Description and Brand Names

Drug information provided by: IBM Micromedex

US Brand Name

  1. Propecia
  2. Proscar

Descriptions


Note: Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not use finasteride or handle the crushed or broken tablets. Finasteride can cause birth defects in male babies.

Finasteride is used to treat men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and male pattern hair loss, also called androgenetic alopecia. BPH is caused by an enlarged prostate. Men with BPH usually have difficulty urinating, a decreased flow of urination, hesitation at the beginning of urination, and a need to get up at night to urinate. Finasteride will make these symptoms less severe and reduce the chance that prostate surgery will be needed. It may be used alone or in combination with other medicines such as an alpha-blocker (doxazosin, Cardura®) to treat BPH. For men with hair loss, finasteride will increase the number of scalp hairs but will not increase the amount of body hair.

Finasteride blocks the action of an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. This enzyme changes testosterone to another hormone that causes the prostate to grow or hair loss in males. It will increase testosterone levels in the body, which decreases prostate size and increases hair growth on the scalp. The effect of finasteride on the prostate and scalp will only last as long as the medicine is taken. When it is stopped, the prostate begins to grow again and the hair will be lost.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Tablet

Get the latest health information from Mayo Clinic’s experts.

Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.

To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.