Finasteride is the generic form of the drug Propecia. While Propecia is the more well-known and recognised name, the two treatments work the same way and provide the same overall benefits. Propecia is the most commonly prescribed medication to treat male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia).

Your doctor may prescribe Finasteride instead, and there’s really no reason not to choose the generic version in most cases. Whilst the active ingredient (finasteride) is the same for both Finasteride and Propecia, the inactive ingredients can be different, which can affect the side effects of the treatment.

finasteride vs propecia


Take an assessment to order Propecia online from £41.65



The two drugs use the same active ingredient – finasteride. A single tablet of either medication will give you 1g of finasteride. That means that no matter which one you are taking, you will get the same hair growth benefits. The effect on your testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels will be the same.

Even personal testimonials by people who have tried the drugs have shown that the results are the same.

Some people may claim that one or the other works better for them – this may be due to sensitivity to an inactive ingredient (covered later in this article), or may simply be personal preference.

From a medical perspective, both medications are equally effective at treating hair loss.


The drugs will be effective for about 86% of all men who take it. They may not always wholly reverse the effects of male pattern hair loss, but they should at least slow down the enzyme that changes testosterone into DHT. This should raise testosterone levels and slow down hair loss.

In some cases, patients have reported new growth of hair; however, this is most likely due to the reactivation of static follicles, not bringing dead ones back. Finasteride and Propecia can help moderate hair loss in men, but are unlikely to help you regrow hair you’ve already lost.

Side Effects

While the active ingredient (Finasteride) is the same in both drugs, the inactive ingredients are different. All medications contain two types of ingredients; active ingredients, which covers the ingredients with a chemical use in the body – in this case, finasteride in Propecia – and inactive ingredients – the binders, colouring agents and other non-essential elements. People can be sensitive to either of these.

This can cause some subtle differences in the side effects they produce. Differing side effects are rarely reported, suggesting that only a small number of people will be sensitive to the inactive ingredients.

The most common side effects of both medications (affecting more than 1% of people) include;

  • Difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection
  • Difficulty ejaculating, or lowered ejaculate volume
  • While other side effects have been reported, these ones are the most common. Finding that one medication or the other makes you more likely to experience side effects, or that one feels like it works better, may point towards you being sensitive to one of the inactive ingredients.

    If you are sensitive/allergic to other medications, it is worth discussing with your doctor, which drug may be the better choice based on the inactive ingredients. But for the majority of people who take these drugs for male pattern baldness, there will be no discernible difference.

    If you find your side effects are more serious, stop taking finasteride and speak to your doctor.


    Take an assessment to order Finasteride online from £13.95



    The main point of difference between these medications is their price point.

    When a medication is first created, the pharmaceutical companies that create them are given an exclusive patent to that medication. This means they are the only ones who can produce it for a set time (normally 10 to 20 years); once the patent is up, the chemical formulae are released to the public.

    This means that, so long as they are a registered manufacturer of drugs, they can produce a generic copy of the medication. While they can’t use the same name or appearance as the branded product, they contain the exact same ingredients, aside from minor variations in the inactive ingredients. The advantage they do have over branded variations is that they will mostly be sold for much cheaper, as a way to compete with the name recognition the branded versions may have.

    In the case of Propecia vs finasteride, this difference is significant; as of October 2023, a 4-week treatment course of Propecia costs £41.65 (around £1.49 per 1mg dose), while the same 4 week course of finasteride costs only £13.95 (around 50p per dose). While purchasing larger quantities can give better savings, branded Propecia will always be more expensive than generic finasteride.