As men age, an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BHP) can cause a few discomforts. A key sign of this condition is a weak stream of urinary output; you may also witness difficulties while starting to urinate or may dribble soon after peeing. BPH can occur when the prostate continues to grow and this enlargement starts to squeeze your urethra. Drugs like finasteride are used for the treatment of this benign condition. But, what are the precautions needed prior to using this drug? It becomes essential to know more on this prior to starting your treatment plan.

Drugs such as finasteride can help shrink your prostate when you are living with benign prostatic hyperplasia (in short, BPH). This drug is used mainly to prevent the need for a surgical procedure. It is also known to reduce the signs of an enlarged prostate; a glaring symptom is a sensation of not having fully emptied your bladder. Elderly men may also experience the need to pee often – especially, during night times; this drug is known to bring about needful relief from such discomforts. An enlargement of the prostate is believed to be triggered by a hormonal reaction. The key ingredients of finasteride help reduce such hormones. As this drug is strictly used among men, this drug is never prescribed to children or women.

Safer intake of finasteride for an enlarged prostate

This drug is administered orally. The typical dose is once within a 24-hour timeline. You can take it either before or after a meal. You need to remember that this drug needs to be consumed for a longer timespan to derive better results. In most cases, one may need to take this drug for more than 9 months to witness needful improvements. Those who intend stopping the intake of finasteride – all of a sudden – i.e., without informing their treating physician – are advised against such practices. If you are stopping the intake because of not witnessing any improvements, you are advised to talk to your caregiving team.

Precautions required prior to the intake of finasteride

This drug may cause a few side effects. Most common ones include – drop in libido or lack of interest in sexual activity, a marked reduction in the output of semen discharged while having sex, etc. A reduced output of semen is not a serious symptom; in some men, this may persist even after the medical treatment has been discontinued. You need to remember that your caregiving team has prescribed this drug as its benefits far exceed the risks of aforesaid side effects.

This drug is unlikely to cause any major allergic reactions or hypersensitivity. But, in some one-off cases, users have experienced a few severe allergies. Typical reactions include inflammation of facial organs or oral parts (such as throat, tongue or lips), acute levels of drowsiness or dizziness, rashes on skin, itchiness and respiratory problems – such as gasping, shallow breathing or wheezing.

Acute discomforts and the precautions needed

A small share of men who used finasteride experienced some acute side effects; these may include enlargement of breasts, discharge from nipples, formation of lumps in the breast region, sudden pains in your testicles as well as difficulties experienced while starting to urinate. These side effects do not form an entire list of such discomforts; you may hence witness a few unknown side effects. Upon noticing such unlisted side effects or adverse reactions, it is highly recommended to talk to your doctor. In most cases, it is a safe practice to take needful medical help on an urgent mode.

First of all, your caregiving team must know of your prior allergies or hypersensitivity. It is quite likely that a few inactive (or, passive) ingredients of finasteride may cause a few allergies. Hence, it is considered safe to talk to the pharmacist about such possibilities. The key chemicals of this drug may get absorbed onto your skin. So, those with prior skin conditions or dermatological allergies may need to stay away from using this med.

This drug must never be given to infants; male babies – upon consuming this med – may develop abnormal conditions in their genitals. Always remember that this drug is never administered to women who are either planning for pregnancy or those who are already pregnant. Another equally important precaution is – women who are breastfeeding or nursing their infant must not take this med. Pregnant women who take finasteride may injure their fetus; nursing women may harm their newly born infant.

Finasteride is likely to interact adversely when taken with other meds. It is a safe practice to tell your treating doctor / pharmacist about all the drugs you are presently consuming. It is safer to compile a list of all medications and treatment plans. In this list, care to add over the counter (OTC) drugs, prescription meds, vitamins, protein supplements, herbal meds, dietary aids, etc. Once you have shared this list with your caregiver, never make changes to it without telling your caregiving team.

It is important to take finasteride as per the dosage plan; dosages must never be altered without the knowledge of your treating physician. Those who took larger doses (than what were prescribed) may develop serious side effects associated with an overdose. These side effects may show up as breathing problems, lack of coordination or passing out. In such cases, you are advised to call 911 (if you are a resident of US) or reach out to a poison control center (if you live in any Canadian provinces).

Last but not least, the key chemicals of finasteride may alter the results of some diagnostic tests; especially, the results of blood samples-based testing done to infer the incidence of cancers (chiefly in the prostate region) may get altered. So, if you are opting for prostatic specific antigen-level testing or PSA level tests, the medical team in the laboratory needs to be aware of your dosage plan.

In sum, finasteride helps reduce hormones that may enlarge the prostate. It is strictly administered onto adult-men; it must never be used on children or women. Finasteride may trigger a few discomforts and side effects viz., decrease in libido, reduction in semen discharge and growth of hair. The effects listed above do not make a complete listing. Talk to your caregiver to know the other risks associated with the intake of finasteride.

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