Most men try to shore up their confidence by getting their hair back. One popular method? Propecia.
Studies show it’s effective. But can you afford it?
If you pay the full Propecia cost out-of-pocket, you’re looking at a heftier bill than someone whose medication is covered by insurance. But, you may qualify for coupons or other discounts.
So, how much will Propecia cost you? In this article, we answer that question, plus a few others. In this article, we talk about the following:
Table of contents
What is Propecia?
Propecia is the brand name of the generic drug finasteride. It is a specific enzyme inhibitor.
Propecia blocks the production of steroid Type II 5α-reductase. Steroid Type II 5α-reductase is an enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT.
How Does DHT Affect Baldness?
DHT is a hormone that everyone naturally produces. A healthy amount of DHT helps maintain muscle mass and sexual health.
But, an overproduction of DHT can interfere with hair growth. When you have too much DHT, it begins to attach to hair follicles on your scalp and shrink them.
This miniaturization shortens a hair’s growth period. As a result, hair growing from those follicles becomes thinner, shorter, and more prone to falling out.
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Eventually, the follicle becomes too small, and the hair gets choked off entirely. This leads to hair loss.
An overproduction of DHT also harms your body in other ways. It disrupts the skin’s healing process after an injury. It can also increase your risk of prostate cancer or coronary heart disease.
How Does Propecia Work?
Propecia works by reducing the amount of DHT in your scalp. In one study, a 5mg dose of finasteride decreased the DHT levels in the subject’s scalps by 69.4% on average.
Propecia can also reduce the DHT levels in the prostate by 90%. This is useful for people at increased risk of developing prostate cancer.
Steroid Type II 5α-reductase is an enzyme that is primarily located in specific cells and tissues. These include:
- The outer root sheaths of hair follicles
- The epididymis
- The vas deferens
- The seminal vesicles
- The prostate
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In these locations, the enzyme risks overproducing DHT. It can convert testosterone to DHT at a higher rate than elsewhere in the body.
By blocking up to 90% of the effects of this enzyme, Propecia prevents the overproduction of DHT in these tissues and cells.
Before using Propecia, talk to a doctor. Make sure you’re aware of the potential risks and side effects of the medication.
Propecia is not a good choice for you if you already struggle with symptoms of low DHT, like reduced libido.
What Types of Propecia are Available?
Propecia is the brand-name version of finasteride. It’s manufactured by Merck Pharmaceuticals. Another brand-name version of finasteride is Proscar.
In 2018, the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology published a review of finasteride doses and formats. Finasteride comes in the following forms:
- Spray (topical)
- Cream, gel, or solution (topical)
- Pill (oral)
- Injection (subcutaneous)
Some spray products combine finasteride and minoxidil. Minoxidil increases hair growth through a different mechanism.
Propecia also comes in different dosages. Dosage options include:
- 1mg pill
- 5mg pill
- 100μL cream
- 200μL cream
- 1% gel
- 2% solution
- 0.25% gel
- 0.1% solution with 3% minoxidil
Propecia injections use finasteride-loaded microspheres. The microspheres disperse finasteride in a 20 ml dichloromethane polymer sphere at a concentration of 0.25%.
In the first study of finasteride injections, a single injection dose cultivated similar hair-growth results as daily oral finasteride taken for eight weeks.
Currently, oral and topical finasteride options are the most accessible types in Canada.
Read more: Male Pattern Baldness: What Propecia Is And How To Use It
How Much Does Propecia Cost?
So, how much does Propecia cost in Canada? Propecia’s cost in Canada varies.
The drug and its generic variants have different prices depending on the dose and format. Propecia 1mg tablets often cost more than their 5mg counterparts.
5mg doses are frequently cheaper than 1mg doses based on the Alberta College of Family Physicians.
Read more: Is Mixing Propecia And Alcohol A Bad Idea? A Closer Look
In part, this is because regulators have approved 5mg doses to treat prostate cancer. 1mg doses are approved only to treat hair loss.
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Take your doctor’s direction on Propecia dosage. Your doctor has all the info about your physical health and can make the best decision for you.
You can explore the rest of the Alberta Blue Cross drug price list here.
Topical and injected finasteride options are not available on price lists. These versions of Propecia have not yet been approved by Health Canada or the FDA.
If you are interested in purchasing topical finasteride or Propecia sprays, talk to a clinical consultant. Or, consider other topical medications to stimulate hair growth.
Does Insurance Pay for Propecia?
If the listed price seems high, it’s reasonable to wonder: does insurance pay for Propecia in Canada?
If you have insurance, you probably won’t have to pay the full finasteride or Propecia price. Insurance usually covers some percentage of the cost.
Alberta Blue Cross covers prescribed oral finasteride, the generic version of Propecia. Indian Affairs also covers Propecia, but you’ll need to get special authorization first.
Special authorization means IA only covers a drug for patients who meet specific criteria.
Propecia is not available over the counter. Insurance does not cover topical finasteride or Propecia injections.
How to Reduce the Long-Term Cost of Propecia?
One of the best ways to reduce the long-term cost of Propecia is to swap it out. The generic version of Propecia, finasteride, has the same active ingredient. Yet, it’s only a fraction of the cost.
You can also look for manufacturers’ coupons.
Manufacturers’ coupons can net you extreme savings on drugs.
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Some coupons are solely valid at specific pharmacies. For example, if you see that at CVS, Propecia costs half of what it does elsewhere, it’s because CVS negotiated a deal with the manufacturers.
Others are valid anywhere drugs are sold.
Finally, people often save money by using a mail-order pharmacy. Mail-order pharmacies save money because they don’t bear the expenses of running a brick-and-mortar location. Then, they can pass the savings onto you.
Propecia cost varies by dosage. You can get it for less if you purchase the generic version, finasteride.
Topical creams, sprays, and injections exist, but the Health Canada and the FDA have yet to give them the green light. While these innovations are promising, oral tablets are still the most available option.