Propecia (finasteride) is a medication used to treat male pattern baldness. It is only for use by adult men. Finasteride can decrease the risk of developing prostate cancer. It may also be used to treat other conditions as determined by your doctor.
What is the most important information I should know about Propecia?
Propecia is for use by adult men only. Women and children should not use this medication.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Propecia if you are allergic to finasteride, or if you have:
- a history of allergic reaction to a similar medicine called dutasteride (Avodart).
To make sure Propecia is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- prostate cancer;
- a bladder muscle disorder;
- stricture of your urethra;
- if you are unable to urinate.
Finasteride can be absorbed through the skin, and women or children should not be permitted to handle Propecia tablets.
How should I take Propecia?
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose.
Propecia is usually taken once per day with or without food.
Take Propecia at the same time each day. You may need to take Propecia daily for 3 months or more before you see a benefit. Propecia can only work over the long term if you continue taking it.
Call your doctor if you see no improvement after 12 weeks of treatment. Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Skip the missed dose and take the medicine at your next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking Propecia?
Propecia tablets are coated and will prevent contact with the active ingredient during normal handling, provided that the tablets are not broken or crushed.
If a woman who is pregnant or who may become pregnant comes into contact with crushed or broken Propecia tablets, the contact area should be washed immediately with soap and water.
Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.
Propecia side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you notice any breast lumps, pain, nipple discharge, or other breast changes. These may be signs of male breast cancer.
Common Propecia side effects may include:
- decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm;
- swelling in your hands or feet;
- feeling like you might pass out;
- headache, runny nose;
- skin rash or itching;
- weakness, tired feeling;
- swelling in your breasts;
- dizziness, spinelessness; or
- testicular pain.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect Propecia?
Taking Propecia with other drugs that make you dizzy or lower your blood pressure can worsen these effects. Ask your doctor before taking Propecia with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.
Other drugs may interact with finasteride, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.