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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Propecia, Proscar

Generic Name: finasteride (Pronunciation: fih NAH steh ride)

What is finasteride (Propecia, Proscar)?

Finasteride prevents the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body. DHT is involved in the development of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

Finasteride is used to treat male pattern hair loss in men. It is also used to treat symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men with an enlarged prostate.

Finasteride may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Finasteride 5 mg-MYL

round, white, imprinted with M, 151

Finasteride 5 mg-TEV

oblong, blue, imprinted with 93, 7355

Propecia 1 mg

octagonal, pink, imprinted with PROPECIA 1, MRK 71

Proscar 5 mg

shield, blue, imprinted with PROSCAR, MSD 72

What are the possible side effects of finasteride (Propecia, Proscar)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty 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.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • impotence, loss of interest in sex, or trouble having an orgasm;
  • abnormal ejaculation;
  • swelling in your hands or feet;
  • swelling or tenderness in your breasts;
  • dizziness, weakness;
  • feeling like you might pass out;
  • headache;
  • runny nose; or
  • skin rash.

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 is the most important information I should know about finasteride (Propecia, Proscar)?

Finasteride should never be taken by a woman or a child. Finasteride can be absorbed through the skin, and women or children should not be permitted to handle finasteride tablets.

Although finasteride is not for use by women, this medication can cause birth defects if a woman is exposed to it during pregnancy. Finasteride tablets should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or who may become pregnant.

If a woman accidentally comes into contact with this medication from a broken or crushed tablet, wash the area with soap and water right away.

Before taking finasteride, tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to this medication, or to a similar medicine called dutasteride (Avodart).

Using finasteride may increase your risk of developing prostate cancer. Your doctor will perform tests to make sure you do not have other conditions that would prevent you from safely using finasteride.

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.



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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