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Propecia (Finasteride) is used alone or in combination with another medication (doxazosin [Cardura]) to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH, enlargement of the prostate gland). Finasteride is used to treat symptoms of BPH such as frequent and difficult urination and may reduce the chance of acute urinary retention (sudden inability to urinate). It also may decrease the chance that prostate surgery will be needed. Finasteride (Propecia) is also used to treat male pattern hair loss (gradual thinning of the hair on the scalp, leading to a receding hairline or balding on the top of the head in men.) Finasteride (Propecia) has not been shown to treat thinning hair at the temples and is not used to treat hair loss in women or children. Finasteride is in a class of medications called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. Finasteride treats BPH by blocking the body's production of a male hormone that causes the prostate to enlarge. Finasteride treats male pattern hair loss by blocking the body's production of a male hormone in the scalp that stops hair growth. Finasteride is the generic alternative to Propecia and it is available for purchase.
Finasteride comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with or without food. Take finasteride at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take finasteride exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. If you are taking finasteride to treat BPH, you should know that finasteride may control your condition, but will not cure it. It may take at least 6 months before your symptoms improve. Continue to take finasteride even if you feel well. Do not stop taking finasteride without talking to your doctor. If you are taking finasteride to treat male pattern hair loss, it may take at least 3 months before you see any improvement because hair loss and growth happen slowly over time. However, you should expect to see improvement during the first 12 months of your treatment. If you have taken finasteride for 12 months and have not noticed any improvement, further treatment probably will not help. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue your treatment. Finasteride will only slow hair loss while you are taking the medication. Continue to take finasteride even if you have already noticed an improvement. Do not stop taking finasteride without talking to your doctor. You will probably lose any hair that grew back while you were taking finasteride during the first 12 months after you stop taking the medication. Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
Finasteride may cause side effects including:
Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away.
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
Finasteride may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication. Taking finasteride may increase the risk that you will develop high-grade prostate cancer (a type of prostate cancer that spreads and grows more quickly than other types of prostate cancer). Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking finasteride.
Q: Why is Propecia prescribed?
A: Propecia is used for the treatment of male pattern hair loss on the vertex and the anterior mid-scalp area.
Q: Does Propecia have a generic alternative?
A: Finasteride (Generic) is available for purchase at a lower price than the brand name.
Q: How long until I see the effects of Propecia?
A: Given that you follow the directions precisely, one should start seeing results by month three or four.
Q: Is this medication safe for pregnant women?
A: Touching broken or crushed finasteride tablets may harm the fetus. If a woman who is pregnant or who could become pregnant touches broken or crushed finasteride tablets, she should wash the area with soap and water immediately and call her doctor.
Q: What if I miss a dose of Propecia?
A: Skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Q: How should I store this medication?
A: Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).