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Finasteride is a generic medication which is used to treat male pattern hair loss & BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) approved by the FDA. It is a generic drug and works by reducing dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels in the body, which can prevent hair loss and reduce prostate size. The drug is available in 1mg and 5mg tablet forms, taken orally once daily. Key warnings include potential severe allergic reactions, effects on PSA levels, and risks of prostate cancer. Finasteride is not suitable for women, particularly those who are or may become pregnant, due to the risks of congenital disabilities. Regular monitoring and consultations with healthcare providers are essential when using this medication.

Product Overview

Finasteride is a pharmaceutical agent used to address two primary conditions: androgenetic alopecia (male pattern hair loss) and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), an enlargement of the prostate gland. The medication functions by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that contributes to hair loss and prostate growth. For treating hair loss, the recommended dosage is 1mg daily, whereas for BPH, the dosage is 5mg. Benefits from Finasteride are not immediate and may take several months of consistent use to become evident.

Finasteride is associated with several important safety warnings. It can cause serious allergic reactions, including difficulty breathing, hives and swelling of the tongue or throat. It’s critical for those who have had previous allergic reactions to Finasteride or its components to avoid this medication. Additionally, because Finasteride lowers PSA levels, it may mask signs of prostate cancer, thereby complicating screening results. Men with a history of prostate cancer should consult their healthcare provider about the use of Finasteride.

Women who are or may become pregnant must not handle crushed or broken tablets of Finasteride due to the possibility of absorption through the skin and potential birth defects in male fetuses. The drug is also not recommended for use in breastfeeding women or children. Patients are advised to follow their primary physician’s guidelines closely, including regular check-ups and lab tests to monitor the drug’s effects and adjust the treatment as necessary. Regular medication adherence is crucial for achieving and maintaining the benefits of Finasteride.

Uses of Finasteride

Finasteride is used:

  • To treat male pattern hair loss
  • To treat BPH (benign prostate hyperplasia) also known as enlarged prostate

How to Use Finasteride?


It comes in the form of tablets and has the 2 following strengths:

  • Finasteride 1mg tablets
  • Finasteride 5mg tablets

Recommended Dosage for Different Patients

Dosage for Male Pattern Hair Loss in Adults

  • Standard Dosage: Take one 1 mg tablet by mouth once daily.
  • Comments:
    • It may take at least three months of daily use to notice any benefits. Continuous use is necessary to maintain these benefits.
    • Stopping the medication will reverse its effects within 12 months.
  • Usage: This medication is specifically for treating male pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) in men. It is safe and effective for men aged 18 to 41 years who have mild-to-moderate hair loss on the top of the head & the front middle scalp area.

Dosage for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia in Adults

  • Standard Dosage: Take one 5 mg tablet by mouth once daily.
  • Comments: The dosage remains the same whether taken alone or in combination with other therapies.

[Note: Remember these recommendations may vary depending on person to person. Discuss it with your doctor, and they’ll customize your dosage accordingly.]

How to Take Finasteride?

  • Carefully read the “Patient Information Leaflet” given by your pharmacist before starting Finasteride and with each refill.
  • Consult your pharmacist or primary caregiver if you have any questions.
  • Don’t cut, chew, or crush the tablets.
  • Take Finasteride orally, with or without food, as prescribed by your doctor, usually once a day.
  • Pregnant women or those who may become pregnant shouldn’t handle this medication or breathe the dust from the tablets, as it may be absorbed through the lungs & skin. It may harm an unborn baby, specifically causing abnormal development of male sex organs.
  • Take the medication regularly to achieve the most benefit.
  • Use it at the same time each day for consistency.
  • Do not stop taking Finasteride without first consulting your doctor.
  • It may take 6 to 12 months to notice the benefits of the medication.
  • If you and your doctor decide that Finasteride is effective and safe for you, you will likely be taking this medication over an extended period.
  • Inform your primary caregiver if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.

[Note: Your doctor will decide the right amount for you based on your condition, following guidelines and studies on the drug. They’ll adjust it as needed over time.]

How Does Finasteride Work?

Finasteride operates by reducing the levels of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in your body. DHT is a hormone that typically causes your prostate to enlarge. By lowering DHT levels, Finasteride helps prevent the prostate from growing larger. Additionally, this reduction in DHT contributes to increased hair growth and less hair loss on your scalp. However, it does not affect hair growth in other parts of the body.

Important Safety Information

Finasteride Side Effects

Common side effects of Finasteride may include:

  • Increase in breast size and tenderness
  • Ejaculation disorder
  • Trouble getting or keeping an erection
  • Skin rash
  • Decreased sex drive


Serious side effects of Finasteride may include:

  • Depression
  • Swelling of your tongue, lips, throat, or face
  • Nipple discharge
  • Lumps or pain in your breasts
  • Increased risk of prostate cancer, signs may include:
    • Blood in the semen or urine
    • Frequently needing to urinate, especially at night
    • Painful ejaculation
    • Trouble urinating
    • Burning or painful urination
    • A urine flow that is weak or stops and starts


[Note: Remember, this list may not cover all possible side effects. Always consult with your healthcare giver for medical advice about side effects.]

Finasteride Warnings

  • Prostate Cancer Warning: Finasteride belongs to a group of drugs that could potentially increase your risk of a more aggressive or abnormal type of prostate cancer. It can also lower the levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. PSA is typically monitored because high levels can be linked to prostate cancer. If your PSA levels rise while taking this medication, it could indicate prostate cancer.
  • Allergy Warning: Finasteride can trigger a severe allergic reaction. Watch for symptoms like swelling of your throat or tongue, difficulty breathing, and hives. If you experience any of these, immediately call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Do not take this medication again if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past, as taking it again could be life-threatening.
  • Contact with Drug Warning: Finasteride can be absorbed through the skin. Pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant soon should avoid handling this drug to prevent the risk of birth defects.
  • Liver Disease Warning: Finasteride is metabolized in your liver. If you have liver disease, your body may process this drug more slowly, leading to an accumulation that could heighten the risk of side effects. Your doctor may need to adjust your dosage accordingly.
  • Pregnancy Contact: Women who are pregnant or may get pregnant should avoid touching crushed or broken Finasteride tablets. Finasteride tablets may be absorbed through the skin & may cause harm to male fetuses.
  • Women Who Are Breastfeeding: Finasteride is not recommended for use in breastfeeding women. It is unclear whether Finasteride can pass through breast milk, and this drug is generally not prescribed for women.

Finasteride Precautions

  • Do not share this medication with others.
  • Regular lab and medical tests (like PSA levels or prostate exams) are necessary while taking this medication.
  • Follow your primary caregiver’s instructions for examining your testicles & breasts, and report any lumps immediately.
  • The safety and effectiveness of Finasteride have not been confirmed in children. Therefore, this drug is not prescribed for pediatric use.
  • It should never be taken by a woman or a child.
  • It may be absorbed through the skin and may cause congenital defects if a pregnant woman is exposed to it. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not handle the tablets.
  • Using this drug can increase your risk of developing prostate cancer. Your doctor will conduct tests to ensure there are no other conditions that would prevent you from safely using this medicine.
  • Contact your primary caregiver immediately if you notice any breast lumps, nipple discharge, pain, or other changes. These could be signs of male breast cancer.

Finasteride Contraindications

Finasteride should not be used under the following conditions:

  • Pregnant women and those who might become pregnant.
  • Individuals known to be allergic or sensitive to Finasteride.
  • Men who have or have had prostate cancer.

Finasteride Missed Dose

  • If you miss one dose of Finasteride, take it as soon as you remember. However, if a full day has passed since your missed dose, skip it and continue with your next dose as scheduled.
  • Do not take an extra dose to make up for the one you missed. This could increase your risk of experiencing side effects.
  • To ensure you don’t forget a dose, consider using a medication reminder. This can be setting an alarm or timer on your phone, downloading a reminder app, or using a kitchen timer.

[Note: If you have missed a dose of your medication and are unsure about when to take the next one, immediately consult your doctor or pharmacist.]

Finasteride Overdose

Taking too much Finasteride can increase your risk of negative side effects. These may include:

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Difficulty getting or maintaining an erection
  • Ejaculation disorders
  • Increased breast size or tenderness
  • Rash

If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical advice promptly. If you believe you have taken an excessive amount of this drug, contact your doctor immediately. You can also reach out to the American Association of Poison Control Centers by calling or using their online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, do not wait—call 911 or your local emergency number or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

[Note: If you consumed more than recommended dose, get medical help right away, or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.]

Finasteride Storage

  • Store this drug at a room temperature, away from light and moisture.
  • Don’t store your tablets in the bathroom.
  • Keep your tablets out of reach of pets and children.
  • Don’t pour Finasteride tablets into a drain or flush them down the toilet unless you are specifically instructed by your doctor.
  • Properly dispose of this medication when it is no longer needed or expired.
  • Talk to your local waste disposal company or even pharmacist for guidance on proper disposal.

[Note: Discuss with your healthcare professional about the proper disposal of any unused medicine and any questions you may have regarding its storage.]

Finasteride Interactions

Interactions with drugs may alter the effectiveness of your medications or raise the possibility of adverse side effects. Maintain a record of all the products you use, including over-the-counter and prescription medications as well as herbal products. Share all this information with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or adjust the dosage of any medicines without your doctor’s approval.

This medication might also affect certain laboratory tests, like PSA levels, possibly leading to inaccurate test results. Ensure that laboratory personnel and all your doctors are aware that you are taking this drug.

[Note: This isn’t a complete list, and there could be other drugs that interact with Finasteride. Make sure to tell your doctor any prescription, over-the-counter medicines, and herbal products you’re taking.]

Finasteride Alternatives

[Note: Your doctor will choose what’s best for you. Don’t use any of these alternative medications without consulting your healthcare provider. Taking them by yourself may cause serious side effects.]

Frequently Asked Questions

How to tell if Finasteride is working?

If you are taking Finasteride for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), you might notice a decreased need to urinate and an improvement in the flow of your urine. Additionally, there should be a reduction in the sensation that your bladder isn’t fully emptied after urination. If you are using Finasteride for male pattern hair loss, you may observe reduced hair loss and increased hair growth on your scalp.

How long does Finasteride take to work?

Finasteride starts to work as soon as you take your first dose, but it might not feel effective immediately. You often need to take Finasteride for several months to fully experience its benefits. For treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), you will likely need to continue taking the drug for at least 6 months to determine if it effectively addresses your symptoms. The time it takes to see improvements may vary among individuals. For hair loss treatment, you generally need to use Finasteride for at least 3 months before you start to notice less hair loss and more hair growth, although this timeframe can differ from person to person.

How long does Finasteride stay in your system?

For individuals aged 60 years and younger, Finasteride has a half-life of around 5 to 6 hours. The half-life of a drug is the time it takes for your body to reduce the amount of the initial dose by half. In people who are 70 years and older, the half-life of Finasteride extends to about 8 hours. This means that it takes longer for older individuals to eliminate the drug from their system.

Does Finasteride raise blood pressure?

Finasteride itself does not typically raise blood pressure. However, it can increase your possibility of orthostatic hypotension. It is a condition where your blood pressure drops when you move from lying down to sitting up or standing. This sudden drop in your blood pressure may cause dizziness or, in some cases, fainting. The likelihood of experiencing this side effect may increase if you take Finasteride in conjunction with an alpha blocker, which is another medication used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

Is it better to take Finasteride in the morning or at night?

It doesn’t matter whether you take Finasteride in the morning or at night; what is important is that you take it at the same time each day. This consistency helps maintain stable levels of the medication in your body. You can take Finasteride with or without food. When taking your dose, swallow the tablet whole with a glass of water, ensuring you do not crush or break it.

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