Generic Name: finasteride, Oral tablet

Generic Name:

finasteride, Oral tablet

Proscar

All Brands

  • Proscar
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for finasteride

Oral tablet
1

Finasteride isn’t indicated for use in women or children.

2

Proscar, one brand of finasteride (Proscar), is used to treat enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia).

3

Propecia, one brand of finasteride (Propecia), is used to treat male pattern hair loss.

4

Side effects of this medication may include a decreased amount of ejaculate.

5

Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant shouldn’t handle crushed or broken finasteride tablets. Contact with this drug, even through the skin, by these women could lead to defects in developing male fetuses.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Pregnancy warning

Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant shouldn’t handle crushed or broken finasteride tablets. Contact with this drug, even through the skin, by these women could lead to defects in developing male fetuses.

Prostate cancer

This drug belongs to a class of drugs that could increase your risk of a faster growing and/or irregular form of prostate cancer. Finasteride can cause a decrease in your prostate specific antigen (PSA) level. An increased level of this antigen has been associated with prostate cancer. If your PSA levels increase while on this medication, it may be a sign of prostate cancer.

Drug Features

Finasteride is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet.

One brand of this drug (Proscar) is used to treat the symptoms of enlarged prostate (benign prostate hyperplasia). It may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs. It also can be taken with doxazosin to reduce the risk of progression of symptoms of enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia).

One brand of this drug (Propecia) is used to treat male pattern hair loss.

Why It's Used

This drug is used to treat the symptoms of enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia). It is also used to treat male pattern hair loss.

How It Works

Finasteride works by decreasing the amount of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in your body.

More Details

How It Works

Finasteride works by decreasing the amount of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in your body. DHT normally causes your prostate to grow larger. The decrease in DHT leads to increased hair growth and decreased hair loss of the hair on your head. Hair growth on other parts of the body isn’t affected.

SECTION 2 of 5

finasteride Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with finasteride include:

  • decreased sex drive

  • trouble getting or keeping an erection

  • ejaculation disorder

  • increase in breast size and tenderness

  • skin rash

If these effects are mild, they may disappear within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t disappear, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • swelling of lips, tongue, throat, or face

  • depression

  • lumps in your breasts

  • nipple discharge

Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Finasteride doesn’t cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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finasteride May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Finasteride can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

No clinically important drug interactions have been found in studies. Finasteride hasn’t been shown to affect major proteins associated with drug interactions.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with liver disease

This drug is processed in your liver. If you have liver disease, your body might process this drug more slowly. This could lead to a buildup of this drug in your body, which could increase your risk of side effects. Your doctor might reduce your dose of finasteride.

People with prostate cancer

Finasteride can increase the chance of a faster growing and/or irregular form of prostate cancer. If you have or have had prostate cancer, this drug can make it worse.

Pregnant women

Finasteride is a category X pregnancy drug. Category X drugs should never be used during pregnancy.

Speak with your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Finasteride should never be used during pregnancy.

Women who are breast-feeding

Finasteride should never be used in breastfeeding women. It isn’t known if finasteride passes through breast milk.

For Children

The safety and effectiveness of finasteride in children haven’t been established.

Contact with drug

This drug may be passed through the skin. Pregnant women and women who plan to become pregnant in the near future shouldn’t handle this drug. Doing so could cause defects in their baby.

Allergies

Finasteride can cause a severe allergic reaction, causing symptoms such as:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal.

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How to Take finasteride (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Male pattern hair loss

Brand: Propecia

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 1 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)

1 mg per day

Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

Dosage for people younger than 18 years old hasn’t been established.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia

Brand: Proscar

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 5 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)

5 mg per day

Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

Dosage for people younger than 18 years old hasn’t been established.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Finasteride comes with serious risks if you don't take it as prescribed.

If you don't take it at all

Depending on what you are taking it for, you may not see improvement in your condition. If you’re taking it for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), you may not see an improvement in symptoms of BPH. If you’re taking it for male pattern hair loss, you may not see an improvement in hair loss and hair regrowth.

If you take too much

If you take too much, you’re at a higher risk of developing adverse reactions such as decreased sex drive, trouble getting or keeping an erection, ejaculation disorder, increase in breast size, tenderness, and rash.

What to do if you miss a dose

If you forget to take your dose, do not take an extra tablet. Just take the next tablet as usual.

How to tell I the drug is working

If you are taking it for BPH, you may notice a decreased urge to urinate and improved urine flow. The drug should also decrease the feeling that your bladder isn’t completely emptied after you urinate. If you are taking it for male pattern hair loss, you may notice less hair loss and more hair growth on your head.

Finasteride is a long-term drug treatment.

Important Considerations for Taking Finasteride

Store finasteride at room temperature

Keep it at 59–86°F (15–30ºC).

Keep it away from light and high temperature.

Keep your drugs away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store these drugs away from moisture and damp locations.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines; they can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to produce your pharmacy’s preprinted label clearly identifying the medication. Keep the original pharmacy prescription-labeled box when traveling with your medication.
  • Don’t put this medicine in your glove compartment or leave it in the car, especially when the temperature is hot or freezing.

Clinical Monitoring

Your doctor will monitor your prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels while you’re on finasteride.

Insurance

If you are taking this drug for male pattern hair loss, your insurance company may need a prior authorization before they approve the prescription and pay for finasteride for this indication. Approval is determined on a plan-by-plan basis.

Are There Any Alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

What does the pill look like?

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SECTION 5 of 5

How Much Does finasteride Cost?

Oral tablet
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Lowest price for finasteride

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on July 20, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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