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finasteride (for BPH)
How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Finasteride belongs to a group of medications known as 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. Finasteride is used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as enlarged prostate. Finasteride can be used alone or in combination with another medication called doxazosin (an alpha blocker). These medications may be taken together to reduce the progress of your BPH symptoms. This medication improves the symptoms associated with BPH, such as decreased urine flow, difficulty urinating, getting up to urinate during the night, or hesitation at the start of urination. It may take 6 months or more to see the full effects of finasteride. Finasteride reduces the likelihood of prostate surgery for men with BPH. Finasteride must be taken on a regular basis to be effective. If the medication is stopped, the prostate will start to grow again.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each blue, apple-shaped, film-coated tablet with the code "MSD 72" on one side and "PROSCAR" on the other contains 5 mg of finasteride. Nonmedicinal ingredients: cellulose and cellulose derivatives, coloring agents (FD&C Blue No. 2 Aluminum Lake, titanium dioxide, and yellow ferric oxide), corn starch, docusate sodium, lactose, magnesium stearate, sodium starch glycolate, and talc.
How should I use this medication?
The recommended adult dose of finasteride is 5 mg once daily, taken with or without food.
Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature. Protect it from light and keep it out of the reach of children. Women who are or may become pregnant should not handle crushed or broken tablets of this medication.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Finasteride (for BPH) should not be taken by anyone who:
- is allergic to finasteride or to any of the ingredients of the medication
- is a child
- is a woman
What side effects are possible with this medication?
- decreased interest in sex
- decreased volume of ejaculate (i.e., semen)
- erectile dysfunction (impotence)
- testicular pain
Although most of these side effects listed below don’t happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- blood in ejaculate
- breast enlargement, tenderness, lumps, or nipple discharge
- continued ejaculation problems after stopping the medication
- decreased interest in sexual activity continuing after stopping the medication
- decreased sexual ability continuing after stopping the medication
- infertility or poor quality of semen
- muscle pain or weakness
- signs of depression (e.g., poor concentration, changes in weight, changes in sleep, decreased interest in activities, thoughts of suicide)
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- signs of an allergic reaction (e.g., skin rash, itchiness, hives, swelling of the lips or tongue)
- thoughts of suicide or self harm
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Breast cancer: Male breast cancer has been reported in a small number of people taking finasteride. It is not known with certainty whether finasteride can cause breast cancer, but this possibility cannot be ruled out at this time. If you notice any changes in your breasts, such as breast enlargement, pain, tenderness, lumps, or nipple discharge, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Laboratory tests: This medication may decrease PSA levels (a substance normally produced and used to evaluate prostate cancer) and should be taken into account when evaluating PSA levels.
Liver function: Liver disease or reduced liver function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have liver problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Long-term use: The effects of using this medication for the long term (i.e., more than 10 years) have not been established.
Prostate cancer: Finasteride (for BPH) may be linked with an increased risk of developing a rare type of cancer called high-grade prostate cancer. The risk of this cancer while taking this medication is still considered very small. Note that finasteride (for BPH) is not approved to treat prostate cancer. If you have any concerns about this medication, talk to your health care provider.
Surgery: People who are candidates for immediate prostate surgery should not take finasteride.
Pregnancy and birth defects: When absorbed into the system of a pregnant woman, finasteride may cause abnormalities of the genitals in a male baby. Crushed or broken finasteride tablets should not be handled by women who are or may become pregnant because finasteride may be absorbed into their system through the skin.
Children: Finasteride should not be used by children.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. In many cases, interactions are intended or are managed by close monitoring. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2022. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/drug/getdrug/Proscar