What is finasteride?

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Generic Name: Finasteride Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Know the basics

What is finasteride used for?

Finasteride is used to shrink an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH) in adult men. It may be used alone or taken in combination with other medications to reduce symptoms of BPH and may also reduce the need for surgery.

Finasteride may improve symptoms of BPH and provide benefits such as decreased urge to urinate, better urine flow with less straining, less of a feeling that the bladder is not completely emptied, and decreased nighttime urination. This medication works by decreasing the amount of a natural body hormone (DHT) that causes growth of the prostate.

Finasteride is not approved for prevention of prostate cancer. It may slightly increase the risk of developing a very serious form of prostate cancer. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks.

Women and children should not use finasteride.

How should I take finasteride?

Take finasteride by mouth, with or without food, usually once a day, or as directed by your doctor.

If the tablet is crushed or broken, it should not be handled by a woman who ispregnant or by a woman who may become pregnant (see also Precautions section).

Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same time each day. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

It may take 6-12 months to notice a benefit.

Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.

How do I store finasteride?

Finasteride is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store finasteride in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of finasteride that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush finasteride down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Know the precautions & warnings

What should I know before using finasteride?

Before taking finasteride,

  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to finasteride, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in finasteride tablets. Ask your pharmacist or check the patient information for a list of the ingredients.
  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver disease or prostate cancer.
  • You should know that finasteride is only for use in men. Women, especially those who are or may become pregnant should not touch broken or crushed finasteride tablets. Touching broken or crushed finasteride tablets may harm the fetus. If a woman who is pregnant or who could become pregnant touches broken or crushed finasteride tablets, she should wash the area with soap and water immediately and call her doctor

Is it safe to take finasteride during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using  finasteride during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking finasteride. Finasteride is pregnancy risk category  X according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Know the side effects

What are the side effects of finasteride?

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: impotence, loss of interest in sex, or trouble having an orgasm; abnormal ejaculation; swelling in your hands or feet; swelling or tenderness in your breasts; dizziness, weakness; feeling like you might pass out; headache; runny nose; or skin rash.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Know the interactions

What drugs may interact with finasteride?

Finasteride may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with finasteride?

Finasteride may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with finasteride?

Finasteride may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially: liver disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.

Understand the dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using finasteride.

What is the dose of finasteride for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia:  5 mg orally once a day

Usual Adult Dose for Androgenetic Alopecia: 1 mg orally once a day. 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)

What is the dose of finasteride for a child?

Finasteride should never be taken by a child.

How is finasteride available?

Finasteride is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

Tablet, Oral: 1 mg, 5 mg

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services (115) or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of finasteride, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017