Posts Tagged ‘finasteride’


// October 30th, 2010 // No Comments » // Impotence

The hormone dihydrotestosterone, a normal by-product of testosterone metabolism, causes prostate enlargement. Lowering DHT levels, therefore, should be useful in reining in a major hormonal stimulus to continued prostate growth. Finasteride (Proscar) inhibits the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, causing an 80 percent fall in blood DHT levels and a decrease in prostate size, and for this reason has been useful as a treatment for men with a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Finasteride does not diminish total testosterone output, so it was unexpected when, in the initial trials of this medication, a small number (about 4.3 percent) of finasteride-treated men said they became impotent, whereas only 1.8 percent of treated men reported similar sexual problems while taking placebo. The results were surprising not because 4.3 percent of men old enough to experience BPH complained of impotence but because so few of the comparably aged placebo treated men insisted that their sexual function was entirely normal! It seems highly unlikely that the placebo-treated men in this study were entirely forthright about their sexual prowess. Subsequent studies with Rigi-Scan recordings before, during, and after treatment showed identical erectile function in finasteride and placebo-treated men.


// October 29th, 2010 // No Comments » // Hormones

Symptoms of balding are not subtle. Men will note some early hair loss simply by looking in the mirror. Almost all men experience, and accept, some thinning of the hair as they age, but when there is an accelerated hair loss at an early age, men do become concerned. The 1-mg finasteride pill sold under the name of Propecia is prescribed for younger men who are troubled by the distinctive and selective pattern of hair loss, commonly referred to as male-pattern baldness.

The striking observation that scalp hair loss (balding) never occurs in men with low serum DHT levels was the stimulus for this research. Doctors were to determine whether lowering a man’s DHT level would reverse or slow down the rate at which he became bald. Only limited studies have been done on this topic, but those that are available indicate that the 1-mg dose of finasteride (Propecia) does lower serum DHT levels by about 65 percent and slows down the rate of hair loss in men with male-pattern baldness. Hair growth resumes with continued use of Propecia and starts to fill in areas that had started to bald. But proving this turned out to be an unusually onerous task.

Balding studies are more difficult to do than studies on urinary flow and prostate size. To give you an example of how demanding this research is, consider the following. In evaluating the effect of finasteride on prostate symptoms, all investigators had to do was ask their patients to fill out a questionnaire on their patterns of urination and arrange for ultrasound studies to determine prostate size before and after treatment.

To do hair-loss studies, doctors had to identify and mark out a single twoinch circular area on the top of a man’s scalp as the target area. Then at each visit, they had to count one by one each and every hair in that target area before, during, and after treatment. The results of two combined studies involving more than 1,500 men yielded the following. Men who had 876 hairs in the target area before had on average 983 hairs after treatment, for a net gain of 107 hairs after one year. This does not seem like much but may be enough for those who are distressed by their hair loss. Men with male-pattern baldness age 18-41 years who take Propecia seem to be pleased with the results.

Side effects were similar to what was observed when the 5-mg finasteride (Proscar) dose was used to treat BPH. Sexual side effects, including impotence, loss of sex drive (libido), and ejaculatory problems, occur in about 4 percent of men who take finasteride at this lower 1-mg dose. This once again raises questions about the importance of DHT as a sexually significant male hormone.

Patient Information about PROSCAR

// October 23rd, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Cancer

Patient Information about PROSCAR

Generic name: finasteride

while you take PROSCAR. PROSCAR is not a treatment for prostate cancer.

  • About Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). Your doctor may have done a blood test called PSA. PROSCAR can alter PSA values. For more information, talk to your doctor.
  • A warning about PROSCAR and pregnancy.

PROSCAR is for use by MEN only.
PROSCAR is generally well tolerated in men. However, women who ere pregnant, or women who could become pregnant, should avoid the active ingredient

If the active ingredient is absorbed by a woman who is pregnant with a male baby, it may cause the male baby to be born with abnormalities of the sex organs. Therefore, any woman who is pregnant or who could become pregnant must not come into direct contact with the active ingredient in PROSCAR.

Two of the ways in which a woman might absorb the active ingredient in PROSCAR are:
Sexual Contact. Your semen may contain a small amount of the active ingredient of the drug. If your partner Is pregnant, or if you and your partner decide to have a baby, you must stop taking PROSCAR and talk to your doctor. If your partner could become pregnant, proper use of a condom can reduce the risk of exposing her to your semen (discuss this further with your doctor).

Handling broken tablets. Women who are pregnant or who could become pregnant must not handle broken tablets of PROSCAR. PROSCAR tablets arc coated to prevent contact with the active ingredient during normal handling. If this coating is broken, the tablets should not be handled by women who are pregnant or who could become pregnant. If a woman who is pregnant comes into contact with the active ingredient in PROSCAR, a doctor should be consulted.
Remember, these warnings apply only if the woman exposed to PROSCAR is pregnant or could become pregnant.

How to take PROSCAR

Follow your doctor’s advice about how to take PROSCAR. You must take it every day. You may take it with or between meals. To avoid forgetting to take PROSCAR, it may be helpful to take it the same time every day.
Do not share PROSCAR with anyone else; it was prescribed only for you. Keep PROSCAR and all medicines out of the reach of children.

PROSCAR is for use by men only.

Please read this leaflet before you start taking PROSCAR. Also, read it each time you renew your prescription, just in case anything has changed. Remember, this leaflet does not take the place of careful discussions with your doctor. You and your doctor should discuss PROSCAR when you start taking your medication and at regular checkups.
Why your doctor has prescribed PROSCAR
Your doctor has prescribed PROSCAR because you have a medical condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH This occurs only in men.

What is BPH?
BPH is an enlargement of the prostate gland. After age 50. most men develop enlarged prostates. The prostate is located below the bladder. As the prostate enlarges, it may slowly restrict the flow of urine. This con lead to symptoms such as:

  • a weak or interrupted urinary stream
  • a feeling that you cannot empty your bladder completely
  • a feeling of delay or hesitation when you start to urinate
  • a need to urinate often, especially at night
  • a feeling that you must urinate right away.
  • a feeling that you must urinate right away.

Treatment options for BPH

There are three main treatment options for BPH:

  • Program of monitoring or “Watchful Watting”. If a man has an enlarged prostate gland and no symptoms or if his symptoms do not bother him, he and his doctor may decide on a program of monitoring which would include regular checkups, instead of medication or surgery.
  • Medication. Your doctor may prescribe PROSCAR for BPH. See “What PROSCAR docs” below.
  • Surgery. Some patients may need surgery. Your doctor can describe several different surgical procedures for BPH. Which procedure is best depends on your symptoms and medical condition.

What PROSCAR does

PROSCAR lowers levels of a key hormone called DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which is a major cause of prostate growth. Lowering DHT leads to shrinkage of the enlarged prostate gland in most men. This can lead to gradual improvement in urine flow and symptoms over the next several months. However, since each case of BPH is different, you should know that:

  • Even though the prostate shrinks, you may NOT see an improvement in urine flow or symptoms.
  • You may need to take PROSCAR for six (6) months or more to see whether it helps you.
  • Even though you take PROSCAR and it may help you, it is not known whether PROSCAR reduces the need for surgery.

What you need to know while taking PROSCAR

• You must see your doctor regularly.
While taking PROSCAR, you must have regular checkups. Follow your doctor’s advice about when to have these checkups.
• About side effects. Like all prescription drugs. PROSCAR may cause side effects. Side effects due to PROSCAR may include impotence (or inability to have an erection) and less desire for sex. Each of these side effects occurred in less than 4% of patients in clinical studies. In some cases side effects went away while the patient continued to take PROSCAR.