Finasteride, sold under the brand names Proscar and Propecia among others, is a medication used for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and male pattern baldness (MPB). Treatment provides about 30% improvement in hair loss after six months of treatment, and effectiveness only persists as long as the drug is taken.
Propecia is used for:
Treating certain types of male pattern hair loss (androgenic alopecia) in men. Propecia 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 Propecia if:
• you are allergic to any ingredient in Propecia
• you are pregnant or may become pregnant
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using Propecia:
Some medical conditions may interact with Propecia. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
• if you are 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 cancer, or trouble urinating
• if you have a history of abnormal liver function tests or liver problems.
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Propecia. However, no specific interactions with Propecia are known at this time. Ask your health care provider if Propecia 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 Propecia:
Use Propecia as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
• An extra patient leaflet is available with Propecia. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information
• Take Propecia by mouth with or without food.
• Continue to take Propecia even if you notice improvement of your symptoms. Do not miss any doses.
• Taking Propecia at the same time each day will help your remember to take it.
• If you miss a dose of Propecia, 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 Propecia.
Important safety information:
• You may need to take Propecia for up to 3 months before you notice any improvement.
• If your symptoms do not improve within 12 months, check with your doctor. You may need to discuss other treatment options.
• Propecia may cause decreased sexual desire. These effects usually decrease in men who continue to take Propecia. If they continue, check with your doctor.
• Propecia may increase the risk of certain birth defects, including abnormal formation of genitalia in male fetuses. Propecia 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.
• Propecia may interfere with certain lab tests, including prostate-specific antigen tests. Be sure your doctor and lab personnel know you are taking Propecia.
• Propecia should not be used in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
• Propecia may cause harm to the fetus. It is not known if Propecia is found in breast milk. Propecia is not approved for use in women.
Possible side effects of Propecia:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. No COMMON side effects have been reported with Propecia. Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
• 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; nipple discharge; testicular pain.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur.
Proper storage of Propecia:
Store Propecia 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 Propecia out of the reach of children and away from pets.