • The active ingredient
  • The dose and bioavailability
  • The quality, stability, and safety

In other words, the active substance in both drugs is the same, while the inactive ingredients are different. The inactive ingredients can change the shelf-life, taste, or color of the medication. 

Yet, they don’t alter its effectiveness.

How Does Finasteride Work?

Finasteride is a 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor. It basically blocks the formation of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone responsible for hair loss.

Usually, doctors prescribe finasteride for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. However, the FDA approved its use as an oral hair loss treatment in 2011.

Since then, many pharmaceutical companies have patented their own formulation, most notably propecia.

Should You Get Propecia or Finasteride?

You should note that both finasteride and propecia are prescription medications. So, you can only get the drug your doctor prescribed for you.

That said, you can consult the following with your doctor, so you can decide which drug to get:


Each tablet of propecia provides you with 1 mg of finasteride. On the other hand, generic finasteride is available in numerous dosages, ranging from 1 mg to 5 mg.

You should note that the best finasteride dosage for hair loss is 1 mg daily.


Many people believe that brand-name drugs are more effective than generic medications. That couldn’t be further from the truth, especially in the case of finasteride.

Remember that both drugs have the same bioavailability and dosage, so they’re equally potent. In fact, finasteride is effective in doses as low as 0.2 mg!

Side Effects

Since the active ingredient is the same in both medications, the side effects are identical. That’s because the inactive substances rarely produce adverse effects unless you’re allergic to a specific substance.

The side effects of finasteride include the following:

  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Gynecomastia
  • Skin rash


The main difference between propecia and finasteride is the price. Naturally, you should expect the brand medication to be more expensive. Yet, this doesn’t mean it’s more effective.

If you’re on a budget, generic finasteride would be a better option. You can even purchase proscar, which is 5 mg finasteride, and take ¼ of a tablet daily.

Frequently Asked Questions

How effective is propecia?

Propecia, or finasteride, is incredibly effective in preventing hair loss. 83% of men who regularly took the drug experienced no change in hair count, which means their hair stopped falling.

Not only that, but finasteride can also help hair follicles regrow. Studies showed that long-term treatment with finasteride promoted new hair growth in 91% of participants.

How much is propecia?

Propecia costs about $131 for one month’s supply or 30 tablets. Alternatively, finasteride is only $32 for 30 tablets.

This price difference isn’t due to superior quality ingredients or better bioavailability. Instead, you’re paying for a reputable pharmaceutical brand name.

Can I use finasteride instead of propecia?

You can definitely use either drug in place of the other, as long as you’re not allergic to any of the inactive ingredients.

Still, you should always consult your dermatologist before changing your medication. After all, you need a prescription to get propecia or finasteride.

The Bottom Line

There’s no real difference between finasteride and propecia. Propecia is simply a brand name for finasteride, with different inactive ingredients.

Both drugs are equally effective in treating male pattern hair loss at 1 mg concentration. Yet, finasteride is available in numerous concentrations, as it’s also used in the treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy.

While many people gravitate towards propecia due to its reputable brand name, finasteride is significantly cheaper and just as effective. So, it all comes down to your preferences and your dermatologist’s prescription!

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