Finasteride is an FDA-approved prescription compound that is commonly used for its potential to treat male pattern hair loss and benign prostatic hyperplasia, which is the enlargement of the prostate gland. [R]
Male pattern hair loss is a condition that affects many men and can result in a receding hairline, baldness, or thinning hair. Benign prostatic hyperplasia can cause urinary problems and discomfort.
Finasteride works by potentially blocking the production of a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which makes hair follicles shrink and the enlargement of the prostate gland. By reducing the levels of DHT in the body, finasteride can possibly help to slow down or even reverse hair loss, as well as reduce the symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia.
It is important to note that finasteride is a prescription compound and should only be taken under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional.
Additionally, like all prescription compounds, finasteride may have side effects and is not suitable for everyone.
Also known by Synonyms: Proscar, Propecia, Androfin, Finpecia, Finax, Finast, Finara, Finalo, Prosteride, Gefina, Finasteridum, Fincar, Finabald, Finapil, Finastid, Finasterida, Nasterol, and Penester
What is Finasteride?
Finasteride is an active ingredient that is commonly used for its potential to treat male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, and an enlarged prostate gland, a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia. The chemical compound is a known inhibitor of the enzyme 5 alpha-reductase, which is responsible for converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
DHT is a hormone that plays a crucial role in the development of male pattern baldness and the enlargement of the prostate gland. By reducing DHT levels in the body, finasteride can help to slow down or even reverse hair loss and reduce the symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate gland.
It is important to note that finasteride is not a cure for male pattern baldness or prostate cancer. It only helps to manage the symptoms associated with these conditions. Additionally, finasteride is not suitable for use in women and should not be handled by pregnant women as it may cause harm to a developing fetus.
Possible Uses of Finasteride
Potentially Treating Male Pattern Baldness
Finasteride is FDA-approved for treating male pattern baldness. It works by blocking the production of DHT, a hormone that can cause hair follicles to shrink and eventually stop producing hair. A clinical study showed that finasteride improved hair growth and prevented further hair loss in men with male pattern baldness. [R]
May Reduce Symptoms of Prostate Enlargement
Finasteride is also FDA-approved for treating an enlarged prostate gland, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Clinical studies have shown that finasteride reduces the size of the prostate gland, improves urine flow, and reduces the risk of urinary retention and the need for surgery. [R]
May Reduce the Risk of High-Grade Prostate Cancer
Finasteride has been shown to reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer, including high-grade prostate cancer, which is a more aggressive form of the disease. A long-term clinical trial found that finasteride reduced the incidence of prostate cancer by 25%. [R]
May Improve Sexual Function
While some studies have suggested that finasteride may cause sexual dysfunction, other studies have found no significant difference between finasteride and placebo. Additionally, a meta-analysis of clinical trials found that finasteride may improve sexual function in some men with BPH. [R]
It is important to note that finasteride is a prescription medication and should only be used under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional. Additionally, like all medications, finasteride may cause side effects, and it may interact with other prescription and nonprescription medications.
How Does Finasteride Work?
The mechanism of action of finasteride involves the inhibition of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a hormone that is responsible for hair follicles shrinkage, including the hair follicles in the scalp that can lead to male pattern baldness. By reducing DHT levels, finasteride can prevent further hair loss and promote hair growth.
Finasteride is also used for treating an enlarged prostate gland, a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). In BPH, the prostate gland grows in size, causing urinary problems such as difficulty urinating and frequent urination.
Finasteride works by reducing the size of the prostate gland, improving urinary flow, and reducing the risk of complications such as urinary retention and the need for surgery.
Although finasteride is generally well-tolerated, some individuals may experience side effects such as erectile dysfunction, testicular pain, and decreased libido. These side effects are typically mild and reversible upon discontinuation of the medication.
In summary, finasteride works by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase, reducing the production of DHT, and preventing hair follicle shrinkage in the scalp and the prostate gland. However, individuals should be aware of the potential side effects of finasteride and always consult with a healthcare professional before taking finasteride or any other medications.
Safety and Side Effects
Finasteride is generally safe and well-tolerated when used as directed by a healthcare professional. However, like any medication, it can cause side effects in some individuals. Reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, and decreased ejaculate volume are common side effects. These side effects are generally mild and reversible upon discontinuation of the medication.
In rare cases, finasteride has been associated with more serious side effects such as male breast cancer and high-grade prostate cancer, but the risk is considered low. Individuals should always consult with a healthcare professional before taking finasteride or any other medication, and report any side effects they may experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can patients with liver disease use finasteride?
Finasteride should be used with caution in patients with liver disease. The medication is metabolized in the liver and can increase the risk of side effects in people with liver impairment. Before starting finasteride, healthcare providers may recommend liver function tests to ensure it’s a safe medication.
Can finasteride interact with other medications or herbal supplements?
Finasteride can interact with some medications and herbal supplements, so it’s important to tell your healthcare provider about all medications and supplements you are taking. In particular, finasteride can interact with alpha-blockers and certain antibiotics, which increases risk.
Can finasteride cause nipple discharge or breast tenderness?
Nipple discharge and breast tenderness are rare side effects of finasteride. A patient experiencing any breast-related symptoms while taking finasteride should contact a healthcare provider.
Can finasteride be used topically?
Yes, topical finasteride is available as a treatment for hair loss. Topical finasteride is applied directly to the scalp and has been shown to be effective in some studies. [R]
Topical finasteride may have fewer side effects than oral finasteride, but it is not yet widely available.
Are crushed finasteride tablets safe?
Finasteride is safe to take with or without meals. It makes no difference when the time of day the patient takes it, but it should be taken at the same time every day.
Finasteride pills should be taken whole with a glass of water. It is not advised to crush them.
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Finasteride is a medication that can help with hair regrowth and is prescribed by healthcare providers to treat hair loss due to androgenetic alopecia or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It works by blocking the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that can cause hair follicles to shrink and eventually stop producing hair.
It’s important to note that finasteride is a prescription medication and should only be used as directed by a healthcare provider. Patients should inform their healthcare provider of any prescription and nonprescription medicines they are taking, as well as their medical history. Rarely, finasteride can cause allergic reactions, and if this occurs, immediate medical attention should be sought.
Additionally, finasteride may increase the risk of male infertility and birth defects in male fetuses, so women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should avoid handling crushed or broken tablets of finasteride. Overall, finasteride can be an effective treatment to help regrow hair and treat symptoms related to BPH, but it should be used under the supervision of a healthcare provider.