Generic Name: finasteride (fih NAH steh ride)Brand Names: Propecia, Proscar
What is finasteride?
Finasteride prevents the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body. DHT is involved in the development of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
Finasteride is used to treat male pattern hair loss in men. It is also used to treat symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men with an enlarged prostate.
Finasteride may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about finasteride?
Finasteride should never be taken by a woman or a child. Finasteride can be absorbed through the skin, and women or children should not be permitted to handle finasteride tablets. Before taking finasteride, tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to this medication, or to a similar medicine called dutasteride (Avodart). Although finasteride is not for use by women, this medication can cause birth defects if a woman is exposed to it during pregnancy. Finasteride tablets should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or who may become pregnant. If a woman accidentally comes into contact with this medication from a broken or crushed tablet, wash the area with soap and water right away. Call your doctor at once if you notice any breast lumps, pain, nipple discharge, or other breast changes. These may be signs of male breast cancer.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking finasteride?
Finasteride should never be taken by a woman or a child. Finasteride can be absorbed through the skin, and women or children should not be permitted to handle finasteride tablets. Before taking finasteride, tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to this medication, or to a similar medicine called dutasteride (Avodart). Also tell your doctor if you have:
liver disease, or abnormal liver enzyme tests;
a bladder muscle disorder;
stricture of your urethra; or
if you are unable to urinate.
Although finasteride is not for use by women, this medication can cause birth defects if a woman is exposed to it during pregnancy. Finasteride tablets should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or who may become pregnant. If a woman accidentally comes into contact with this medication from a broken or crushed tablet, wash the area with soap and water right away.
How should I take finasteride?
Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Take this medicine with a full glass of water.
Finasteride can be taken with or without food.
To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your doctor will also test your prostate specific antigen (PSA) to check for prostate cancer. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.
It is important to use finasteride regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
Store this medication at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
See also: Finasteride dosage in more detail
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. An overdose of finasteride is not expected to produce life-threatening symptoms.
What should I avoid while taking finasteride?
Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity while you are using finasteride.
Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.
Finasteride side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you notice any breast lumps, pain, nipple discharge, or other breast changes. These may be signs of male breast cancer.
Less serious side effects may include:
feeling like you might pass out;
swelling in your hands or feet;
pain in the testicles;
impotence, loss of interest in sex, or trouble having an orgasm;
swelling or tenderness in your breasts;
runny nose; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Finasteride Dosing Information
Usual Adult Dose for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia:
5 mg orally once a day.Patients should be evaluated for efficacy after 6 to 12 months. If after this time there is no improvement, finasteride should be discontinued. Doses greater than 5 mg/day do not result in increased dihydrotestosterone suppression and should not be used.Several long-term studies (up to ten years) have concluded that finasteride leads to durable improvement in urinary tract symptoms, flow rate, and prostate volume.
Usual Adult Dose for Androgenetic Alopecia:
For the treatment of male pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) in men only . (Safety and efficacy have been demonstrated in men between 18 to 41 years of age with mild to moderate hair loss of the vertex and anterior mid-scalp area.):Recommended Dosage: 1 mg once a day. In general, daily use for three months or more is necessary before benefit is observed. Continued use is recommended to sustain benefit. Withdrawal of treatment leads to reversal of effect within 12 months.
What other drugs will affect finasteride?
There may be other drugs that can interact with finasteride. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about finasteride.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
- Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.07. Revision Date: 01/13/2010 1:57:28 PM.
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