Finasteride

Finasteride is a treatment for enlarged prostate and male pattern baldness. Women, especially those who are or may become pregnant should not touch broken or crushed finasteride tablets.

Finasteride Overview

Reviewed: January 3, 2013
Updated: 

Finasteride is a prescription medicine used to treat male pattern baldness and enlarged prostate in men. Finasteride belongs to a group of drugs called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. It works by blocking the body's production of the male hormone that causes the prostate to enlarge and the hormone in the scalp that stops hair growth.

This medication comes in the form of a tablet. It comes in 2 strengths: 1 mg for hair loss treatment and 5 mg for enlarged prostate treatment. It is taken by mouth once a day with or without food. 
 
The most common side effects are trouble getting or keeping an erection, decreased sex drive, and enlarged or painful breasts.

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Finasteride Cautionary Labels

precautionsprecautions

Uses of Finasteride

Finasteride is a prescription medicine used to treat male pattern baldness and enlarged prostate in men.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information. 
 

Finasteride Brand Names

Finasteride may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Finasteride Drug Class

Finasteride is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Finasteride

Finasteride may increase the chance of a more serious form of prostate cancer.

The most common side effects of finasteride include:

  • trouble getting or keeping an erection (impotence)
  • decrease in sex drive
  • decreased volume of ejaculate
  • ejaculation disorders
  • enlarged or painful breast. You should promptly report to your doctor any changes in your breasts such as lumps, pain or nipple discharge.

In addition, the following have been reported in general use with finasteride:

  • allergic reactions, including rash, itching, hives, and swelling of the lips and face
  • rarely, some men may have testicular pain
  • in rare cases, male breast cancer has been reported.

You should discuss side effects with your doctor before taking finasteride and anytime you think you are having a side effect. These are not all the possible side effects with finasteride. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at: 1-800-FDA-1088.

Finasteride Interactions

No finasteride drug interactions have been identified, however, you should tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Not all drug interactions are known or reported and new drug interactions are continually being reported.

Finasteride Precautions

Do Not Take finasteride if you are:

  • a woman who is pregnant or may potentially be pregnant. Finasteride may harm your unborn baby. Do not touch or handle crushed or broken finasteride tablets.
  • allergic to finasteride or any of the ingredients in finasteride tablets.

Important information about finasteride:

  • You should see your doctor regularly while taking finasteride. Follow your doctor's advice about when to have these checkups.
  • Checking for prostate cancer. Your doctor has prescribed finasteride for BPH and not for treatment of prostate cancer — but a man can have BPH and prostate cancer at the same time. Checking for prostate cancer should continue while you take finasteride.
  • About Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA). Your doctor may have done a blood test called PSA for the screening of prostate cancer. Because finasteride decreases PSA levels, you should tell your doctor(s) that you are taking finasteride. Changes in PSA levels will need to be evaluated by your doctor(s). Any increase in follow-up PSA levels from their lowest point may signal the presence of prostate cancer and should be evaluated, even if the test results are still within the normal range. You should also tell your doctor if you have not been taking finasteride as prescribed because this may affect the PSA test results. For more information, talk to your doctor.

Finasteride Food Interactions

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of finasteride there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving finasteride.

Inform MD

Before taking finasteride, tell your healthcare provider if you: have any other medical conditions, including problems with your prostate or liver.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

Finasteride and Pregnancy

A warning about finasteride and pregnancy:

Women who are or may potentially be pregnant must not use finasteride. They should also not handle crushed or broken tablets of finasteride tablets. Finasteride tablets are coated and will prevent contact with the active ingredient during normal handling, provided that the tablets are not broken or crushed.

If a woman who is pregnant with a male baby absorbs the active ingredient in finasteride tablets after oral use or through the skin, it may cause the male baby to be born with abnormalities of the sex organs. If a woman who is pregnant comes into contact with the active ingredient in finasteride tablets, a doctor should be consulted.

Finasteride and Lactation

Finasteride is not approved for use in women.

It is not known whether finasteride is excreted in human milk or if it will harm your nursing baby.

Finasteride Usage

Follow your doctor's instruction.

  • Take one tablet by mouth each day. To avoid forgetting to take finasteride, you can take it at the same time every day.
  • If you forget to take finasteride, do not take an extra tablet. Just take the next tablet as usual.
  • You may take finasteride with or without food.
  • Do not share finasteride with anyone else; it was prescribed only for you.

Finasteride Dosage

The finasteride dosing for male pattern baldness treatment is finasteride 1 mg once daily.

For the treatment of BPH the recommended dose of finasteride is one tablet (5 mg) taken once a day.

Finasteride Overdose

If you take too much finasteride, call your local Poison Control Center or seek emergency medical attention right away.

Other Requirements

  • Store finasteride tablets in a dry place at room temperature.
  • Keep finasteride tablets in the original container and keep the container closed.

Finasteride tablets are coated and will prevent contact with the active ingredient during normal handling, provided that the tablets are not broken or crushed.

Keep finasteride and all medications out of the reach of children.