Finasteride is a medication that is used to treat erectile dysfunction or male pattern baldness. (Learn More) Like all medications, the drug has some potential side effects, some of which can be serious. (Learn More)
If purchasing prescription medications online, it’s important to be aware of potential issues, such as counterfeit medications. (Learn More) There are ways to protect yourself from illegitimate online sources of prescription drugs. (Learn More)
You can purchase finasteride online, and you can do so safely if you know what to look out for. (Learn More) Stay away from sites that offer to write you a prescription online after you fill out a questionnaire. Finasteride requires a valid prescription from a doctor.
In addition, make sure to only purchase it from valid, verified sources. (Learn More)
Finasteride is used to address certain issues that occur in men.
- Under the brand name Proscar, finasteride is used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH (enlargement of the prostate gland). It may be used alone or with the medication Cardura (doxazosin).
- Under the brand name Propecia, it can be used to treat male pattern baldness in men. It is not used to treat hair loss in women or children.
The medication inhibits the functioning of an enzyme named 5–alpha reductase, which lowers the production of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DTH).
Side Effects and Potential Concerns
Using this medication may result in some side effects.
- Difficulty maintaining or getting an erection
- Decreased libido
- Pain in the genital area
- Problems with ejaculation
- Potential allergic reactions that can be serious
- An increased potential to develop prostate cancer
- Interactions with other medications
The Problem of Counterfeit Prescription Medications
A significant safety concern is the proliferation of counterfeit medications sold online. If you buy medications online, make sure you are buying them from a legitimate source.
You run the risk of getting a medication that does not contain the amount or dose of the active ingredient that you need, that contains none of the active ingredient, or that even contains potentially dangerous substances.
If you purchase a prescription medication from an online source without a prescription for the medication, you won’t have the appropriate support if any issues develop. Even if the online site claims to have a licensed physician available, you will not get the same type of care you would get from your own family physician.
Telemedicine is a growing field, but there are still some concerns regarding how it is practiced. Physicians providing prescription medications online should not write prescriptions for medications that require you to be evaluated in person.
While finasteride is not a controlled substance and does not carry the risk of many potentially serious side effects, it’s still a good idea to be evaluated in person before getting a prescription for this drug.
As reported in an ABC News story, samples of Propecia purchased from an online pharmacy located in India were counterfeit. Follow some specific steps to protect yourself when attempting to buy any prescription medication online.
You can protect yourself from being scammed into buying medications from unreliable sources online by recognizing counterfeit pharmacies. There are various signs of a counterfeit pharmacy.
- They are willing to sell you a prescription medication without proof that you have a valid prescription for the drug.
- They are located outside the United States and are not licensed in the state in which they claim to practice.
- They do not have a pharmacist who is licensed in the U.S. available to consult with you.
- They send you unsolicited emails, advertising cheap medications.
- They offer extremely low prices, almost too low to be true.
- They claim to ship medications worldwide.
What You Should Look For
To ensure you are getting medication from a valid source, only purchase medications from pharmacies that:
- Require a valid prescription for the medication from a doctor.
- Have a pharmacist available to consult with you who is licensed in the United States.
- Are located in the United States with a valid street address.
- Are certified with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP, will have a VIPPS seal).
Steps to Purchase Finasteride Online
If you wish to purchase finasteride online, follow these steps:
- Go to your primary care physician and request a prescription for finasteride. Your physician will perform an evaluation and write you a prescription if you qualify for the medication.
- Find a valid online pharmacy. You can verify it via the FDA site.
- Purchase the medication with a secured credit card or debit card. You can also use a secured source like PayPal.
- Only take the medication as directed by your physician.
Will My Insurance Pay?
The laws regarding telemedicine vary from state to state. Some states require private insurance companies to pay for specific types of telemedicine services, whereas others do not. Some private insurance companies may cover telemedicine services and even evaluations for certain types of prescription medications.
If you prefer to get an online prescription for finasteride, check with your insurance company to see if you can get coverage for a prescription that is written by a telemedicine doctor. Also, check your state laws to confirm the stipulations regarding the practice of telemedicine in your state.
Finasteride. (January 2018). U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Exposing the Dangers of Illegal Online Pharmacies. (November 2011). Pharmacy Times.
Dihydrotestosterone. (February 2018). You and Your Hormones.
How to Buy Medication Safely From an Online Pharmacy. (August 2017). Food and Drug Administration.
ABC News Investigation Into Counterfeit Prescription Drug Operations in the US. (May 2015). ABC News.
Know Your Online Pharmacy. August 2017). Food and Drug Administration.
Tools to Stay Ahead of the Curve. (2019). National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
Telemedicine Policies. Federation of State Medical Boards.