Propecia (Finasteride)

Propecia (Finasteride) prevents the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body. Propecia is used for the treatment of male pattern hair loss on the vertex and the anterior mid-scalp area. Male pattern hair loss is a common condition in which men experience thinning of the hair on the scalp....

Generic Name: finasteride (fih NAH steh ride) Brand Names: Propecia, Proscar



What is Propecia (Finasteride)?

Propecia prevents the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body. Propecia is used for the treatment of male pattern hair loss on the vertex and the anterior mid-scalp area. Male pattern hair loss is a common condition in which men experience thinning of the hair on the scalp. Often, this results in a receding hairline and/or balding on the top of the head. Propecia is for use by men only and should not be used by women or children.

Uses

This medication is used to treat male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) at the crown and in the middle of the scalp. It should be used by adult men only. This medication works by decreasing the amount of a natural body hormone (DHT). Decreasing the amount of DHT leads to increased hair regrowth and slower hair loss. Hair growth on other parts of the body is not affected by finasteride. Women and children should not use this medication. 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.

How to use Propecia

Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start taking finasteride and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions regarding the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist. Take this medication by mouth, with or without food, usually once daily, or as directed by your doctor. If the tablet is crushed or broken, it should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant 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. It may take up to 3 months to notice a benefit. You must continue to take this medication to maintain your hair growth. When you stop taking finasteride, any gain in hair quantity is generally lost within 12 months.

Side Effects

Decreased sexual ability/desire may occur. In some men, this medication can decrease the amount of semen released during sex. This is harmless, but has continued in some men even after stopping treatment. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: lump in the breast, nipple discharge, breast enlargement/tenderness/pain, pain in the testicles, inability to urinate. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

Precautions

Before taking finasteride, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver disease, prostate cancer, infections, urinary problems. Finasteride should not be used in children. The drug can be absorbed through the skin. If the film coating of the tablet has been broken or the tablet crushed, it should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Exposing a developing male infant to finasteride can result in abnormalities of the genitals. This medication should not be used in women, especially during pregnancy or breast-feeding. It may harm an unborn or breast-feeding baby. Consult your doctor if you have any questions about this medication.