This article was last edited on February 8, 2022
Finasteride is a medication that is very widely used, so, we are very likely to see patients who are taking finasteride—either for benign prostatic hyperplasia or for male pattern hair loss in men. The reason why mental health clinicians need to know about finasteride is that it has been associated in many studies with an increased risk of depression and suicidality. On this page, we’ll briefly look at what finasteride is. Then, in another article on this website, we’ll discuss whether or not finasteride increases the risk of depression and suicidality.
What is finasteride?
Finasteride is an inhibitor of type II 5α-reductase. What is 5α-reductase? It is an enzyme that converts testosterone into 5α-dihydrotestosterone. What is 5α-dihydrotestosterone? It is a potent androgen that is involved in the development and enlargement of the prostate gland. What is type II 5α-reductase? It is one of the two types of 5α-reductase. Relevant to the clinical use of finasteride, type II 5α-reductase is mainly found in the prostate gland and related parts (seminal vesicles, epididymides), in hair follicles, and in the liver.
FDA indications for finasteride
1. As brand name Proscar®, finasteride has an FDA indication for the treatment of “symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men with an enlarged prostate.” 2. As brand name Propecia®, finasteride has an FDA indication for “the treatment of male pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) in MEN ONLY.” The Prescribing Information also notes that its “Safety and efficacy were demonstrated in men between 18 to 41 years of age with mild to moderate hair loss of the vertex and anterior mid-scalp area”.
Finasteride for male pattern hair loss in men
The dose of finasteride (Propecia®) is 1 mg daily. It may take 3 months or more for its benefit to be apparent. If a patient benefits from finasteride, he will need to continue it indefinitely because if it is stopped, its benefit is lost within a few months (Prescribing Information).
Important! Please refer to the full Prescribing Information (see link below) before prescribing this medication.
Next, please see the following article on this website:
Finasteride (Proscar®) Prescribing Information. Last accessed on February 8, 2022.
Finasteride (Propecia®) Prescribing Information. Last accessed on February 8, 2022.
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