An enlarged prostate is an age-related condition in many men. The odds of it showing up are more when men age. Prostate gland produces a liquid (known as semen) to boost the motility of sperm cells. The enlargement of this gland – owing to aging – is termed as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. This condition may be diagnosed by its distinct signs of difficulties associated with urination, the need to wake up in night to pee, or experiencing the need to pee more often. Finasteride is one of the most commonly used drugs to treat BPH. But, what are the side effects of this drug? It is important to know the likely side effects before starting your medication plan.

The prostate gland is located around your urethra. Enlargement of this gland is a not cancer-causing clinical condition. Medical studies indicate that this condition may not carry any autoimmune risks. Main cause for it is attributed to changes occurring deep in tissues or cells of your testicles. Those who have had their testicles removed may not develop an enlarged prostate. Finasteride is a commonly used drug for the treatment of this condition.

This drug works by blocking an enzyme known as alpha-reductase. It is widely believed that an increased availability of this enzyme is instrumental in enlarging the prostate. It is this hormone that turns testosterone into its subsequent hormonal form (such as DHT or other such substances). Once your body is deprived of the needful amount of testosterone / male sex hormone, you are likely to witness urinary problems – triggered by an enlarged prostate. Finasteride basically enhances the availability of male sex hormones; this remains a key prerequisite to avoid risks of this gland’s coming in the way of the urethra. This drug must be consumed under the guidance of an urologist or a qualified physician. Finasteride is not available in many forms; instead, it is made only as a pill / capsule version.

What are the side effects of finasteride?

This med has a very short half-life; the duration lasts as low as seven days. So, if you stop taking this med, effects of its last dose is likely to wear off within a week’s time. In other words – your prostate gland may resume its enlargement as before. It hence becomes important to continue taking this drug till your caregiving team tells you to stop the medication plan. Also, it is important to consult with your treating physician upon experiencing no significant outcomes. In such instances, the caregiver may include a few other drugs (such as minoxidil) into your medication plan. Such co-administered drugs may enhance blood flow. This action is effected by dilating your blood vessels.

In many cases, users may be asked to consume finasteride for a fairly long period of time. The typical dosage plan may last from 6 months to more than 12 months. In some one-off cases, medication plans have exceeded beyond 24 months. Your dosage plan is dependent on several factors; key among them include your age, body weight, prior ailments (such as cirrhosis or hepatitis or other bladder related conditions) and above all, the extent of enlargement of your prostate gland. Always remember that finasteride is for men aged 18 years and above. Children (males) must never be given as it may impair their genitals.

Side effects of finasteride one needs to be aware of

Finasteride is also used for the treatment of baldness in males. For hair loss treatment, the dosage plan is in the order of 1 milligram (mg) per day. For treating an enlarged prostate, your caregiver may administer a plan comprising about 4 mg each day. Dosages can never be altered without the consent of your treating physician. A few users – to bring about a faster cure – have increased the dosages (without informing their treating doctor). These practices are considered as unsafe; continuing to take larger doses of this drug may lead an overdose. Typical side effects of an overdosed condition include inflammation of facial parts as well as oral organs such as lips, tongue and throat. In some acute cases, people have experienced respiratory difficulties such as gasping or shortness of breath. Upon sensing one or more of these conditions, you are advised to take medical help without much delay.

Common discomforts caused by this drug may include problems in maintaining an erection (clinically referred to as erectile dysfunction), enlargement of men’s breasts, ejaculation related problems, etc. In some men, the drug may lower their libido and can also decrease the output of semen. Most of these discomforts may go away once your system familiarizes itself to the active chemicals of finasteride. But, if these side effects persist for long, you are advised to call 911.

In some very rare cases, finasteride may cause some allergies or hypersensitivity. Allergies may show up as faster pulse rate, dizziness or feeling extremely drowsy. It is considered a safe practice to tell your treating doctor about prior known allergies / hypersensitivity. In some one-off cases, a few inactive / passive chemicals used in finasteride may cause some hypersensitivity. As a safety measure – inform your caregiving team about all the drugs you are currently taking and of all the treatment plans presently pursued.

In sum, the typical side effects of an overdose of finasteride are swelling of facial parts, respiratory difficulties, itchiness, etc. Other common side effects of finasteride are erectile dysfunction, earlier ejaculation, a loss of libido, fall in semen output, etc. Allergies are very rare; but, some men have reported rashes on skin and dizziness. The good news is – most of these side effects / discomforts may disappear as your body gets used to the intake of finasteride. Upon seeing a persistent occurrence of these side effects, call 911 as quickly as possible. In order to get medical help on an emergency mode – those living in the US – can also call the helpdesk of food and drug administration (FDA). Those living in any of the Canadian provinces may consider reaching out to a local poison control center or may rush to take needful support from Health Canada.

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