Finasteride is a prescribed drug that can be used orally. It can be available as both in generic and brand-name versions. Brand names include Propecia and Proscar.
Finasteride helps with both male hair loss and an enlarged prostrate. An enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), can create problems for some men. Some may experience the need to urinate more frequently or have trouble urinating. Older men tend to develop this condition. There are medical options to help treat your symptoms, such as finasteride.
We will first be examining what finasteride is and its side effects. Then, we will take a look at another option, dutasteride.
What is Finasteride?
As mentioned previously, finasteride is used to help treat male hair loss as well as enlarged prostate. Depending on the kind of finasteride you are taking, each has its own treatment associated with it. Proscar helps treat the symptoms associated with enlarged prostate. On the other hand, propecia helps with male pattern hair loss.
Finasteride works by decreasing the levels of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone can cause the prostate to grow, which is why the drug is effective in attempting to stop the growth of prostate.
Before taking finasteride, it is important to be aware of the warnings associated with the drug. The following is a list of warnings:
- Children: This drug should not be given to children. It is not prescribed for the use of children, and should be kept away from them.
- Pregnant: Women who are pregnant or are planning on becoming pregnant should completely avoid this drug. Finasteride can be passed through the skin. Coming into contact with the drug can lead to serious defects in developing male fetuses.
- Prostate cancer: This drug can increase the risk of a faster growing form of prostate cancer.
- Allergies: It is important to establish if you have any allergies to your doctor, such as certain kinds of foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. If you have experienced an allergic reaction to this medicine, do not take again and let your health care professional know. An allergic reaction usually involves trouble breathing, your throat or tongue can swell, or your skin can break out in hives. If you are experiencing this, immediately contact your doctor and get to the nearest emergency room or call 911.
- Drug Interactions: Interactions occur when something influences the way a drug should work, which can make the drug stop working correctly. Certain medicines should not be used together. There can be an increased risk of side effects if you take more than one medication at a time. The increased risk of side effects means it is important to let your doctor know of all other medicine you are using.
There are some possible side effects that can occur while taking finasteride. If you believe you are experiencing any side effects, contact your doctor and let them know as soon as possible. Below is a list of possible side effects:
- cold sweats
- faintness or lightheadedness
- decrease in sexual ability or desire
- swollen lips, face, upper body, hands, legs, or feet
- weight gain or loss
- itchy skin
- stuffy or runny nose
- stomach pain
If your side effects are severe and do not disappear after a few days, talk to your doctor. However, if you believe that the side effects feel life-threatening, call 911 immediately.
Your doctor may recommend an alternative drug depending on the state of your condition. There can be other options for you, such as dutasteride. In addition to finasteride, dutasteride is from the class called 5alpha-reductase inhibitors that help treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
It works by stopping the male hormones from increasing the size of the prostate. Both dutasteride and finasteride have about the same level of effectiveness to treat BPH. However, dutasteride can interact with other drugs, such as ritonavir (HIV drugs), amlodipine (some blood pressure and angina drugs), and azithromycin (antibotiocs). It is still important to be aware of possible side effects that can occur from drug interactions while taking more than one drug at a time.
Finasteride can be a great option for you to help treat male hair loss or an enlarged prostate. However, it is important to be aware of possible side effects and warnings associated with this drug. If finasteride does not work for you, there are other options that can help, such as dustasteride. At any time you experience side effects or symptoms, contact your doctor as soon as possible.