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Finasteride (Hair Growth) - Oral

Pronunciation: fin-AST-er-ide

Common Brand Name(s): Propecia

Important: How To Use This Information

This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.

Uses

This medication is used to treat male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) at the crown and in the middle of the scalp. It should be used by adult men only.

This medication works by decreasing the amount of a natural body hormone (DHT). Decreasing the amount of DHT leads to increased hair regrowth and slower hair loss. Hair growth on other parts of the body is not affected by finasteride.

Women and children should not use this medication.

Finasteride is not approved for prevention of prostate cancer. It may slightly increase the risk of developing a very serious form of prostate cancer. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks.

How To Use

Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start taking finasteride and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions regarding the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Take this medication by mouth, with or without food, usually once daily, or as directed by your doctor.

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 (see also Precautions section).

Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same time each day. It may take up to 3 months to notice a benefit.

You must continue to take this medication to maintain your hair growth. When you stop taking finasteride, any gain in hair quantity is generally lost within 12 months.

Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.

Side Effects

Decreased sexual ability/desire may occur. In some men, this medication can decrease the amount of semen released during sex. This is harmless, but has continued in some men even after stopping treatment. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:

  • lump in the breast
  • nipple discharge
  • breast enlargement/tenderness/pain
  • pain in the testicles
  • inability to urinate

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:

  • rash
  • itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
  • severe dizziness
  • trouble breathing

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Precautions

Before taking finasteride, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:

  • liver disease
  • prostate cancer
  • infections
  • urinary problems

The drug can be absorbed through the skin. If the film coating of the tablet has been broken or the tablet crushed, it should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Exposing a developing male infant to finasteride can result in abnormalities of the genitals.

This medication should not be used in women, especially during pregnancy or breast-feeding. It may harm an unborn or breast-feeding baby. Consult your doctor if you have any questions about this medication.

Drug Interactions

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

This medication can affect the results of the blood test used to detect prostate cancer (prostatic-specific antigen or PSA levels). If you have a PSA test done, make sure laboratory personnel and your doctors know you use this drug.

Overdose

If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Alberta residents can call PADIS (Poison and Drug Information Service) 24 hours a day at 1-800-332-1414. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.

Notes

Do not share this drug with others.

Follow your doctor's instructions for examining your breasts and testicles, and report any lumps right away.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.

If you have questions about missing a dose or you don't have more medication, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Storage

Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.

Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

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