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All about: finasteride

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

What is finasteride?

Finasteride prevents the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body. DHT is involved in the development of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and hair loss.

Finasteride is used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate). Finasteride is also used to reduce hair loss due to male pattern baldness.

Finasteride may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about finasteride?

Women who are or who may become pregnant must not handle crushed or broken finasteride tablets. The medication could be absorbed through the skin. Finasteride is known to cause birth defects in a developing male baby. Exposure to whole tablets should be avoided whenever possible, however exposure to whole tablets is not expected to be harmful as long as the tablets are not swallowed.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking finasteride?

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have liver disease. You may not be able to take finasteride, or you may need a lower dose or special monitoring during treatment. Finasteride is intended for use by men only. Finasteride is not indicated for use by women. Do not take or handle this medication if you are pregnant or are could become pregnant during treatment. Finasteride is in the FDA pregnancy category X. This means that it is known to cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Women who are or who may become pregnant must not handle crushed or broken finasteride tablets. The medication could be absorbed through the skin. Finasteride is known to cause birth defects in a developing male baby. Exposure to whole tablets should be avoided whenever possible, however exposure to whole tablets is not expected to be harmful as long as the tablets are not swallowed. It is not known whether finasteride passes into breast milk. Finasteride is not intended for use by women. Do not take this medication if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take finasteride?

Take finasteride exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these instructions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Take each dose with a full glass of water.

Finasteride can be taken with or without food.

It is important to take finasteride regularly to get the most benefit.

Your doctor may perform blood tests or other forms of monitoring during treatment with finasteride. One of the tests that may be performed is called PSA (prostate-specific antigen). This test is used to help detect prostate cancer. Finasteride will reduce the amount of PSA measured in the blood. Your doctor is aware of this effect and can still use PSA to help detect prostate cancer.

Store this medication at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed and take only the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose unless otherwise directed.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if an overdose is suspected.

Symptoms of a finasteride overdose are not known.

What should I avoid while taking finasteride?

There are no restrictions on food, beverages, or activities during treatment with finasteride unless your doctor directs otherwise.

Finasteride side effects

Stop taking finasteride and seek emergency medical attention if you experience an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives).

Other, less serious side effects have been reported but usually resolve with continued treatment. Continue to take finasteride and notify your doctor if you experience

  • decreased libido (sex drive);

  • decreased volume of ejaculate;

  • impotence (trouble getting or keeping an erection); or

  • breast tenderness or enlargement.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect finasteride?

There are no known interactions between finasteride and other medications. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about finasteride written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Finasteride is available with a prescription under the brand names Proscar and Propecia. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Proscar5 mg-blue, apple-shaped, film-coated tablets

  • Propecia 1 mg-tan, eight-sided, film-coated tablets

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.03. Revision Date: 8/2/04 12:27:22 PM.

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