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- What is finasteride (Proscar)? How does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What are the uses for finasteride?
- What are the side effects of finasteride?
- What is the dosage for finasteride?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with finasteride?
- Is finasteride safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about finasteride?
What is finasteride (Proscar)? How does it work (mechanism of action)?
The prostate gland is located around the tube which empties urine from the bladder (urethra). As the prostate gland enlarges, usually after 50 years of age, it can obstruct or partially block the urine flow. This leads to symptoms which include dribbling of urine, narrow stream, problems starting urine flow, interruption while urinating, and a feeling of incomplete emptying. Other symptoms include wetting and staining of clothes, urinary burning, and urgency.
Prostate gland enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH), is directly dependent on DHT (a hormone converted from the male hormone testosterone). Finasteride inhibits the enzyme necessary for the conversion of testosterone to DHT in the prostate. Therefore, administration of finasteride lowers blood and tissue DHT levels and helps reduce the size of the prostate gland.
Although reductions in the size of the prostate gland can occur in virtually all the patients who take finasteride, only 50% will experience improvement in the symptoms of BPH. Patients generally respond to finasteride in several weeks, but it often takes 6 months for the patient to receive the full effect of the drug.
What are the uses for finasteride?
Finasteride is prescribed for the treatment of enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH) under the brand name "Proscar." Finasteride also is prescribed to treat male pattern baldness in androgenetic alopecia in males only, under the brand name Propecia.
What are the side effects of finasteride?
Side effects are rare but can include impotence and decreased sex drive. Finasteride should not be used by women, children, or male partners of women trying to become pregnant. Finasteride should not be used until a thorough prostate examination has been done to exclude cancer, stricture, or infection in the gland. Rarely, cases of male breast cancer have been reported.
What is the dosage for finasteride?
Finasteride is metabolized mainly by the liver, and caution should be used in patients with liver dysfunction. Finasteride may be taken with or without food.
Which drugs or supplements interact with finasteride?
Drug interactions are generally not a problem.
Is finasteride safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Finasteride causes abnormal development of the sexual organs of the male fetus. Therefore, women who are pregnant or are likely to be pregnant should not handle crushed or broken finasteride tablets in order to prevent absorption through the skin.
Finasteride is not prescribed for women.
What else should I know about finasteride?
What preparations of finasteride are available?
How should I keep finasteride stored?
Finasteride should be stored at room temperature in a tight, light resistant container.
Finasteride is available in generic form, but you must have a prescription from your doctor or other health-care professional to obtain the drug.
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Finasteride (Proscar) is a drug prescribed for the treatment of prostate gland enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH). Side effects, drug interactions, pregnancy information, dosing, and patient information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
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Related Disease Conditions
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men after skin cancer. Risk factors include age, family history, ethnicity, and diet. Prostate cancer is diagnosed by digital rectal exam, prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, and prostate biopsy. Symptoms may include frequent need to urinate, incontinence, pain, blood in the urine, fatigue, and more. Prognosis and treatment depend on cancer staging. Watchful waiting, surgery, radiation, cryotherapy, and other management strategies are available. Research and clinical trials strive to find new and better treatments for prostate cancer.
Prostatitis (Inflammation of the Prostate Gland)
Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland. Signs and symptoms of prostatitis include painful or difficulty urinating; fever; chills; body aches; blood in the urine; pain in the rectum, groin, abdomen, or low back; and painful ejaculation or sexual dysfunction. Causes of prostatitis include STDs, bacteria from urinary tract infections, or E. coli. Treatment for prostatitis depends on if it is a bacterial infection or chronic inflammation of the prostate gland.
Urinary retention (inability to urinate) may be caused by nerve disease, spinal cord injury, prostate enlargement, infection, surgery, medication, bladder stone, constipation, cystocele, rectocele, or urethral stricture. Symptoms include discomfort and pain. Treatment depends upon the cause of urinary retention.
Enlarged Prostate (BPH, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia)
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH or enlarged prostate) is very common in men over 50 years of age. Half of all men over the age of 50 develop symptoms of BPH, but few need medical treatment. This noncancerous enlargement of the prostate can impede urine flow, slow the flow of urine, create the urge to urinate frequently and cause other symptoms like complete blockage of urine and urinary tract infections. More serious symptoms are urinary tract infections (UTIs) and complete blockage of the urethra, which may be a medical emergency. BPH is not cancer. Not all men with the condition need treatment, and usually is closely monitored if no symptoms are present. Treatment measures usually are reserved for men with significant symptoms, and can include medications, surgery, microwave therapy, and laser procedures. Men can prevent prostate problems by having regular medical checkups that include a prostate exam.
There are many types of urinary incontinence (UI), which is the accidental leakage of urine. These types include stress incontinence, urge incontinence, and overflow incontinence. Urinary incontinence in men may be caused by prostate or nerve problems. Treatment depends upon the type and severity of the UI and the patient's lifestyle.
Male Breast Cancer
Male breast cancer accounts for 1% of all breast cancers, and most cases are found in men between the ages of 60 and 70. A man's risk of developing breast cancer is one in 1,000. Signs and symptoms include a firm mass located below the nipple and skin changes around the nipple, including puckering, redness or scaling, retraction and ulceration of the nipple. Treatment depends upon staging and the health of the patient.
Men's health is an important component to a happy lifestyle and healthy relationships. Eating healthy, exercise, managing stress, and knowing when to have medical tests for a particular age is key to disease prevention in men.
Hidradenitis Suppurativa (Acne Inversa)
Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS or acne inversa) is a chronic skin condition that causes painful red abscesses in the groin and armpits that may drain foul-smelling pus. Treatment options include weight loss, smoking cessation, topical antibiotics, and avoidance of tight-fitting underwear. Finasteride and adalimumab may be helpful for those with resistant cases of HS.
Certain behavioral, lifestyle, and environmental factors contribute to cancer. Cancer prevention involves modifying these factors to decrease cancer risk. Tobacco use, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, inadequate fruit and vegetable intake, and obesity increase the risk of certain cancers. Vaccines, genetic testing, and cancer screening also play a role in cancer prevention.
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