Finasteride generic is a synthetic drug used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia/BPH symptoms and male pattern hair loss or androgenetic alopecia. It works by decreasing the amount of a natural body hormone known as Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Decreasing the amount of this hormone leads to increase in hair regrowth and reduces the rate of hair loss. Hair growth on other parts of the body is not affected though.
Proscar and Propecia are among the known brand names. Proscar comes in a 5mg tablet preparation while Propecia contains Finasteride 1mg as the active ingredient. The recommended dose of Finasteride 1mg is prescribed to patients with BPH symptoms to be used for at least three months before any benefit or therapeutic effect can be observed. BPH associated symptoms such as difficulty urinating, constant night-time urge to urinate, hesitation when starting to urinate and decreased urine flow may be improved by Finasteride. Continued use of Finasteride 1mg is needed to sustain the drug effect and stopping the treatment will reverse the achieved effect by six to eight months.
In a conducted study, 2 out of 3 of the men treated with Finasteride 1mg daily regrew some hair while those men who did not take the drug experienced hair loss. In the same study, 48% of those treated with finasteride 1mg had visible hair regrowth, and 42% of those who took finasteride 1mg did not experience further hair loss based on photographs examined by a panel of dermatologists. The study has shown that the drug is effective as long as it is taken, and the hair gained is lost after ceasing the therapy. The bioavailability of Finasteride 1mg is not related to food intake, so it may be taken with or without food. It is mainly metabolized in the liver thus proper caution should be exercised when dealing with patients with liver function abnormalities.
Side effects of Finasteride 1mg dose are uncommon, but are reversible. Mild side effects generally do not require termination of treatment. Noted side effects of taking Finasteride 1mg are dizziness, weakness, headache, runny nose, rash, impotence, erectile dysfunction, decreased volume of ejaculate, loss of sexual interest, testicular pain and swelling or tenderness in the breast, hands or feet. Breast cancer has been reported in some men who were taking Finasteride 1mg and so patients should be educated about possible adverse reactions and should be instructed to report any changes noticed in the breast such as pain, discharge, lumps or abnormal enlargement. Finasteride generic should not be taken by women or children and adolescents. Pregnant or lactating women should not handle crushed or broken tablets to prevent skin absorption; it may cause abnormalities to a male fetus’ external genitalia. Drug interactions with Finasteride generic are generally not a concern; there is currently no known interaction of any clinical significance. There is also no evidence of increased efficacy when a higher dosage is taken.
Other off-label use of Finasteride is hormone replacement therapy for male-to-female transsexuals though there is limited evidence of efficacy.