Propecia is a medication that works to stop hair loss associated with male pattern baldness. While hair loss isn’t a serious medical condition, it can cause emotional distress and lack of confidence. Men who choose to treat hair loss with Propecia stop losing hair within 12 months and a majority of men see some new hair growth.
Male pattern baldness is caused by sensitivity to the androgen DHT. Propecia blocks the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into DHT, thereby slowing or stopping hair loss. Propecia must be taken indefinitely because if the medication is discontinued, DHT levels will rise and hair loss will resume.
Clinical trials have shown that Propecia is an effective treatment for male pattern baldness. The results show that 90 percent of men were able to stop their hair loss with Propecia, while 67 percent of men actually grew more hair. Propecia is convenient to use because it’s a pill that only has to be taken once per day with no need to use messy creams.
Propecia is a small once-per-day pill that can be taken discretely. You may take Propecia any time during the day, with or without food. While some men see results in as little as 3 months, it can take up to 12 months to see noticeable results. Therefore, doctors typically advise their patients to take Propecia for at least one year before assessing the results. You must continue to take Propecia even after hair loss has stopped, otherwise your hair loss will resume.
Side effects are typically mild and completely reversible. The most commonly occurring side effects include decreased libido, skin rash, abdominal pain, back pain, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, and edema. Men taking Propecia may also have difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. If you experience side effects while taking Propecia, contact your doctor for advice. In the event of an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.
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Important Patient InformationFINASTERIDE (HAIR GROWTH) - ORAL (fin-AST-er-ide) COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Propecia
IMPORTANT: HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION: This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
USES: This medication is used to treat male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) at the crown and in the middle of the scalp. It should be used by adult men only. This medication works by decreasing the amount of a natural body hormone (DHT). Decreasing the amount of DHT leads to increased hair regrowth and slower hair loss. Hair growth on other parts of the body is not affected by finasteride. Women and children should not use this medication. 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.
HOW TO USE: 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 daily, 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. It may take up to 3 months to notice a benefit. You must continue to take this medication to maintain your hair growth. When you stop taking finasteride, any gain in hair quantity is generally lost within 12 months. Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
SIDE EFFECTS: 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. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. 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. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
PRECAUTIONS: 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. This medication 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.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: 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). If you have a PSA test done, 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.
OVERDOSE: 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.
MISSED DOSE: 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. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
STORAGE: Store at room temperature between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 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.
This product information is intended for United States residents only. Before prescribing, please refer to the patient information. You can view the document and also download it on your computer. You may also consider printing out a copy for yourself. View US Prescribing Information - PDF Version
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