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Finasteride is used to relieve symptoms of elarged prostate gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH). It is also used for treatment of male pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia).

How it works

Finasteride belongs to class of medications called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. It acts by inhibiting conversion of testosterone into the more potent androgen, dihydrotestosterone. This leads to reduction in prostate size, with improvement in urinary flow rate and in obstructive symptoms. It also reduces androgen activity in the scalp that stops hair growth.

Common side effects

Pale colored skin, Palpitations, Liver enzyme increased, Allergic reaction, Breast tenderness, Breast enlargement, Decreased libido, Decreased semen volume, Erectile dysfunction, Itchy rash, Facial swelling, Lip swelling, Erythematous rash, Impotence, Infertility, Itching, Mood changes, Depression, Skin rash, Testicular pain


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Expert advice

  • Do not start or continue finasteride and consult your doctor, if you have liver disease, if you have to undergo prostate specific antigen assay or if you notice breast enlargement and tenderness.
  • Caution should be maintained by women, children and adolescents while handling leaking finasteride capsules, because the active ingredient can be absorbed through the skin. 
  • Wash the affected area immediately with soap and water if there is any contact with the skin. Use a condom during sexual intercourse.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is finasteride a steroid?
No, it belongs to class of medication called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors.
Q. Is finasteride FDA approved?
Finasteride is approved by FDA. for the treatment and control of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in patients with an enlarged prostate and also in treatment of male pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia).
Q. Is finasteride 5mg/Proscar/finasteride 1mg safe?
Finasteride 5mg/Proscar/finasteride 1 mg is safe if used at prescribed doses for the prescribed duration as advised by your doctor.
Q. Is finasteride available as over the count drug?
No, it is available as prescription drug.
Q. Is finasteride is available in India?
Yes, finasteride is available in India.
Q. Can I take proscar for hair loss?
No, Proscar (finasteride 5mg) is used in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Q. Can finasteride regrow hair?
Finasteride (1 mg)/Propacia (1 mg) is used in the treatment of male pattern hair loss.
Q. Does finasteride cause depression/infertility/weight gain/ impotence/lower testosterone/lower blood pressure/shedding?
Finasteride may cause impotence, infertility. Always follow doctor’s advice regarding possible side effect.

Content on this page was last updated on 04 October, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)