What Is Finasteride Used For?
Many people may wonder, "What is finasteride used for?" Finasteride is a prescription medicine that is used for the treatment of male pattern baldness and enlarged prostate. The medicine has not been approved for use in children. Occasionally, finasteride is also used for off-label reasons, including female pattern baldness and treatment of prostate cancer after surgical removal of the prostate.
Finasteride (marketed under the brand names Propecia® and Proscar®) is a prescription medicine that has been licensed for the following uses:
- Treatment of male pattern baldness
- Treatment of enlarged prostate.
Male Pattern Baldness Treatment
Finasteride is licensed for the treatment of certain types of male pattern baldness in men, including hair loss at the very top of the head and hair loss near the front and center of the head (see Does Propecia Work? for more information). Finasteride has not been shown to be effective for hair loss near the temples. Even though male pattern baldness can be a cause of female hair loss (called female pattern baldness), finasteride has not been shown to be effective for women (see Propecia for Women).
Enlarged Prostate Treatment
An enlarged prostate (known medically as benign prostatic hyperplasia, benign prostatic hypertrophy, or BPH) is very common among older men. The prostate begins growing during puberty and continues to grow throughout most of adulthood. Usually, this is not a problem until men reach their fifties or sixties. When the prostate becomes too large, it can press against the urethra, causing problems with urination. Specific BPH symptoms may include frequent urination (which is especially noticeable at night), difficulty fully emptying the bladder when urinating, and other problems.
Treatment for BPH includes watchful waiting (doing nothing, especially if symptoms are not bothersome), medication, and surgery. Finasteride is one of the medications for BPH.
(Click Proscar Alternatives for more information about other options for treating BPH.)