Topical Finasteride

In recent years there have been many anecdotal reports of topical (typically in gel or solution form) finasteride resulting in similar or greater increases in hair count compared to finasteride pills, but with fewer side effects.  For some reason, the manufacturer of Propecia (Merck) does not seem to have tried to develop such a product despite Propecia getting significant negative publicity of late due to some users suffering from long-term sexual side effects. Merck even applied for a patent for topical finasteride in 2002, but to date has never tried to develop any topical version of Propecia.

The reason I am posting about this subject now is because an important clinical trial/study for P-3074 (a new topical finasteride solution with hydroxypropyl-chitosan as film-forming agent) was just completed in Switzerland at the end of May 2014.  The study was funded by Swiss company Polichem, which primarily specializes in dermatological and gynecological products.  The interesting thing about this study was that four different doses (ranging from around 0.25 mg to 1 mg) of finasteride were tested among 32 study participants (with 8 of those 32 getting a placebo dose).  One negative thing about the study was that only a 7-day dose of the topical P-3074 solution was administered, and there will therefore be no long-term measurement of the effectiveness of P-3074.  In any event, it will be interesting to see the results of this study regarding yet one new product in our arsenal to fight hair loss until a cure comes out.

One other thing of note is that a similar trial (although at just one dosage level of 0.25 mg per day) for P-3074 was conducted in the past and its findings were presented last year at the 7th World Congress on Hair Research (WCHR 2013).  The conclusion of that trial (found here under P040) was quite significant:

These findings show that DHT concentration in the scalp, after 7-day treatment course of P-3074 once daily, was more reduced (about 40%) than after 1 mg oral finasteride administration for the same treatment period.

There have been other studies done in the past that concluded favorable results from topical finasteride.  For example, a 2009 study from Iran concluded ” the therapeutic effects of both finasteride gel and finasteride tablets were relatively similar to each other.” Nothing is mentioned regarding side effects in the abstract of that study though.  A more recent 2012 study from Thailand concluded that a 3% minoxidil plus 0.1% finasteride lotion (“MFX”) was superior to just 3% minoxidil (“MNX’).  There is also an increasing amount of new research on better ways to deliver topical finasteride, especially via nanocarriers.

It should also be noted that the original Merck patent for Propecia has a number of sentences in there that discuss topical formulations also likely being effective.

What I am really hoping for are future studies on topical dutasteride.  The main reason for this, besides Dutasteride’s superior results to Finasteride when taken in pill form,  is that type I 5α-reductase isoenzymes are more prevalent on the scalp, while type II 5α-reductase isoenzymes are more prevalent in the prostate.  Finasteride primarily inhibits type II 5α-reductase, while Dutasteride also inhibits type I 5α-reductase.  I would therefore not be surprised if topical dutasteride’s superiority over topical finasteride is even greater than the superiority of dutasteride pills over finasteride pills.  Hopefully, there will also be fewer side effects even after accounting for some systemic absorption via the scalp.

A few hair transplant surgeons (such as the famous Hasson & Wong in Vancouver, Canada) are also rumored to have developed their own topical finasteride solution, probably in tandem with local pharmacies.  If you happen to have heard more on this, please post in the comment section below this post.  Some hair loss forum participants seem to have tried to develop their own topical finasteride or even topical dutasteride, something I would not recommend.  The science of topical medication delivery is a bit too complex for the vast majority of us to be experimenting with.

Update: I got an e-mail from Dr. Hasson & Wong’s office on June 17 stating the following:

“Dr. Hasson is prescribing topical Finasteride to some of his patients and it is being prepared at a pharmacy close to our clinic.  To date the results have been very similar to the oral Finasteride.”


58 thoughts on “Topical Finasteride”

  1. hi, thanks for your work. can i ask you why are you sure that we will have a cure within 2020? in the last WCHR I don’t read some good news
    thanks

  2. Hi noname,

    My optimism initially derived from just seeing the increasing pace of general scientific advancements in recent years (animal cloning, face transplants, stem cells, 3D organ printing, greater understanding of genetics and cell biology, faster computers etc…).

    More recently, these hair loss conferences (WCHR, ISHRS and other dermatological and plastic surgery ones) seem to be getting an ever increasing number of participants and research presentations, especially from Asia where hair loss is more of a taboo than in the western world. Clinical trials in those countries will also be less strictly regulated in my opinion.

    Did you see all the videos from Desmond on youtube?

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJn96v_HIbGaoOWFS6kRxDQ

    How could you not see the good news in there!

    1. thanks for the fast reply. english is not my native language so i haven’t seen the video but I read the forum and I see pessimism from a lot of users. i hope you are right, thanks again

  3. Great blog, hope you are correct about 2020 🙂

    Please, let me know what are your thoughts on PFS (Post Finasteride Syndrome). I have been using fin for 15 years and i am very worried about it. I never had erectile disfunction but my libido is decreased.

    What are the chances of develop PFS after quitting Fin? And how should i quit it?

    After reading this article, i will purchase Topical Fin from Genhair. I hope it can keep what oral fin has maintained.

    Thanks for the attention!

  4. To me it seems like PFS affects a small minority of patients, and most people either get no side effects, or get back their libido etc…after stopping Finasteride. But for the small percent who are permanently affected, it is obviously devastating. At the rate science is progressing, I hope they can find a way to solve the ED and low libido problems. I am not a believer in the brain fog and depression side effects that some blame on Finasteride.

    I do not know much about genhair and other similar products, but since I live near Canada, I may go to Hasson & Wong one day to get the topical formulation. I trust them more than other private manufacturers of Fin containing products.

    Thanks for your comment.

    1. Thanks for answering. I just hope i can increase my libido to the levels pre- finasteride.

      Would you mind to share your current regimen? Also, what do you think about RU 58841 in terms of safety?

      1. Hi Paul,

        I currently apply Rogaine foam to my scalp 3-4 times a week, always in the morning right after my shower after having dried my hair. I believe that the slight dampness enhances absorption. The foam makes my hair stronger and is almost like a gel. There was a time I used in daily, but now I stick to 3-4 times a week. You are supposed to use it twice a day (so 14 times a week)!

        I also take 1/4 tab Proscar every second day. Like yourself, I am worried that it might have decreased my libido a bit, and once in a while I will reduce the frequency at which I take the tablet even more.

        Did you see good results on Finasteride?

        I am not that keen on RU 58841 as I prefer sticking to the two FDA approved treatments. Am concerned with potential side effects as it is, and would rather not add a third drug to my regimen.

  5. Hi!
    First congrats for the blog, is good to read the news on potential new treatments. I’m thinking on start with finasteride, but i’m also worried about the sides. There are lots of information in the web, mostly from affected individuals, so it’s hard to quantify the real chance of each side. It’s seems like a bet, and I think is important to have the information to decide, after all is a complex combination of priorities and possibilities. That being said, i would like to ask if you know of studies about the sides rates. And, do you think finasteride could be modified to reduce side effects?
    thanks! and sorry about my english 😛

  6. Hi,
    I am trying to convince doctors in my country about the importance of developing topical finastride and even convince them about the side effects I am suffering from taking the pills. I’m female and have taken finastride pills 0.5% for four months. My heart palpilation has developed to heartache! and I’ve noticed worse effects on my skin.
    By the way, I’m now searching for the formula making my own topical finastride out of the existing pills. But I don’t know how to make the true percentage and what to mix for gaining the final formula! Can anyone give a hint here? Please, It’s highly important for me as I might lose the hair grown since I’m no longer taking the pills.

    1. Sorry to hear that Jina. What kind of side effects on skin? I think I get some facial acne from Finasteride, but not all the time. You might want to ask your question on one of the hair loss forums out there such as bald truth forums or hair loss talk forums.

  7. Hello Im currently using hasson and wongs topical finasteride 2 weeks in! Would you like me to keep you posted?

    1. Yes please! Would be nice if there was a way to know how well it is being absorbed into your scalp. Did they recommend applying on a slightly damp scalp by any chance?

    2. hey cole,
      i would love to here if you have gotten any side effects from the topical version. i had really bad ones with the oral pills. thank you

      1. Hi admin, Cole,
        Yes- can you please update on your use of topical finasteride from Hasson & Wong??
        I had terrible sexual side effects from taking oral finasteride. I’m young and my hair is aggressively thinning deffusely; it’s disappearing very fast including noticeably on the sides. I douse my hair with a powder hair concealer everyday. I’ll be one of those guys that shows up one day suddenly with no hair leaving people around him wonder what happened.
        And also admin thank you for this great site. Its the most upto date and well written sites I can turn to almost everyday to expect something to give me hope.

        1. Hi AG, please call them to find out more. I know someone recently posted a comment of topical Fin being available via a Spanish company. Will try to find that link later, although I am not sure how reliable that company is.

          1. Thank you for the response. I guess Cole didn’t follow up to up inform you of his results. I’m going to try and contact those sources you mentioned. I look forward to seeing more posts. Much thanks again.

          2. Just wanted to let you guys know that you can get topical finasteride with 5% minoxidil off of ebay. It’s called Morr f 5. It’s made by an Indian pharmaceutical company. I’ve been using it for the past 2 months and I can see definet improvements.

    3. Hi Cole,

      Have you had any success with the topical finasteride,
      I stopped taking the tablets after a very bad episode of anxiety as a result.

  8. Hi admin , may I ask why did you stop the chat ,and are you going to activate it again ? where shall we follow latest updates .
    I know that some users say stupid things sometime ,but you can make facebook login to prevent troubles
    thank you for this generous volunteerism work

  9. Hi YaZeD, will decide soon on login process. There was a user who started to use my name, and another who said same thing over and over again. As in real life, a few bad apples spoil things for all.

  10. Hello admin,

    I’ve never been taking finasteride yet , but I am going to doctor to prescribe it. But I am scared of permanent sides some people are facing.

    I saw some articles suggesting creating topical finasteride by throwing 6x5mg finasteride into 60ml minoxidil. Do you recommend it ? thanks

    1. Hi Marek, have not heard of that. You should talk to a hair transplant surgeon near you about this as well as to a pharmacist.

  11. Hi there, iam a 30 year-old using topical Finasteride .1mg+5% minoxidil solution 2 days in. its brand name would be ‘Morrf 5’ by Intas pharma India. I hope it has fewer side effects. I am also taking Ashwaganda powder, zinc, vit B3, biotin, vit D3 and calcium and protein. Ashwaganda is a very powerful herbal Aphrodisiac!. its good for hair too ++plus, i have been undergoing PRP (platet rich plasma) therapy as well.

    1. Hii raj, im from india too.
      I use simple Minox 5% by alkem pharma and ashwagandha too.

      You regimen is good. But if you could, pls share with me from where you are getting your PR therapy and the price.

      My email id is Nadester9@gmail.com

    2. Hi Raj I just began using Morrf 5 a week ago. Are you still using it. ..If so how often did you use it , did you see results and any side effects? I am also from India.

  12. Interesting blog . A patient today just mentioned this article.
    To update : Our topical Finasteride solution that we have been using for the past 2 years has proven to be very effective . It has been used primarily in patients who had been experiencing side effects on the oral drug. These patients have been free of side effects on the topical formulation. This is a good sign that the drug is unlikely to be going systemic via cutaneous permeation.
    We are currently performing tests using Franz diffusion cells with the The University of Milan to get more data.
    Once we have secured a reliable source for Dutasteride we will start testing topical formulations with this drug as it will likely be more effective.
    A new liposomal formulation of topical finasteride is currently available to our European patients. It has been developed in collaboration with Farmacia Parati in Italy. This preparation can be obtained from this company . You will require a physicians prescription for this as the formulation needs to be compounded on a case by case basis (to comply with European and FDA regulations).

    Victor Hasson MD

    1. Wow thanks a lot for the detailed comment Dr. Hasson. I will probably make a new post on this. Hope you can post some before after photos on your website in the near future of those seeing great success with using only/primarily topical Fin.

      P.S–> Feel free to contact me directly via the e-mail in the contact page at the top of this blog if you ever have any other suggestions, corrections and so forth.

  13. Is this topical finasteride gel being offered to non- patients with prescription? I called Hasson & wong toll free number and was told that this gel is offered to patients only!

  14. Its kind of hard to believe that topical fin is not a readily available option to anyone that is hesitant to go the oral route. I mean the drug is already approved with long safety record. Why does merk not just reformulate the stuff as a topical would probably be pretty cheap to do.

  15. If you had a doctor prescription for propecia can someone send a copy of that and buy the topical Finasteride instead of trying the oral stuff first? I dont want systemic sides if I can lessen them by going topical instead.
    Its baffling how hard it is to get when its always been so logical to treat MPB topically

  16. When would you guess the topical distasteride might be available?
    I’m on half a tab of proscar daily after upping my dosage due to loss of effectiveness of propecia after almost 20 years of use!

    1. wait.. you’ve been using fin for 20 years and it has given you no side effects and maintained and possibly regrown hair? GIVE YOUR BODY TO SCIENCE RIGHT NOW… on the internet people claim propecia may last for a maximum of 6-7 years if your lucky… god.. 20 years is basically a cure, so much time to enjoy life with hair

      1. I have been using it for 20 years as well. I have had very little hairloss during this time but have had sexual side effects for sure.

  17. Has anyone found a workaround for this? I’ve reached out the Italian company, and they require a prescription, although I’m confused as to how I would get a prescription for a topical product that doesn’t exist in the US. Not sure if I can find a physician that would be willing to write a rX for it.

    1. I did not find this product when I looked just now. Is it still available? Can you provide a link directly to the product page itself? Thanks

  18. Hi. Quick question:

    Considering finasteride has been around for so long, why did it take so long to develop a topical version? Is there some aspect of the science which I’m missing?

    1. Hi Robert,
      Your probably not missing any of the science, but a bit of big-pharma-economics. Sadly big pharmaceutical companies usually put profit margins and stock ratings before clinical efficacy, especially in a field such as dermatology/hairless where mortality is not an issue. They will have done their long-term research-sale investment calculations and are probably milking the market for oral finasteride for a given time before bringing out the topical version…

  19. My doc in Bangalore, India has prescribed a solution : Morr F 5% (contains 5% minox and 0.1% fin). It says in the instructions booklet that it is equivalent to applying 50 mg minox and 1mg fin for 1 ml of the product. Also it says to apply twice daily and total dosage not to exceed 2 ml per day. Please suggest me if this is a safe enough product for use. How much of fin will enter body per dosage as I know 1 mg oral fin is the max recommended..Thanks..

  20. http://googleweblight.com/?lite_url=http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4314881/&ei=AT1LCqr_&lc=en-IN&s=1&m=772&host=www.google.co.in&ts=1473774586&sig=AKOVD67f8DxaiYV34KTqhgqL80t6PV-y9A&lite_refresh=1473775090086
    Our renowned dermatologist of South India Dr Chandrasekhar sir , after extensive study over test subjects, has published his view on superiority of topical finasteride 0.1% combined with monoxidil 3% , over use of oral finasteride. It has worked fine for me. If ur in India consult him once before using it. It’s available in India under trade name X-pecia gel…
    Presently topical finasteride combined with monoxidil is a safer bet for AGA(androgenic alopecia)

    1. Hi Doctor, does Xpecia Gel contain Propylene Glycol (PG)? It seems that I am sensitive and allergic to PG in Morr F 5% solution. If the suggested gel does not contain PG , I will give it a try.Currently using Mintop Forte Foam 5% which is PG free.

      -Thank you

  21. Hi admin, is using topical finasteride harmful to a pregnant lady and child when the husband is using it during this period and the wife comes in contact with the applied solution. Ex through direct contact of husband’s scalp etc.

    1. I think they generally do not recommend finasteride even touching a pregnant woman. I would ask a doctor about the details.

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