Compare Propecia vs. Rogaine

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

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Propecia (finasteride)

Prescription only

Rogaine (minoxidil)

Over-the-counter
Helps your hair grow back.

Propecia (finasteride) helps men with hair growth, but needs to be used for at least 3 months or more to see full benefits.

Treats hair loss.

Rogaine (minoxidil) can improve hair loss, but may not work for everyone.

Upsides
  • Significant increases in hair count were seen at 6 and 12 months in men taking Propecia (finasteride). At 12 months there was a 107-hair difference from those men not taking Propecia (finasteride).
  • Available in a generic form.
  • Is useful as a supplemental treatment to hair transplant surgery.
  • Most side effects go away after your body gets used to Propecia (finasteride).
  • Is available over-the-counter and as a less expensive generic product.
  • You only need to apply this twice a day.
Downsides
  • Only good for the crown of the head. If you have a receding hairline, Propecia (finasteride) may not work.
  • If you stop taking it, you will lose the hair you grew while on it.
  • Can take 3 months or longer to see full benefits.
  • Sexual side effects can continue after you stop taking Propecia (finasteride).
  • You need to have your blood tested regularly for signs of prostate cancer while taking Propecia (finasteride).
  • Should never be used by women or children.
  • Cannot be used for frontal baldness.
  • Is not as effective on hair loss that is old or large in area. You should use Rogaine (minoxidil) at the first sign of hair loss.
  • Does not work on hair loss that is due to medications (such as chemotherapy), nutritional problems, or certain medical conditions.
  • Is not a permanent solution for hair loss. Once you stop using Rogaine (minoxidil), hair loss will occur again within 3 to 6 months.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Solution
  • Foam
Price
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Reviews
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Side effects
1possible side effects
  • Decreased libido
    2%
See more detailed side effects
The Rogaine (minoxidil) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Risk during pregnancy
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels
  • Prostate cancer
    • Men aged 55 years or older
    • Taking 5 mg/day
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Heart problems
    • Heart problems
  • Hair color changes
  • Appropriate use
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Flammable
See more detailed risks and warnings