Finasteride is a prescription medication used to treat male pattern hair loss and prostate enlargement.

Finasteride may cause some undesirable effects along with the benefits. However, it is unlikely that everyone may experience them.

While most side effects are mild and temporary, some of them could be serious and require immediate medical attention.

This article will discuss ways to reduce the side effects of finasteride and answer frequently asked questions about the usage of finasteride.

How to reduce the side effects of finasteride?

Side effects are not always avoidable; however, if some precautions are taken, they can reduce the risk of experiencing side effects from finasteride. Follow the below-mentioned instructions that may help to reduce the side effects of finasteride:

  • Always consume the medication as directed by the healthcare professional (pharmacist or doctor); taking a higher than prescribed dose will not make finasteride work better or faster, but can increase the chance of experiencing side effects
  • Take finasteride with or without food, and only consume one dose per day
  • Take the medication regularly
  • Maintain a normal weight, get regular exercise, and eat a balanced diet with sufficient vitamins and minerals
  • Consume alcohol moderately and give up smoking if you are a smoker 

Side effects of finasteride vary from person to person. It depends on each person’s medical history, conditions, and other comorbidities. In some cases, side effects may decrease over time as you keep taking the medication. 

Do finasteride side effects go away?

If you are experiencing side effects from finasteride, discuss these with your prescriber. Some side effects can be managed by adjusting your dosage, your other medications, making lifestyle adjustments, or simply waiting. One or more of these strategies can make side effects go away without stopping the medication. 

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For example, some people experience dizziness from low blood pressure, especially when getting up from lying to standing, on finasteride. Your prescriber can work with you to reduce this side effect by maintaining your blood pressure at a healthy level and avoiding getting up quickly. 

Sexual side effects from finasteride, such as lower libido, erectile dysfunction, and lower ejaculation volume, may not go away. This is because finasteride works by decreasing the activation of testosterone which controls sexual function. 

How long until the finasteride side effects go away?

Finasteride side effects may not go away on their own. If you are having bothersome side effects, discuss them with your prescriber early on. Some side effects can be managed by adjusting your dosage, your other medications, making lifestyle adjustments, or simply waiting. One or more of these strategies can make side effects go away without stopping the medication. 

Sexual side effects from finasteride, such as lower libido, erectile dysfunction, and lower ejaculation volume, may not go away. This is because finasteride works by decreasing the activation of testosterone which controls sexual function. 

Keep in mind that not all symptoms which appear after you start taking finasteride is necessarily a side effect. It may be completely unrelated to taking finasteride. Talking to your prescriber is the best way to determine the real underlying cause and how to resolve it. 

Can finasteride be stopped without problems?

It is always recommended to consult your doctor before stopping medication on your own. Finasteride works to shrink the prostate and treat male pattern hair loss for as long as you are taking the medication. When you stop the medication, all improvements will be lost. You will likely notice a return of prostate symptoms or hair loss, depending on what you are using the medication for. 

Does the drug cause permanent impotence?

Finasteride may cause some sexual side effects such as:

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Inability to maintain or have an erection
  • Problems with ejaculation, such as little or no semen
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These side effects typically resolve within a few weeks or months after treatment is stopped. However, in rare cases people have reported the continuation of side effects long after stopping the medication. Often, sexual side effects occur along with psychological symptoms like depression or anxiety. Medical researchers call this phenomenon “post-finasteride syndrome”. 

Post-finasteride syndrome is not well studied. We don’t know whether it is a side effect of finasteride. However, it does seem to be reported rarely. 

If you are concerned about impotence or any other sexual side effects with finasteride, discuss these early on with your prescriber. They can help understand the root cause for your symptoms and options for dealing with them.


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