Propecia is a prescription medicine used to treat male pattern baldness. Propecia belongs to a group of drugs called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. It works by blocking the body's production of the male hormone in the scalp that stops hair growth.

Propecia is available in tablet form and is taken by mouth once a day with or without food. 
 
The most common side effects are trouble getting or keeping an erection, decreased sex drive, and ejaculation disorder.
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 14, 2012
Contributor: 
Photo: 
Long Title: 
Propecia is a treatment for male pattern baldness. Women, especially those who are or may become pregnant should not touch broken or crushed Propecia tablets.
Black Box Warning Image: 
Uses : 

Propecia is a prescription medicine used to treat male pattern baldness.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information. 
 
Side Effects: 

Propecia may increase the chance of a more serious form of prostate cancer.

The most common side effects of Propecia include:

  • trouble getting or keeping an erection (impotence)
  • decrease in sex drive
  • decreased volume of ejaculate
  • ejaculation disorders
  • enlarged or painful breast. You should promptly report to your doctor any changes in your breasts such as lumps, pain or nipple discharge

In addition, the following have been reported in general use with Propecia:

  • allergic reactions, including rash, itching, hives, and swelling of the lips and face
  • rarely, some men may have testicular pain
  • in rare cases, male breast cancer has been reported

You should discuss side effects with your doctor before taking Propecia and anytime you think you are having a side effect. These are not all the possible side effects with Propecia. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at: 1-800-FDA-1088.

Side Effects Image: 
Drug Interactions: 

No Propecia drug interactions have been identified, however, you should tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Not all drug interactions are known or reported and new drug interactions are continually being reported.

Drug Precautions: 

Do Not Take Propecia if you are:

  • a woman who is pregnant or may potentially be pregnant. Propecia may harm your unborn baby. Do not touch or handle crushed or broken Propecia tablets.
  • allergic to Propecia or any of the ingredients in Propecia tablets.

Important information about Propecia:

  • You should see your doctor regularly while taking Propecia. Follow your doctor's advice about when to have these checkups.
  • Checking for prostate cancer. 5α-reductase inhibitors, such as Propecia, may increase the risk of high-grade prostate cancer. Your doctor will check for prostate cancer while you take Propecia.
  • About Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA). Your doctor may have done a blood test called PSA for the screening of prostate cancer. Because Propecia decreases PSA levels, you should tell your doctor(s) that you are taking Propecia. Changes in PSA levels will need to be evaluated by your doctor(s). Any increase in follow-up PSA levels from their lowest point may signal the presence of prostate cancer and should be evaluated, even if the test results are still within the normal range. You should also tell your doctor if you have not been taking Propecia as prescribed because this may affect the PSA test results. For more information, talk to your doctor.
Food Interactions: 

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of Propecia there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving Propecia.

Inform MD: 

Before taking Propecia, tell your healthcare provider if you: have any other medical conditions, including problems with your prostate or liver.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

Inform MD Image: 
Pregnant: 

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Propecia falls into category X. It has been shown that women taking Propecia during pregnancy may have babies born with problems. There are no situations where the benefits of the medication for the mother outweigh the risks of harm to the baby. These medicines should never be used by pregnant women.

A warning about Propecia and pregnancy:

Women who are or may potentially be pregnant must not use Propecia. They should also not handle crushed or broken tablets of Propecia tablets. 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 with a male baby absorbs the active ingredient in Propecia tablets after oral use or through the skin, it may cause the male baby to be born with abnormalities of the sex organs. If a woman who is pregnant comes into contact with the active ingredient in Propecia tablets, a doctor should be consulted.

Lactation: 

Propecia is not approved for use in women.

It is not known whether Propecia is excreted in human milk or if it will harm your nursing baby.

Drug Usage: 

Follow your doctor's instruction.

  • Take one tablet by mouth each day. To avoid forgetting to take Propecia, you can take it at the same time every day.
  • If you forget to take Propecia, do not take an extra tablet. Just take the next tablet as usual.
  • You may take Propecia with or without food.
  • It may take 3 or more months to see benefit from Propecia.
  • Continued use of Propecia is recommended to sustain benefit, which should be re-evaluated periodically.
  • If you stop treatment with Propecia, you will see reversal of hair growth within 12 months.
  • Do not share Propecia with anyone else; it was prescribed only for you.
Drug Dosage: 

The Propecia dosing for male pattern baldness treatment is Propecia 1 mg once daily.

 

Overdose: 

If you take too much Propecia, call your local Poison Control Center or seek emergency medical attention right away.

Other Requirements: 
  • Store Propecia tablets in a dry place at room temperature.
  • Keep Propecia tablets in the original container and keep the container closed.

Propecia tablets are coated and will prevent contact with the active ingredient during normal handling, provided that the tablets are not broken or crushed.

Keep Propecia and all medications out of the reach of children.

Quick Facts: 
<p>Do Not Take finasteride if you are a woman who is pregnant or may potentially be pregnant. Finasteride may harm your unborn baby. Do not touch or handle crushed or broken finasteride tablets.</p><p>Finasteride can cause one to have trouble getting or keeping an erection (impotence) and decrease in sex drive.</p><p>If you are taking finasteride to treat male pattern hair loss, it may take at least 3 months before you see any improvement because hair loss and growth happen slowly over time. However, you should expect to see improvement during the first 12 months of your treatment.</p><ul><li>You will probably lose any hair that grew back while you were taking finasteride during the first 12 months after you stop taking the medication.</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p>