Can You Get Finasteride on the NHS?

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Finasteride is a prescription-only medication used to treat male pattern baldness and benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate). Many people would like to know if it is possible to get finasteride on the NHS. Let’s take a look at how the NHS works and what you need to do in order to get finasteride


How does the NHS work? 

The National Health Service (NHS) is a publicly funded healthcare system in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. It provides free medical care for all UK residents. However, there are certain drugs that are not prescribed on the NHS and must be purchased privately. Finasteride 1mg (Propecia) is one of these drugs. 


How to get finasteride through the NHS

Finasteride is available in two dosage forms, 1mg and 5mg. The 5mg dose is used to treat an enlarged prostate, whilst the 1mg dose is used to treat male pattern baldness.

Finasteride is only available on the NHS in the 5mg dose, to treat an enlarged prostate. If you are looking to obtain finasteride 1mg to cure male pattern baldness, you will have to obtain in privately.

You can do so by booking an appointment with a private hair loss clinic, or by obtaining it from an online pharmacy. In both cases, you will be required to go through a consultation process for a healthcare professional to review, to ensure that the medication is suitable for you to take.


Why is finasteride not available on the NHS?

Male pattern baldness is not considered to be a medical condition which can cause a deterioration in health if left untreated. It is also seen to be a condition which falls under the category of an aesthetic treatment. Although it can cause mental distress amongst men, there is no direct correlation between a decline in mental wellbeing, as a result of hair loss.


Is finasteride 1mg expensive to buy privately?

A private face to face consultation is likely to cost around £100. A private prescription is likely to cost around £20-£30 a month from a clinic.

Online pharmacy prices tend to be cheaper, with prices usually starting at approximately £15 per month.


What you should take into consideration when obtaining treatment privately

  • Ensure you are obtaining treatment from a reputable source. If you are going through a clinic, make sure you check that the organisation is registered with the CQC (Care quality commission). If you are obtaining hair loss treatments from an online pharmacy, check to see that the pharmacy is registered with the GPhC (Genera Pharmaceutical Council). These credentials should be easy to find.
  • Read the Product Information Leaflet. This outlines all of information you need to know, including dosage, side effects, interactions with other drugs, who shouldn't use treatment, and other important warnings.
  • If you have prostate problems, or you are at a high risk of developing prostate problems, it is vital that you let your GP know that you are taking finasteride tablets. This is because finasteride lowers PSA levels. The PSA test is a blood test used to help detect prostate cancer. Finasteride lowers these levels, and this will need to be taken into consideration if you need to have these levels checked.

Whilst all of our content is written and reviewed by healthcare professionals, it is not intended to be substituted for or used as medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please speak to your doctor.