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- Reduces hair loss
- Can produce new hair regrowth
- Long term treatment
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Finasteride is a medication that can be prescribed to treat two different health concerns in men. The first indication for use is for men looking to ease the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, and the second is to treat hair loss known as male pattern baldness.
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- Finasteride can help treat symptoms of an enlarged prostate including difficulty starting to pee, feeling you have to pee urgently or more frequently than usual, or finding it difficult to completely empty your bladder
- Finasteride decreases levels of a natural hormone, which in turn leads to slowed hair loss and even hair regrowth
- It is not suitable for use by women or children
- Pregnant women must not touch crushed or broken finasteride as the medication can pass through the skin, and could harm an unborn baby
- It is important to read the patient leaflet for a full list of side effects and cautions.
How Does Finasteride Work?
The prostate is a gland situated near to the bladder. When it enlarges it can restrict the urethra, the tube that carries urine away from the bladder and out of the body. This restriction makes it more difficult for men to pass urine.
Finasteride is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. For men who have an enlarged prostate, finasteride works to reduce levels of the potent male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is partly responsible for causing prostate enlargement, and so finasteride works to counteract this.
Finasteride can also be used to treat male pattern baldness; hair loss at the crown and in the middle of the scalp. Finasteride’s mechanism of reducing DHT leads to hair regrowth and slower hair loss. It doesn’t affect hair growth elsewhere on the body.
How is Finasteride Taken?
Finasteride is taken in a tablet form once a day. It can be swallowed with water, and can be taken with or without food.
Dosage of Finasteride
For an enlarged prostate, men are usually advised to take 5mg of finasteride once a day.
For hair loss, men are advised to take 1mg of finasteride once a day.
Finasteride is a long term treatment, meaning that you could take it for several months or even years.
Are there any Side Effects?
The main side effects with finasteride are a reduced libido (loss of interest in sex) and difficulty getting an erection. These side effects should settle with time. If they do not, you should speak to a medical professional for advice.
Finasteride can get into semen and can harm an unborn baby. It is therefore essential to use a condom if your partner could fall pregnant, or is already pregnant.
Other side effects of finasteride include:
- Problems ejaculating, including reduced semen. This isn’t harmful but if it doesn’t improve speak to a doctor.
More serious side effects are rare, but you should speak to a healthcare professional if you notice:
- Changes to the chest area including lumps, pain or nipple discharge
- Low mood including thoughts of self harm.
Very occasionally, a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis can occur. It causes breathlessness and tongue or lip swelling. You must call 999 immediately if this occurs.
Finasteride can harm an unborn baby. It is therefore essential that the above advice is followed. Women should not touch or come into contact with finasteride.
As finasteride blocks the conversion of testosterone to its more potent form of DHT, there are some warnings you should be aware of. Finasteride may not be suitable for those with:
- Severe bladder problems
- Liver problems.
Finasteride can affect the results of a test called PSA. PSA is a screening test used to detect prostate cancer. You should tell your doctor that you are taking finasteride if your prostate problems are investigated.
During the Consultation with UK Meds, you will be asked to complete a health questionnaire to check that finasteride is suitable for you.
A pharmacist from UK Meds will review your current medications, including any herbal remedies or supplements, to ensure that finasteride will not interact with them. Once prescribed, you can order finasteride online for home delivery.