Finasteride is a drug that is sold under the brand names Proscar and Propecia. It is used to treat two different health problems. The prostate gland gets bigger in people with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).

Finasteride: Uses, Precautions, Side Effects & Benefits 2023

November 21, 2023 by Dr. Sandeep Bhasin

Finasteride is a drug that is sold under the brand names Proscar and Propecia. It is used to treat two different health problems. The prostate gland gets bigger in people with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). Finasteride can help with symptoms like having to go to the bathroom a lot or having trouble doing it. This drug is often mixed with doxazosin (Cardura). It may also lower the chance of acute urine retention and the need for surgery on the prostate. Finasteride is also used to treat male-pattern hair loss. It does this by stopping the production of a hormone in the head that stops hair growth. It is very important to know that this medicine is not meant for women or children to use. Find out about Finasteride’s purpose, how it’s used, what to watch out for, its side effects, and its benefits in 2023. This article has all the information you need to make an informed choice about this medicine.

Purpose of Finasteride:

Finasteride can help with both the signs of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) and male-pattern hair loss. When given alone or with doxazosin (Cardura), it helps with urine problems caused by a bigger prostate. It may also lower the risk of severe bladder retention and the need for surgery. It stops male-pattern hair loss at the same time by stopping the production of hormones on the head, but only guys can use it.

Key Points:

  1. BPH Treatment: Eases urinary symptoms in prostate enlargement.
  2. Combo Therapy: Often used with doxazosin for enhanced effectiveness.
  3. Risk Reduction: May lessen acute urinary retention risk and avoid surgery.
  4. Hair Loss Solution: Counters male pattern hair loss by hindering scalp hormones.
  5. Hormonal Regulation: Blocks specific male hormones.
  6. Restricted Use: Exclusively for men, not for women or children. 

Finasteride is a useful medicine for men because it’s effective at treating both enlarged prostates and male-pattern hair loss. This shows how important it is for men’s health.

Understanding How Finasteride Works:

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a hormone that is linked to hair loss and an enlarged prostate. Finasteride stops cells from making BHT. For its healing benefits, this is how it works.

Guidance on Finasteride Usage:

When you take finasteride by mouth once a day, with or without food, you take a pill. The most important thing is to take it every day at the same time. Carefully read and follow the directions on your medication package. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Stick to the amount exactly as recommended, and don’t take too much or too little.

Key Points:

  1. Daily Routine: Take one tablet daily, consistently around the same time.
  2. Prescription Adherence: Follow the prescription label precisely; consult your doctor or pharmacist for clarification.
  3. BPH Treatment Duration: For BPH, understand that while finasteride controls symptoms, it doesn’t cure them. Improvement may take at least 6 months, so persist even if you feel well.
  4. Male Pattern Hair Loss: Expect potential hair growth improvement after at least 3 months, with notable changes in the first year. Consult your doctor if no improvement is observed after 12 months.
  5. Continuous Usage: Finasteride only slows hair loss during use; discontinuing may result in lost gains within the first 12 months after stopping.
  6. Manufacturer Information: Obtain the manufacturer’s patient information from your pharmacist or doctor.

Applying finasteride to your daily life requires careful attention to amount and time. Patience is key when dealing with both BPH and male-pattern hair loss, as changes usually take months to show. For a well-informed approach to long-term drug use and to handle any issues that may come up, talking to your healthcare provider is essential.

Video Credit: Doctor Gary Linkov

Finasteride Pre-Usage Considerations:

Finasteride Pre-Usage Considerations

Before starting a new drug, it is very important to carefully weigh the possible benefits against the risks. Together with your doctor, you make this choice after thinking about many factors. When looking at Finasteride, the following things should be thought about:

Key Points:

  1. Allergies: Disclose any history of unusual reactions to finasteride or other medicines. Inform your healthcare provider about allergies to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals.
  2. Pediatric Use: Finasteride is not recommended for pediatric use, as safety and efficacy in this population have not been established.
  3. Geriatric Considerations: Studies haven’t shown specific issues limiting the use of Finasteride in the elderly.
  4. Breastfeeding: There are no sufficient studies on the impact of finasteride during breastfeeding. Weigh potential benefits against risks before using during breastfeeding.
  5. Drug Interactions: Communicate all medicines you are taking to your healthcare professional. Some interactions may occur, and dosage adjustments or precautions may be necessary.

You and your doctor should do a full review before you start taking finasteride. Possible allergic responses, advice based on age (especially for kids and older people), and information on how the medicine will affect parenting. This is something you should know. If you tell your doctor or nurse the truth. To help you choose what is best for your health. And can lower any risks that might come up.

Considerations for Interactions:

In addition to the medicine itself, interactions can happen when it is taken with certain meals or types of food. Using drugs or drinking at the same time as some medications could also cause problems. Before taking the medicine, you should talk to your doctor about how it should be used in relation to food, drink, or marijuana.

Key Points:

  1. Meal Timing: Some medicines may interact differently when taken with or around meals. Discuss with your healthcare professional the ideal timing concerning food intake.
  2. Alcohol and Tobacco: Interactions may occur when using certain medicines alongside alcohol or tobacco. Seek guidance from your healthcare provider regarding potential risks and precautions.

Impact of Other Medical Problems:

The presence of underlying medical conditions can influence the use of this medicine. You need to inform your doctor about any other medical problems, particularly:

  • Liver Disease: Exercise caution if you have liver disease. Slower removal of the medicine from the body may amplify its effects. Inform your doctor about any liver-related concerns.

For the medicine to work best, you should be aware of any possible interactions it might have with drugs, alcohol, or food. If you already have any health issues, If you have liver disease, you should be extra careful and talk to your doctor about the medicines you take. To make sure they are safe and work well.

Guidelines for Proper Use:

Most importantly, when taking this medicine, you must follow your doctor’s instructions exactly. Avoid self-adjustment and strictly follow the recommended dose, regularity, and length of time.

Key Points:

  1. Advice from the doctor: Follow your doctor’s instructions exactly and don’t go over the recommended dosage, frequency, or duration.
  2. Patient Information Leaflet: Consult the patient information leaflet accompanying the medicine for detailed instructions. Seek clarification from your doctor if needed.
  3. Meal Flexibility: This medicine can be taken with or without food, providing flexibility in administration.
  4. Duration for Male Pattern Hair Loss: Expect at least 3 months for visible effects on hair growth. While it won’t cure hair loss, it promotes scalp hair growth and is effective only during use.
  5. Duration for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH): Full effectiveness for BPH may take up to 6 months. It doesn’t cure BPH, but it reduces prostate size and improves symptoms during use. Prostate regrowth occurs upon discontinuation.
  6. Swallowing Instructions: Consume the tablet whole; avoid crushing, breaking, or chewing. Maintain a consistent daily intake time.

Dosage Information:

  1. For Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia:
  • Adults: 5 milligrams (mg) once a day.
  • Children: Usage not recommended.
  1. For Male Pattern Hair Loss:
  • Adults: 1 milligram (mg) once a day.
  • Children: Usage not recommended.

Missed Dose:

If a dose is missed, skip it and return to the regular schedule. Avoid doubling doses.


  • Keep the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, safeguarded from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Avoid freezing.
  • Store it out of children’s reach.
  • Discard outdated or unneeded medicine as per your healthcare professional’s guidance.

This will happen if you follow the directions for proper use. That the medicine works and lowers the risks. Talking to your doctor, carefully following dosage instructions, and keeping medicines the right way are all important parts of using them in a safe and useful way.

Missed Dose Instructions:

If you forget a dose, skip it and stick to your regular schedule. Avoid doubling up on doses to make up for a missed one. Consistency is key to optimal effectiveness and safety.

Side Effects of Finasteride:

Finasteride may lower your sexual drive, ability, and the amount of semen you release. Some people may still feel these effects even after they stop taking the drug. It can also make hair grow faster. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if these effects don’t go away or get worse. Keep in mind that your doctor gave you this medicine after weighing its benefits against its possible side effects. Most people who take it don’t have any major problems.

Key Points:

  1. Sexual Effects: Decreased sexual ability or desire and semen reduction may occur.
  2. Hair Growth: Finasteride may increase hair growth.
  3. Consult Your Doctor: Notify your doctor if side effects like breast changes or difficulty urinating occur.
  4. Serious Allergic Reaction: Seek immediate medical help for rare but severe symptoms.
  5. Common Side Effects: Chills, confusion, dizziness, bloating, breast changes, hives, rapid weight gain, and facial swelling may occur.
  6. Less Common Side Effects: Runny nose, sleepiness, back pain, diarrhea, headache, stomach pain.
  7. Other Effects: Some side effects may resolve as your body adjusts; consult your healthcare professional if needed.

Common Side Effects:

  •  Chills
  •  Cold sweats
  •  Confusion
  •  Dizziness or lightheadedness when standing up suddenly

Less Common Side Effects:

  •  Swelling of face, arms, hands, legs, or feet
  •  Breast enlargement and tenderness
  •  Hives, itching, or skin rash
  •  Rapid weight gain
  •  Redness of the skin
  •  Swelling of the lips and face
  •  Tingling of the hands or feet
  •  Unusual weight gain or loss

Other Effects:

While some side effects may not need medical attention, contact your healthcare professional if you experience:

  • Decreased interest in sexual intercourse
  • Inability to have or maintain an erection
  • Sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Back pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain

It is very important to be aware of possible side effects. Some results are normal and usually won’t hurt you, but others may need your instant attention. Talk to your doctor if you have any worries or questions about side effects. This will help you get a full picture of how the medicine affects your health. Finasteride has some benefits, but it’s important to know about the possible side effects. Tell your doctor about any worries you have so that you can take a reasonable approach that maximizes the good effects and minimizes the bad ones.

Video Credit: The Hair Loss Show

Benefits of Finasteride:

Benefits of Finasteride

This medicine, finasteride, can be used to treat both benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and male-pattern hair loss. It has a number of important effects, including:

  1. BPH Symptom Alleviation: Finasteride works well to treat the signs of benign prostatic hyperplasia, such as having trouble urinating. Cutting down on the size of the prostate helps the urine system work better and lowers the risk of acute bladder retention.
  2. Male Pattern Hair Loss Treatment: For people who are losing their hair in a male manner, finasteride makes hair grow and stops hair loss from getting worse. To work, it stops the production of certain chemicals in the head, which helps hair grow back.
  3. Long-Term Efficacy: Long-term studies show that the drug works, helping people with BPH symptoms feel better and encouraging hair growth in people with male-pattern hair loss.
  4. Versatile Application: For men who have both benign prostate hyperplasia and male pattern hair loss, finasteride is a good choice because it can help with two different health problems.
  5. Well-Tolerated: Finasteride is generally well-tolerated by many users, with the majority experiencing the intended benefits without significant adverse effects.
  6. Less Need for Prostate Surgery: Finasteride has been shown to lower the risk of prostate surgery in people with benign prostatic hyperplasia, providing a non-invasive option for managing this condition.

If you are taking Finasteride or are thinking about it, please let me know. To find out, they should talk to their doctor. How to use the perks that will help them the most You should talk to a friend about this.

Interactions Advisory:

It’s very important to know what drugs can be taken together. Because they can change how your medicines work and make it more likely that they will cause something bad to happen. This paper might not talk about every possible situation. Keep a full record of all the plants and drugs you use. That covers both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Also, give it to your pharmacist and doctor. You shouldn’t change the amount of medicine you take without your doctor’s okay.

Key Points:

  1. Comprehensive Product List: Keep complete records of all the products you use. Tell your doctors about any herbal products, prescription or over-the-counter medicines, etc.
  2. Doctor’s Approval: Avoid initiating, discontinuing, or adjusting medication dosages without your doctor’s explicit approval.
  3. Lab Test Interference: It’s possible that this medicine could change the results of some lab tests, like PSA levels, making them wrong. Make sure that everyone in the lab and all your doctors know that you are taking this drug.

Know what drugs can work with each other if you want your medicine to do its job and keep you safe. It’s very important to talk about them. Talking to your doctor about your drugs and doing what they say can help lower your chance of having problems with drugs.


Finally, finasteride proves that it is a good drug for men. As a result, it effectively addresses both male-pattern hair loss and benign prostate enlargement (BPH). For men’s health, the fact that it can do two things shows how important it is. If someone knows how a medicine works, they can make smart decisions about whether to keep taking it. Please follow the advice on how to use it correctly and think about how it has worked with other drugs in the past.

FAQs about Finasteride:

  • Can women use finasteride for hair loss?
  • Is finasteride a cure for BPH?
  • How long before I see results for male-pattern hair loss?
  • What happens if I miss a dose of finasteride?
  • Are there any serious side effects of finasteride?
  • Can Finasteride really grow hair?
  • Is Finasteride high-risk?
  • Why do some men avoid taking Finasteride?
  • Is finasteride completely safe?
  • What happens after one month of finasteride?
  • Is finasteride harmful to the sperm?
  • Does finasteride destroy testosterone?
  • Who cannot take Finasteride?
  • Is finasteride better than minoxidil?
  • How long does it take for finasteride to start growing hair?
Can women use finasteride for hair loss?

No, women shouldn’t use finasteride because it is only for men.

Is finasteride a cure for BPH?

Finasteride controls symptoms but does not cure BPH. Consult your doctor for long-term management.

How long before I see results for male-pattern hair loss?

Visible effects may take at least 3 months, with noticeable changes within the first year

What happens if I miss a dose of finasteride?

Skip the missed dose and stick to your regular schedule; avoid doubling up on doses.

Are there any serious side effects of finasteride?

While serious side effects are rare, consult your doctor if you experience unusual symptoms, such as breast changes or difficulty urinating.

Can Finasteride really grow hair?

Finasteride can make hair grow back; that’s true. Even though its main job is to keep hair loss from happening again, it has been shown to help some people grow their hair back. 48% of people who used it for a year saw their hair grow, and 66% of people who used it for two years saw their hair grow.

Is Finasteride high-risk?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found that finasteride can raise your risk of getting high-grade prostate cancer. For this risk, there is a note on the drug box.

Why do some men avoid taking Finasteride?

Some men avoid Finasteride due to reported sexual side effects, including low libido, erectile dysfunction, and ejaculation issues.

Is finasteride completely safe?

Finasteride is generally thought to be safe to use for a long time, and many people have been taking it for months or even years without any major issues.

What happens after one month of finasteride?

For most people, hair loss stops in the first one to three months. Regrowth may take a year or longer, depending on things like genetics and how much hair was lost at the start of treatment.

Is finasteride harmful to the sperm?

Even at low doses, finasteride can reduce sperm concentration and count.

Does finasteride destroy testosterone?

For a short time, finasteride raises the amount of free testosterone in the body. But in the long run, it doesn’t change testosterone levels very much.

Who cannot take Finasteride?

Most men aged 18 and over can take Finasteride. It is generally not recommended for women or children.

Is finasteride better than minoxidil?

One study finds that minoxidil may help some people feel better faster at first. Finasteride does work a little better after more time has passed.

How long does it take for finasteride to start growing hair?

Finasteride is one of two FDA-approved treatments for male pattern baldness. If you use it every day for at least four months, you may start to see changes in your hair loss. For some people, it might take six months or longer to see the real effects.


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Dr. Sandeep Bhasin

Dr. Sandeep Bhasin is a highly skilled cosmetic surgeon and the owner of Care Well Medical Centre in Delhi. With extensive expertise in cosmetic and plastic surgery, he is dedicated to providing exceptional care and transformative results to his patients. Dr. Sandeep Bhasin obtained his MBBS and MS in General Surgery from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and served as a consultant at Bhaktshreshtha Kamalakarpant Laxman Walawalkar Hospital, Diagnostic & Research Centre. Specializing in various procedures such as face-lifts, rhinoplasty, liposuction, breast augmentation, hair transplant and many others, Dr. Sandeep Bhasin is committed to enhancing his patients' natural beauty and self-confidence.

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