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Can You Buy Finasteride Over The Counter? Common Questions About Propecia Explained

UPGUYS > Blog > Hair > Can You Buy Finasteride Over the Counter? Common Questions About Propecia Explained
The person who wrote this article

Written by the UPGUYS Editorial Team
Published on April 29, 2022

Are you concerned about your receding hairline? Are you wondering if it's time to take action and find a solution to your problem? Propecia might be right for you, but you have to learn much more about it before making your decision.

Can you buy finasteride in Canada over the counter?

Many men struggle to get treatments for balding over the counter, and they can be difficult to find in the first place. So, for those men who want to learn more about this medication and how it can help with hair loss, keep reading our guide and get the know-how.

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Table of contents:

What Is Finasteride and What Does It Do?

Finasteride is a prescription medication primarily used to treat male pattern balding. It does have some other applications in certain indications like benign prostatic hyperplasia.

However, most men will recognize the drug as one of the primary treatments to prevent hair loss over time.

Finasteride causes a blockage in the process of testosterone production. While this might seem counterproductive, the goal of finasteride is to interfere with the enzyme that creates a form of testosterone that leads specifically to male pattern balding.

This enzyme is called 5-alpha-reductase. When it is impeded by finasteride, it will increase overall testosterone levels throughout the body. It will also decrease prostate size.

Finally, the primary benefit of blocking this enzyme is to increase hair growth on the scalp.

Finasteride is one of only two unique FDA-approved treatments for male pattern baldness. It does not work immediately and will require at least four months of everyday use before patients will begin to notice the effect.

Some patients will report mild hair regrowth. However, most patients for whom the drug is effective will simply report not losing any more hair than is already lost.

Finasteride should not be used or touched (if the pill is crushed) by women who are either pregnant or are planning to be.


Finasteride is generally safe to take over the long term. If you have no other health problems, starting finasteride most likely won't be an issue.

Some reports of adverse sexual effects have been reported in a small segment of users. Other concerns have suggested there may be a small link between finasteride and depression. However, neither of these suggested safety concerns has been proven conclusively, and most users do not suffer from these issues.

On the other hand, there is some evidence that finasteride may prove beneficial in preventing prostate cancer over the longer term.

Read more: All About Finasteride Interactions

Is Finasteride Over the Counter Available in Canada?

So, is Propecia over the counter in Canada?

Some medications for male pattern hair loss are available over the counter in drugstores throughout Canada. However, finasteride is unique in that it is one of the only treatments that require a prescription.

Same for its branded version, Propecia. Over-the-counter Propecia isn't available.

You won't be able to get this medication over-the-counter in Canada and will need to talk to a qualified physician to make sure this drug is right for you and get a prescription.

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How Do I Get a Prescription for Finasteride in Canada?

If you're living in Canada and you have noticed more hair loss than usual, don't wait any longer before trying to find a physician. Finasteride 1 mg over the counter may not be available, but prescription finasteride and other treatments can be very effective in keeping hair loss at bay.

To get a prescription for finasteride if it is indicated for your situation and health, you can go to your regular primary care doctor. They will most likely not need to refer you to any other specialist before providing a prescription.

However, it's important to talk to a doctor because you want to make sure that finasteride will not interfere with any other medical issues or goals that you may have. For example, those on hormone replacement therapies may have adverse effects from taking finasteride.

Read moreFinasteride Before And After

How Much Does Finasteride Cost?

As with any other medication, finasteride prices can vary widely depending on the pharmacy or retailer. However, on the whole, finasteride prices should be lower than brand-name versions like Propecia.

The branded version no longer has patent control, and equivalent generics have entered the market to lower the price overall. This means that you can get the same type of efficacy from a generic version of finasteride as you would with Propecia.

On average, you can expect to get a basic monthly prescription of finasteride for under $10. It's possible to find medications as low as $3 for 30 tablets of 1 mg finasteride.

In many cases, your insurance will cover the cost of your prescription or reduce the cost greatly. You can also work with companies to find rebates and coupons that lower your prescription dramatically. Our online retail service aims to provide you with affordable prices for all-male health products, including finasteride.

Are Finasteride and Propecia the Same?

As discussed above, Propecia is the branded version of finasteride. It was the first form of finasteride to hit the market, and for many years, it had exclusive control as the only form available to patients.

However, the patent has ended, and new and equivalent forms of finasteride have hit the market. Most physicians will recommend opting for a generic form of finasteride over the branded version simply to save you money.

There is no structural difference between the compound used in generic finasteride formulations vs. Propecia.

Both have similar efficacy and safety profiles and are subject to regulatory scrutiny during manufacturing processes.

How Do I Use Finasteride Safely?

If you don't have other medical conditions complicating your health, finasteride can be a very safe option to prevent male pattern balding. While there are some reported side effects for finasteride, this medication is relatively safe on the whole.

Remember, the information provided here is general and to make sure what dosage and usage are safe for you, you need to talk to your doctor and take their direction on this.

To take finasteride safely, you will want to take a 1 mg dose daily with or without food. It does not matter what time of day you take the medication. You can take it in the morning, after lunch, or at bedtime.

You do want to make sure that you take the medication around the same time every day. This allows your body to develop a constant level of the drug in your body over time. If you take the medication at different points each day, it can lead to fluctuations in the availability of finasteride in the body.

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Are There Other Finasteride Alternatives That Are Available over the Counter?

Male pattern balding is a complex problem. Not everyone responds similarly to the same type of treatment. This is why there have been hundreds of research trials of different products to try to find the best and most effective option for the most men.

Finasteride is unique in that it is one of the only treatments for male pattern balding that is available only as a prescription.

There are plenty of other treatments that have worked well for men over the past two decades. You may have heard about Rogaine for men. This is the branded version of minoxidil, which is available in certain formulations over the counter.

Read moreFinasteride vs Dutasteride

For many men who are starting to dip their toes into the waters of hair loss prevention and wish finasteride over the counter were available, minoxidil is a relatively safe and smart choice. The drug is applied directly to the scalp for a short amount of time every day. Similar to finasteride, minoxidil requires a longer amount of time to start working.

However, if you have concerns about obtaining a prescription, minoxidil can be a smart first choice when trying out more potent hair loss treatments.

It's also possible to make dietary changes that lead to better health and more robust hair follicles over time. There are certain foods you can eat and certain patterns of eating that you can adopt to make sure your body and scalp are getting adequate nutrition to support and nourish hair follicles appropriately.

Key Takeaways

Finasteride is an effective and safe medication for preventing and slowing male pattern balding.

Can you find finasteride over the counter?

The short answer is no. At the end of the day, you'll need to find a local or online physician trained and willing to prescribe this medication. It can be a useful drug over the long term and has shown good effects in helping men keep their hair. For the most part, taking finasteride accomplishes this without nasty side effects.

Read more: Finasteride Warning And Precautions To Know

This article is written for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information provided in the articles cannot and should not replace advice from a healthcare professional. Talk to your healthcare provider about any physical or mental health concerns or the risks and benefits of any treatment or medication.