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Propecia is the brand name of Finasteride, a drug used to treat both benign prostatic hyperplasias, also known as non-malignant increases in prostate size and male pattern hair loss or androgenic alopecia. The drug acts by converting testosterone in your body into dihydrotestosterone, a sex steroid and an androgen hormone. The drug is also available under the brand name Proscar.
Physicians use Propecia to treat symptoms of enlarged prostate. This is because the drug improves symptoms associated with this condition such as urinating with difficulty, decreased urinary flow, hesitation when you begin urinating as well as insomnia and breaks in sleep pattern caused by the need to urinate.
The drug is also helpful in treating androgenetic alopecia or male-pattern hair loss among male only. It shows up to 30% improvements in fixing hair loss after six months of drug therapy. These results and the effectiveness of the treatment however, can only persist if the therapy regimen is adhered to.
Medical practitioners also use Finasteride in certain hormone replacement therapy procedures especially for male-to-female transsexuals. Because of the drug’s anti-androgen properties, such a therapy is effective when done in combination with any form of oestrogen. While there is research done on this specific medicinal use of Propecia, it is still negligible and does not quite substantiate the claims of drug efficacy.
Children or women should not take the drug. It does cause birth defects as such, should not be used or handled by pregnant women. Moreover, it is absorbable through the skin, it thus is important that women not handle the tablets without adhering to proper precautions.
Before taking Propecia, it is helpful to let your physician know if you have experienced prior allergic reactions to the drug. This information is important because it can help determine if the drug will be effective in treating your symptoms. You need to disclose to your physician if you have experienced any of these other conditions as they may also affect your safety while on Propecia therapy:
– Liver disease or if you have ever returned abnormal results on liver enzyme tests
– Bladder muscle disorder
– Urethra stricture
– Inability to urinate
How to take Propecia
Finasteride should be taken orally, with or without liquid accompaniment or food. This should be once a day or as directed by your physician.
Adverse effects from use of the drug are rare. However, you need to get emergency help if you have trouble in breathing, hives, swelling on your lips, face, tongue or throat after taking the drug. Other serious side effects that may need immediate medical attention include lumps on your breasts, nipple discharge, pain and any changes on your breasts for that matter.
Other less serious side effects associated with Propecia therapy include:
– Impotence, trouble attaining orgasm, abnormal ejaculations and little interest in sex
– Body swellings and especially on hands and feet
– Tenderness and swelling in your breasts
– Headaches, dizziness, weakness and feeling like you may faint
– Runny nose and skin rash
The side effects that relate to sexual performance may continue even after ceasing Propecia administration. You as such need to discuss these with your physician if the effects bother you.