Finasteride (Proscar) is used alone or in combination with another medication (doxazosin [Cardura]) to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH, enlargement of the prostate gland). Proscar is used to treat symptoms of BPH such as frequent and difficult urination and may reduce the chance of acute urinary retention (sudden inability to urinate). It also may decrease the chance that prostate surgery will be needed. Proscar is also used to treat male pattern hair loss (gradual thinning of the hair on the scalp, leading to a receding hairline or balding on the top of the head in men.) Proscar has not been shown to treat thinning hair at the temples and is not used to treat hair loss in women or children. Proscar is in a class of medications called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. Proscar treats BPH by blocking the body’s production of a male hormone that causes the prostate to enlarge. Proscar treats male pattern hair loss by blocking the body’s production of a male hormone in the scalp that stops hair growth.
Proscar comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with or without food. Take Proscar at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take Proscar exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
If you are taking Proscar to treat BPH, you should know that Proscar may control your condition, but will not cure it. It may take at least 6 months before your symptoms improve. Continue to take Proscar even if you feel well. Do not stop taking Proscar without talking to your doctor.
If you are taking Proscar to treat male pattern hair loss, it may take at least 3 months before you see any improvement because hair loss and growth happen slowly over time. However, you should expect to see improvement during the first 12 months of your treatment. If you have taken Proscar for 12 months and have not noticed any improvement, further treatment probably will not help. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue your treatment.
Proscar will only slow hair loss while you are taking the medication. Continue to take Proscar even if you have already noticed an improvement. Do not stop taking Proscar without talking to your doctor. You will probably lose any hair that grew back while you were taking Proscar during the first 12 months after you stop taking the medication..
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.