In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for finasteride, trade name ProscarTM.
What it’s for & How to take
Finasteride is used in men to treat an enlarged prostate not caused by cancer. This condition is called benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH for short. Finasteride is used by itself or along with other medications to reduce urinary symptoms related to the prostate. This medication allows the prostate to slow its growth and possibly shrink in size.
As men age, the prostate slowly grows. This may cause uncomfortable urinary symptoms. These symptoms include urinating often, feeling like you need to urinate all the time, getting up many times at night to urinate, and a difficult time starting a urine stream.
Finasteride will help relax the muscles in your prostate and the opening of your bladder. This may help your urine flow more easily. Your prostate will continue to grow, and over time this medication may not work as well.
This medication is sometimes used to treat other conditions. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you are prescribed this medication to treat something that is not listed here.
Finasteride is usually taken once daily, with or without food. Swallow the tablet whole. Do not crush or chew the tablet. It may take up to 6 months before you notice a positive effect from this medication. If your condition does not begin to get any better, or worsens, notify your doctor.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip it and continue with your normal dose time. Do not take a double dose to make up the missed dose.
Warnings & Cautions
- Finasteride can be absorbed through the skin. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not handle this medication. If a developing male infant is exposed to finasteride, the infant may have an abnormal development of their genitals.
- Do not donate blood while taking finasteride and for at least 6 months after your treatment ends. This medication can be carried in the blood and could cause birth defects if a pregnant woman receives the blood that contains finasteride.
- Taking finasteride may increase the risk that you will develop prostate cancer. Talk to your doctor about this.
- Finasteride is not indicated for use in women or children and should never be used during pregnancy or when breastfeeding.
Interactions & Side Effects
- Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if finasteride is safe for you to take.
- Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
- Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have a history of prostate cancer, bladder problems, liver or kidney disease or any other current medical condition.
- While taking this medication, you may notice a decreased sex drive, decreased ability to have sex, a decrease in the volume of semen, or some breast tenderness or enlargement. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
- Call your doctor right away if you feel any lumps in your breast, have pain in your breast, or notice any liquid coming out of your nipple.
- Call emergency 911 if you have any symptoms of a heart attack such as chest and left arm pain, shortness of breath and sweating or if you have symptoms of a stroke such as weakness on one side of your body, slurred speech, sudden vision changes, and confusion.
If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.