Uses and Indication for Propecia

Available only with a physician's prescription, Propecia and Proscar are brand names for finasteride sold by the pharmaceutical company, Merck & Co. There is 1 milligram of finasteride available in Propecia, which is enough to treat male pattern balding. In fact, recent studies indicate that male balding is treated successfully with a dosage of less than 1 milligram of Propecia. However, a dosage of 0.01 milligram proved to be too weak for producing any benefits of hair regrowth.

Studies also show that the application of a gel containing Propecia to the balding area can reduce male balding issues. Proscar contains a dosage of 5 milligrams of finasteride, which is enough of the drug to reduce prostate enlargement.

Propecia should be taken one tablet per day with a full glass of water at the same time every day. You do not need to take Propecia with food. Follow your doctor's recommendations for taking this drug, and do not use Propecia longer than indicated by your physician. If you miss taking a dose of Propecia, take it as soon as you remember, unless you are close to the time you should take your next dose. Do not double up on doses of Propecia.

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To make sure you are not experiencing harmful side effects from Propecia, your physician may occasionally test your blood, and may also regularly test your prostate specific antigen (PSA), which can be an indicator for prostate cancer.

It may take up to three months before a patient regularly using Propecia sees any results from the tablet. If a patient does not see any positive results after taking Propecia for 12 months, further use of the drug is unlikely to help reduce male pattern balding. If a patient stops taking Propecia, the effects of the drug reverse, and the patient will see male pattern balding again within 12 months from stopping drug ingestion. Use Propecia daily to receive the full benefits from the drug, and make sure to refill your prescription before you run out of medication.

Store Propecia at room temperature and away from heat, light and moisture, and make sure the prescription bottle remains tightly closed when not in use.

Propecia is meant for use on adult males; it is not meant to be used by women or children. In fact, women who are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant should not even touch the pills (see "Side Effects of Propecia" below).

Indicate to your physician if you have ever experienced prostate cancer, an abnormal liver enzyme test, inability to urinate, liver disease, constriction of your urethra or any disorder of your bladder muscle. Also, indicate to your physician any other medications you may be taking, including over the counter drugs, vitamins, herbal medicines and other prescription medications. Tell your physician if you have a history of low blood pressure, because 9.1 percent of people taking Propecia experience bouts of hypotension.

Studies concerning overdosing on Propecia indicate that a single dose of the drug finasteride up to 400 milligrams, or multiple doses of 80 milligrams per day for three months had no serious reactions to the subjects taking the drug. However, studies indicate that taking Propecia more than once a day does not increase the success rate of the drug. In fact, the body doesn't adapt to finasteride the way it can to other drugs. This means that instead of needing more and more of Propecia over time to get the same results, you can maintain your new hair growth with the same 1 milligram dosage of Propecia month after month.

However, if you or someone you know takes a significant dose of Propecia or Proscar, you can call the appropriate poison control center, depending on your country or region. In the United States, contact the National Poison Hotline at the number 1-800-222-1222. In Canada, call the poison control centre for your province. If you reside in Great Britain, make a toll-free call to NHS Direct at number 111, or if it's a true emergency, dial 999. People in Australia can call the Australian Poisons Information Centre toll-free at the number 13 11 12. Also, do not share your Propecia prescription with other people, even though they share the same male pattern balding symptoms that you have. Giving prescription drugs to people for whom they were not prescribed is illegal and may also harm them.

Propecia has been studied in relation to other commonly used drugs to see if there were any potential drug interactions, and the results were negative. Drugs used in conjunction with Propecia for these tests include warfarin, digoxin, theophylline, antipyrine, propranolol, acetaminophen, cardiac nitrates, beta blockers, analgesics, anticonvulsants, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE), calcium-channel blockers, diuretics, alpha-blockers, H2 antagonists, benzodiazepines, quinolone anti-infectives, prostaglandin synthetase inhibitors (also known as NSAIDS), acetylsalicylic acid (also referred to as aspirin) and HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors.

Propecia is metabolized in the liver, where the drug is broken down into a form the human body can use. The parts of the Propecia tablet not metabolized by the body are excreted, with 39 percent excreted in the urine and 57 percent excreted in the feces. For patients who have kidney disease or other renal problems, an adjustment in the dosage for Propecia is not necessary. Although kidneys with renal problems do not excrete as much of the residue as healthy kidneys, studies show that more of the Propecia residue is excreted in the feces than normal, thereby taking up the slack.

No studies have been done on the effect of Propecia when taken by a man with liver problems. Since the drug is metabolized almost exclusively by the liver, anyone taking this medication should inform the doctor in advance of past or current issues with his liver.

A study done on 137 women who were postmenopausal and who took Propecia or a placebo indicated that the Propecia had no effect on balding patterns for these women.