Can a 33 Year Old Women Who Plans Never to Have Kids Use Propecia for Hair Loss?

I am a 33 year old female who has androgenetic alopecia. I have had some mild improvements with minoxidil but not entirely to my satisfaction. I have read up on Propecia and know it is not indicated for women. However, it's worked well for my brother. Is it safe to use if I don't plan on getting pregnant/having children? Is there any reason to believe that it may be effective in women?

Doctor Answers (3)

Propecia Simple Facts


Propecia has more side effects than Rogaine and is not FDA-approved for use by women for both safety reasons and lack of efficacy. I would not recommend it in this situation.


Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews



Is there a reason why you can't take Spironolactone?  While it is also contraindicated during pregnancy, it is the drug of choice for women suffering with androgenetic alopecia.  The effects are not lingering, so if you change your mind and want to have children at some point later in life, that option will remain.  Studies have only shown efficacy for women who are post-menopausal anyway.  

Corey L. Hartman, MD
Birmingham Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Finasteride may help women, but consider spironolactone first


Yes, you are right to believe that finasteride may work for you, too.

The reason that it is not indicated for hair loss in women is due to the safety issues.

It is ABSOLUTELY contraindicated in women of childbearing age. Pregnancy could

result in  serious birth defects, especially with a male fetus.  In addition, the

preliminary studies using finasteride 1mg daily in women did not demonstrate an appreciable

difference. However, there are published studies from other countries showing that finasteride

at higher doses of 2.5mg and 5mg daily may improve female pattern hair loss. If you can locate

a dermatologist who is familiar with these studies and willing to prescribe it to you, it may be worth

a try. That being said, we do not have long-term safety data using such a drug in women. Therefore

you and your doctor would have to be very comfortable with that.

I prefer starting my female patients on 1) minoxidil, and then 2) spironolactone, at doses up to 200mg /day

before going to finasteride. As with the minoxidil or any medical treatment for hair loss, you must allow a full

6-12 months to see an effect. And I would recommend taking before and after photos to help document your

improvement. If neither of these treatments help, hair transplantation may be the next step.  Best wishes!

Nicole E. Rogers, MD
New Orleans Dermatologist

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