Finasteride – all you need to know
What are Finasteride tablets? And what are they used for?
Finasteride belongs to the group of medicines called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors.
If you have been prescribed Finasteride 1mg, it’s because you have male pattern hair loss (also known as androgenetic alopecia). Men with mild to moderate, but not complete hair loss, can benefit from using Finasteride 1mg tablets as it can prevent further hair loss.
Finasteride 1mg tablets block an important enzyme (Type II 5α-reductase), which is involved in the regulation of the hair follicle. In the scalp, Finasteride specifically lowers the levels of DHT, a major cause of male pattern hair loss. In this way, Finasteride 1mg tablets can help to reverse the balding process and prevent further hair loss.
What you need to know before you take Finasteride 1mg tablets
Do not take Finasteride 1mg tablets:
- If you are allergic to finasteride or any of the other ingredients of this medicine.
- If you are a child or adolescent.
- If you are a woman; Finasteride 1mg tablets have been found to be ineffective in the treatment of hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) in women in clinical studies.
- If you are already taking finasteride or any other 5α-reductase inhibitor for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or any other condition.
Warnings and precautions
Finasteride may affect male fertility
Patients who are planning to father a child should consider stopping treatment.
Mood alterations and depression
Mood alterations such as depressed mood, depression and, less frequently, suicidal thoughts have been reported in patients treated with Finasteride 1mg. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop taking Finasteride and contact your regular healthcare provider for further medical advice as soon as possible.
Taking Finasteride 1mg tablets with food and drink
Finasteride 1mg tablets can be taken with or without food.
Pregnancy, breast-feeding and fertility
Finasteride 1mg tablets are only intended for men.
Women who are or may potentially be pregnant should not handle Finasteride 1mg tablets, especially if broken or crushed. If Finasteride is absorbed through the skin or taken by mouth by women pregnant with a male foetus, the child may be born with malformed genital organs.
When the patient’s sexual partner is, or may become pregnant, the patient should either avoid exposure of his partner to semen (eg by use of a condom) or discontinue treatment with Finasteride.
Driving and using machines
There is no information to suggest Finasteride affects the ability to drive or use machinery.
Important information about some of the ingredients of Finasteride 1mg tablets
This medicinal product contains lactose. If your doctor has told you that you have intolerance to some sugars, contact your doctor before taking this medicinal product.
How to take Finasteride 1mg tablets
The recommended dose is one Finasteride 1mg tablet daily. The film-coated tablets can be taken on an empty stomach or with a meal. The film-coated tablets should be swallowed whole and should not be divided or crushed.
It is important to note that:
- Finasteride 1mg tablets will not work faster or better if you take them more than once a day.
- Male pattern hair loss is a condition that develops over a long period of time. In general, daily use for three to six months may be necessary before you notice any increase in the hair density or reduction in hair loss.
- Your doctor will help you to assess if Finasteride 1mg tablets are working. It is important to continue taking Finasteride 1mg tablets for as long as your doctor prescribes them.
Patients with impaired kidney function
No dosage adjustment is required in patients with impaired kidney function.
If you take more Finasteride 1mg tablets than you should
If you have taken more Finasteride 1mg tablets than you were told to, or if someone else has taken any Finasteride 1mg tablets, contact the emergency department of your nearest hospital. Take any leftover tablets or the empty box with you for easier identification.
If you forget to take your Finasteride tablets
If you forget to take a dose, just carry on with the next one as usual. Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.
If you stop taking Finasteride 1mg tablets
Continued use of Finasteride 1mg tablets is recommended to attain maximum benefit. If the treatment is stopped in between, you are likely to lose the hair you have gained within the next nine to 12 months.
Possible side effects
Like all medicines, Finasteride can cause side effects – although not everybody gets them. Some of the side effects are temporary with continued treatment or disappear when treatment is stopped.
Stop taking Finasteride 1mg tablets and immediately contact a doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Symptoms of an allergic reaction: swelling of your lips, face, tongue and throat; difficulty swallowing; lumps under your skin (hives) and breathing difficulties.
- Depression (feelings of severe sadness and unworthiness). You should promptly report to your doctor any changes in the breast tissue such as lumps, pain, enlargement of the breast tissue or nipple discharge as these may be signs of a serious condition, such as breast cancer.
Uncommon (may affect up to 1 in 100 people):
- Less desire to have sex.
- Difficulty having an erection.
- Problems with ejaculation such as a decrease in the amount of semen released during sex.
- Allergic reactions, such as rash, itching, lumps under your skin (hives) and swelling of your lips and face.
- Breast swelling or tenderness.
- Pain in the testicles.
- Fast heartbeat.
- Persistent difficulty having an erection after discontinuation of treatment.
- Persistent decrease in sex drive after discontinuation of treatment.
- Persistent problems with ejaculation after discontinuation of treatment.
- Changes in the way your liver is working, which can be shown by a blood test.
- Infertility has been reported in men who took finasteride for a long time and had other risk factors that may affect fertility. Normalisation or improvement of seminal quality has been reported after discontinuation of finasteride. Long-term clinical studies about the effect of finasteride on fertility in men have not been conducted.