Finasteride is known to be the active ingredient of Propecia and Proscar (generic form of them). It is prescribed to prevent the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone which causes hair loss and enlarged prostate. Finesteride will only help prevent or reduce hair loss contributed to male pattern baldness, not other types of hair loss.
Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant can not handle this medication. They can not handle the dust from a broken tablet, and they can not be exposed to the tablets through any type of contact on the skin, even skin to skin touch from male partner to female partner with dust from a tablet is enough to soak into the skin and cause severe birth defects.
The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) rated finesteride as a pregnancy risk category X. This means that this medication will do unthinkable harm to a developing male fetus.
This medication is not intended for women. Finesteride would pass through the mother’s breast milk and cause significant harm to a nursing baby, thus women should be especially careful never to accidentally take a dose of finesteride. In case of accidental dosing, emergency medical advice is necessary.
Patients should not double on their medication unless specifically instructed to. In the event of a missed dose, the dose should be taken as soon as possible provided there is ample time between doses. If not, the missed dose should be skipped.
It is not entirely clear what type of symptoms a patient may experience should an overdose occur. Patients who suspect they have overdosed should seek immediate emergency medical attention.
Many patients experience some side effects while taking finesteride, most of which are mild and common. Patients should simply talk with their physician is they experience a loss of sexual interest, a decrease in the volume of ejaculate, impotence, or swelling or enlargement of the breasts. Other side effects are possible, and patients should always discuss side effects, even when they are not listed, with their prescribing physician.
A small percentage of patients may experience an allergic reaction, which requires immediate medical intervention. Patients with a previous allergy should not take this medication. An allergic reaction is likely to present with hives, itching, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue, or throat.
Patients should always consult with the prescribing physician before taking any new medications, including over the counter, prescription, herbal remedies, and vitamin supplements. While there are no known indicators of interaction between medications at this time, patients should still always be sure before adding a new medication. Any medication that affects the levels of testosterone in the body may result in a need for a dosage adjustment.
Testing and monitoring is always recommended for patients who are taking finesteride. A PSA test, also known as a prostate specific antigen tests, is essential in determining the presence of prostate cancer. Since finesteride will alter the levels of PSA and testosterone naturally occurring in the body, this test helps set a new baseline should there be any discrepancies later on.