Propecia Side Effects

by on July 21, 2012


There are no common side effects reported with Propecia. The less serious side effects are; abnormal ejaculation, dizziness, weakness, impotence, lowered libido, difficulty having an orgasm, runny nose, skin rash, headache, swelling of hands and feet, swelling or tenderness of breasts, and feelings of faintness. If any of these side effects persist or become bothersome, contact your health care provider to discuss alternative treatment options.

Less Serious Side Effects

The less serious Propecia side effects include the following:

  • Abnormal ejaculation
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Impotence
  • Lowered libido
  • Difficulty having an orgasm
  • Runny nose
  • Skin rash
  • Headache
  • Swelling of hands or feet
  • Swelling or tenderness of breasts
  • Feeling of faintness

The side effects listed above usually do not require medical attention as they will commonly diminish when your body adjusts to the medication. Your doctor may also be able to advise you of ways to reduce or prevent these common side effects from occurring. However, if any persist or become bothersome you should notify your doctor to discuss alternative solutions.

Serious Propecia Side Effects

An allergic reaction can occur while using Propecia. If any of the following side effects occur while using this product, get emergency help immediately.

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the lips, face, throat, or tongue
  • Tightness of the chest
  • Rash, hives, or itching

Other finasteride side effects can occur that are not indicative of an allergic reaction but are still very serious. If you experience any of the following side effects occur, stop the medication and notify your doctor right away.

  • Breast enlargement, pain, tenderness, or lumps
  • Testicular pain
  • Depression
  • Nipple discharge

Product Label Changes

The FDA has a system whereby health professionals and private individuals can voluntarily report adverse events believed to be related to an FDA approved drug. The Adverse Events Reporting System (AERS) received 421 reports of sexual dysfunction between 1998 and 2011, connected to the use of Propecia.  No studies were done to confirm these reports, and the symptoms reported could have other causes.

Because of the events reported to AERS, the FDA has directed Merck to modify the warning labels on Propecia. In 2011 warnings were added to labels about erectile dysfunction. Now the warnings have been expanded to include ejaculation and orgasm disorders for Propecia accompanied by a note that these symptoms might last even if the drug is discontinued.

These sexual side effects are reversible and usually subside within 6 weeks of discontinuing Propecia.  It's important to note that sexual dysfunction maybe prolonged due to psychological issues even if Propecia has been discontinued.

Women and Children

Propecia should not be used or handled by women or children. Pregnant women especially should avoid handling Propecia; this medication can cause birth defects in unborn children and has been linked to causing a developmental abnormality in a male child’s sex organs.

Finasteride can be absorbed through the skin if a pill has been broken or crushed; if exposure occurs during pregnancy, you should wash your hands immediately with soap and water. To avoid accidental exposure women and children should not be permitted to handle this medication.

Preexisting Conditions

Notify your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to finasteride or the similar medication, dufasteride; a past reaction may indicate that Propecia is too dangerous for you to take. Certain medical conditions may require special tests or dosage adjustments to ensure you can safely take this drug. Notify your doctor if you have any of the following conditions before taking Propecia; bladder muscle disorder, prostate cancer, stricture of the urethra, liver disease or abnormal liver enzyme tests, and difficulty urinating..

If you notice any of the symptoms of male breast cancer while taking Propecia, you should notify your doctor right away. The symptoms of male breast cancer include; breast pain, nipple discharge, breast lumps, or any other breast changes. Another risk factor of Propecia is that it may heighten your risk for developing prostate cancer; contact your doctor to discuss your personal risks.

Prostate Cancer and Testing

Finasteride was originally marketed as a treatment for prostate cancer in men over the age of 50; some studies believe that taking this medication over a long term period may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. These speculations have yet to be proven but may be of interest to those taking Propecia.

This medication can also affect the prostate specific antigen levels which are used to screen for prostate cancer, possibly making it difficult to check accurately for cancers. It is important to tell all medical professionals that you are using Propecia as it may alter certain tests.

Other Medications

There are currently no known drug interactions for Propecia. However, it is important to inform your doctor of all over the counter, prescription, and herbal medications that you are taking prior to starting a new one. You should also notify your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to finasteride or the similar medication dufasteride.

Propecia may be effective in treating male pattern hair loss; it should not be used or handled by women or children especially women who are or may become pregnant. There are no common side effects for Propecia. If a less serious side effect persists or becomes bothersome consult your doctor for alternative solutions. If a serious side effect occurs stop taking Propecia and contact a health care provider right away.