Brand and Other Names:Propecia, Proscar
- Classes: 5-Alpha-Reductase Inhibitors
Dosing & Uses
Dosage Forms & Strengths
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Proscar: 5 mg PO qDay; assess response after 12 weeks to 6 months
Androgenic Alopecia (Men Only)
Propecia: 1 mg PO qDay for at least 3 months
Female Hirsutism (Off-label)
5 mg PO qDay
Renal impairment: Dose adjustment not necessary
Hepatic impairment: Caution in liver dysfunction; monitor
Serious - Use Alternative
Significant - Monitor Closely
Erectile dysfunction (1.3-8.1%)
Decrease libido (1.8-6.4%)
Breast enlargement (0.5-1.8%)
Ejaculation disorder (0.8-1.2%)
Breast tenderness (0.4-0.7%)
Neoplasms: Male breast cancer
Breast disorders: Breast tenderness and enlargement
Nervous system/psychiatric: Depression
Hypersensitivity reactions: Rash, pruritus, urticaria, and angioedema (including swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, and face)
Reproductive system: Sexual dysfunction that continued after discontinuation of treatment, including erectile dysfunction, libido disorders, ejaculation disorders, and orgasm disorders; male infertility and/or poor seminal quality (normalization or improvement of seminal quality has been reported after discontinuation of finasteride); testicular pain
Women of childbearing potential
Use with caution with obstructive uropathy; carefully monitor patients with large residual urinary volume or severely diminished urinary flow
Use caution in liver disease
May cause decreased serum PSA in presence of prostate cancer; increases in PSA levels from nadir while on finasteride may signal the presence of prostate cancer and should be carefully evaluated (even if PSA value within normal range)
Pregnant and potentially pregnant women should not handle crushed or broken tablets or semen of male partner; may have negative impact in fetal development
Rare reports of male breast cancer observed with use; any breast tenderness, enlargement, pain, lumps, nipple discharge or any other type of breast changes should be reported immediately to healthcare provider
5-ARIs and prostate cancer risk
- June 9, 2011: Recent data from 2 large, randomized, controlled trials observed a reduction in overall incidence of prostate cancer but an increased risk of being diagnosed with a more serious form of prostate cancer (high-grade prostate cancer) in trial participants taking 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (5-ARIs)
- The 2 trials are the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT) and the Reduction by Dutasteride of Prostate Cancer Events (REDUCE) trial
- The revised prescribing information recommends that prior to initiating therapy with 5-ARIs, appropriate evaluation should be performed to rule out other urologic conditions, including prostate cancer, that might mimic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
- A minimum of 6 months may be necessary to assess response in BPH
Pregnancy & Lactation
Pregnancy category: X
Lactation: Excretion in milk unknown; contraindicated
A:Generally acceptable. Controlled studies in pregnant women show no evidence of fetal risk.
B:May be acceptable. Either animal studies show no risk but human studies not available or animal studies showed minor risks and human studies done and showed no risk.
C:Use with caution if benefits outweigh risks. Animal studies show risk and human studies not available or neither animal nor human studies done.
D:Use in LIFE-THREATENING emergencies when no safer drug available. Positive evidence of human fetal risk.
X:Do not use in pregnancy. Risks involved outweigh potential benefits. Safer alternatives exist.
NA:Information not available.
Mechanism of Action
Selective inhibitor of type 1 & type 2 isoforms of 5-alpha-reductase; suppresses serum dihydrotestosterone levels by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone
Onset: 6 months (BPH); >3 months (hair loss)
Peak plasma time: 2-6 hours
Protein bound: 90%
Vd: 76 L
Metabolites: t-butyl side chain monohydroxylate, monocarboxylic acid metabolite (active)
Half-life: 6 hours
Excretion: Feces (57%); urine (39%)
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