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Finasteride is used to shrink an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH) in adult men. It may be used alone or taken in combination with other medications to reduce symptoms of BPH and may also reduce the need for surgery.
Finasteride may improve symptoms of BPH and provide benefits such as decreased urge to urinate, better urine flow with less straining, less of a feeling that the bladder is not completely emptied, and decreased nighttime urination. This medication works by decreasing the amount of a natural body hormone (DHT) that causes growth of the prostate.
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.
Women and children should not use this medication.
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 a day, 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. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
It may take 6-12 months to notice a benefit.
Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
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. Finasteride may also increase hair growth. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: 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 unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
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.
Finasteride should not be used in children.
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.
Finasteride 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.
Store US product at room temperature below 86 degrees F (30 degrees C) away from light and moisture in a tightly closed container.
Store Canadian product at room temperature between 59 to 86 degrees F (15 to 30 degrees C) away from light and moisture in a tightly closed container.
Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines 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 for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Your healthcare professionals (e.g., doctor or pharmacist) may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for it. Do not start, stop or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use.
This medication can affect the results of the blood test used to detect prostate cancer (prostatic-specific antigen or PSA levels). Make sure laboratory personnel and your doctors know you use this drug.
This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
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. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
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 and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Do not share this medication with others.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., prostate exams, PSA levels) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. You should have a complete physical examination. Follow your doctor's instructions for examining your breasts and testicles, and report any lumps right away.
Although early improvement is often seen, at least 6 to 12 months of therapy may be necessary in some patients to assess whether or not a benefit has occurred. Therefore, it is important to keep regular doctor appointments and get blood tests as scheduled to make sure this medication is working.
Many men are born with the condition this drug mimics (prostate glands that are smaller than usual) and lead normal lives with normal sex drives.