What is Finasteride?
Finasteride blocks the actions of the male sex hormone testosterone. Testosterone stimulates the prostate, a gland located at the base of a man’s bladder, to grow. An enlarged prostate can compress the urethra and cause urinary problems. Finasteride works by shrinking the prostate, allowing urine to flow freely past the prostate to relieve urinary symptoms.
What is Finasteride used for?
Finasteride is used to relieve the symptoms of a condition in which the prostate gland is enlarged, known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The growth in itself is harmless, but it may lead to urinary symptoms such as:
- Increased need to urinate, also in the night;
- Involuntary discharge of urine (incontinence);
- Passing small amounts of urine and dribbling of urine after urination;
- An interrupted urinary stream or weak urinary stream.
In many men, the prostate grows with increasing age, leading to the above symptoms. Finasteride helps shrink the prostate, which relieves pressure on the urethra and allows urine to flow freely past the prostate gland.
How to use Finasteride
Finasteride tablets should be taken at the same time each day with some liquid. Finasteride is available in convenient calendar packs marked with the days of the week to avoid confusion. It may take two to six months for the benefits of this medicine to appear. Keep taking it even if your symptoms do not seem to be improving. If your symptoms have not improved after several months, contact your doctor. If you have forgotten to take a dose of Finasteride, you may take the missed dose unless it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Never take a double dose to make up for the forgotten one.
Unless otherwise prescribed by the doctor, the usual dose in adult men is:
- one 5-mg tablet once daily.
Read the package leaflet before use.
Treatment with Finasteride may cause side effects. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine.
- Sexual dysfunction (e.g. decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction);
- Tenderness of the testicles;
- Breast tenderness or swelling.
Consult a doctor if these or other side effects are severe. For a complete list of possible side effects, see the package leaflet.
When not to use Finasteride
Finasteride is not suitable for everyone and should not be used if:
- You are allergic to finasteride or any other ingredient in this medicine;
- You are female;
- You are trying for a baby. This is because finasteride passes into semen and could harm the development of an unborn child.
This medicine could cause severe abnormalities in a developing baby. Therefore, women who are pregnant or who could get pregnant must not handle crushed or broken tablets as this medicine is absorbed through the skin. It is also important to use a condom during sex to avoid that the active ingredient passes into semen.
Finasteride may interact with other medicines. The doctor will have a list of medicines that you should avoid mixing it with. It is therefore important to tell the doctor what other medicines you are taking when you order. For a complete list of contraindications, interactions and warnings, see the package leaflet.
Finasteride is not intended for women. Pregnant women or women who could get pregnant should not handle or come into contact with this medicine.
Finasteride does not interact with alcohol or affect your ability to drive safely.