Finasteride is used for the treatment of an enlarged prostate gland called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH is a common condition as men get older. An enlarged prostate gland may cause uncomfortable urinary symptoms like blocking the flow of urine out of the bladder. The prostate gland is a gland surrounding the neck of the bladder that produces a fluid that becomes part of the semen. Prostate problems are common in men 50 and older. Most can be treated successfully without harming sexual function. The severity of symptoms in people who have BPH varies but symptoms tend to gradually get worse over time. Common signs and symptoms may include:
- Increased frequency of urination at night
- Frequent or urgent need to urinate
- Weak urine stream or a stream that stops and start
- Difficulty starting urination
- Inability to empty the bladder
- Dribbling at the end of urination
These are some less common signs and symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland:
- Inability to urinate
- Urinary tract infections
- Blood in the urine
This medication may also be used for the treatment of male pattern hair loss. About 85% of men will have major hair thinning by the time they are 50. This product blocks the body’s production of a male hormone in the scalp that stops the growth of the hair.
Finasteride is in the class of medications called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. This decreases the amount of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in your body. DHT normally causes your prostate to grow larger. The decrease in DHT helps prevent your prostate from growing larger. This product comes as a tablet that contains Finasteride as an active ingredient. Each tablet has the dosage forms of 1 mg and 5 mg for oral use. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this prescription.
How does Finasteride work?
Finasteride works by blocking the action of an enzyme in the body called 5-alpha reductase. This enzyme is called DHT which is responsible for converting the male hormone testosterone into a more active form. Enlargement of the prostate gland is dependent upon testosterone being converted to DHT within the prostate gland. By blocking 5-alpha reductase, this drug prevents the formation of DHT and this helps shrink the prostate.
The prostate gland is only found in men. It is situated at the top of the urethra, just below the bladder. An enlargement of the prostate causes it to press on the urethra and bladder. It can also cause difficulty passing urine and an increased need to urinate mainly at night. By shrinking the prostate, Finasteride relieves the pressure on the bladder and urethra. Therefore, this allows urine to flow freely through the urethra past the prostate.
How to use Finasteride?
The recommended dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to the treatment. This is to be taken by mouth usually once a day or as directed by your doctor. It may take 6 to 12 months to notice a benefit. You may take each dose with or without a meal. Swallow the tablet as a whole with a full glass of water. Do not break, chew, or crush it. Drink plenty of fluids while having this medication. Doing so may lessen the risk of certain side effects. Your doctor may direct you to start at a lower dose and eventually increase it. Remember to take it at the same time and in the same way each day.
Do not suddenly stop taking this medication without the consent of your doctor. It may cause another complication or may worsen your current condition. For the best benefit from this product, take it regularly.If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose. Let your doctor know if your condition does not improve or if it gets worse.
What are the side effects of Finasteride?
Common side effects:
- Skin rash
- Runny nose
- Feeling like you might pass out
- Swelling or tenderness in your breasts
- Swelling in your hands or feet
- Loss of interest in sex
- Abnormal ejaculation
Call your doctor right away if these occur:
- Breast pain or tenderness
- Breast lumps
- Nipple discharge or any other breast changes
Get emergency medical help if you have any signs of an allergic reaction such as:
- Trouble breathing
- Swelling of throat, lips, tongue, or face
Warnings and Precautions
- Before using Finasteride, tell your doctor if you have any medical history, especially prostate cancer, liver disease, urinary problems, or infections.
- This should not be used in children and women especially during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
- Let your doctor know if you ever had an allergic reaction to Finasteride. This product may contain an inactive ingredient that causes an allergic reaction. Tell as well if you have any allergies.
- If you have any blood tests to measure the level of a prostate-specific antigen in your blood, make sure your doctor knows that you are taking this product.
- Do not donate blood while having this medication or for at least four weeks after you stop taking it.
- This can cause a severe allergic reaction, call your doctor right away if your symptoms such as hives, trouble breathing, or swelling of the throat or tongue.
- 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.
- Do not share this medication with others even if they have the same symptoms as yours.
- You should not use this for the treatment of other conditions without the consent of your doctor.
- Call for medical help and stop taking the drug if there are any signs of an overdose.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages while taking this medication.
- Dosage for people younger than 18 years old has not been established. Call your doctor for instructions before using this drug.
- Keep this medication at room temperature far from heat, moisture, and reach of children.