Generic Name: finasteride (fin-AS-ter-ide)
Brand Name: Propecia
Finasteride is used for:
Treating certain types of male pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) in men.
Finasteride is a steroid reductase inhibitor. It works by reducing the amount of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body. This may block certain types of hair loss in men.
Do NOT use finasteride if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in finasteride
- you are or may be pregnant
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using finasteride:
Some medical conditions may interact with finasteride. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have a narrowing or blockage in the urinary tract, prostate problems (eg, prostate cancer), or trouble urinating
- if you have a history of abnormal liver function tests or liver problems
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with finasteride. However, no specific interactions with finasteride are known at this time.
Ask your health care provider if finasteride may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use finasteride:
Use finasteride as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- An extra patient leaflet is available with finasteride. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
- Take finasteride by mouth with or without food.
- Continue to take finasteride even if you notice improvement of your symptoms. Do not miss any doses.
- Taking finasteride at the same time each day will help you remember to take it.
- If you miss a dose of finasteride, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use finasteride.
Important safety information:
- You may need to take finasteride for 3 months or more before you notice any improvement. Do NOT take more than the recommended dose or use more often than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
- If your condition does not improve, check with your doctor. You may need to discuss other treatment options.
- If you stop taking finasteride, its effects on hair growth will be reversed within 12 months.
- Finasteride may cause decreased sexual desire or ability (eg, decrease in sex drive, problems with ejaculation, difficulty in achieving an erection). If this occurs, it may continue after you stop finasteride. If you develop decreased sexual desire or ability that continues or becomes bothersome, check with your doctor. If this effect continues after you stop finasteride, contact your doctor.
- Decreased fertility has been reported in some men taking finasteride. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
- Finasteride may increase the risk of certain birth defects, including abnormal formation of genitalia in male fetuses. Finasteride is coated to prevent contact with finasteride while handling undamaged tablets. The coating is not effective if the tablets are damaged, broken, or crushed. Women who are pregnant or may be pregnant should avoid contact with damaged, broken, or crushed tablets. If contact occurs, tell your doctor at once.
- Do not donate blood while you take finasteride and for at least 1 month after your last dose of finasteride to prevent exposure through a blood transfusion to a pregnant woman.
- The risk of a certain type of prostate cancer may be increased in patients using a higher dose of finasteride. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
- Rarely, cases of male breast cancer have been reported in patients taking finasteride. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor. Tell your doctor right away if you develop breast changes such as lumps, pain, or nipple discharge.
- Check with your doctor about whether you should use a barrier method of birth control (eg, condoms) if you have sex with a pregnant woman while taking finasteride.
- Finasteride may interfere with certain lab tests, including prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests. Be sure your doctor and lab personnel know you are taking finasteride.
- Finasteride should not be used in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
- PREGNANCY AND BREAST-FEEDING: Finasteride may cause harm to the fetus. It is not known if finasteride is found in breast milk. Finasteride is not approved for use in women.
Possible side effects of finasteride:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Decreased sexual desire or ability.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); breast enlargement, lumps, pain, or tenderness; depression; nipple discharge; testicular pain.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Store finasteride at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep finasteride out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about finasteride, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Finasteride is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take finasteride or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about finasteride. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to finasteride. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using finasteride.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
More finasteride resources
- finasteride Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
- Finasteride Prescribing Information (FDA)
- Finasteride Professional Patient Advice (Wolters Kluwer)
- Finasteride Monograph (AHFS DI)
- Propecia Prescribing Information (FDA)
- Propecia Consumer Overview
- Proscar Prescribing Information (FDA)
- Proscar Consumer Overview