How Does Finasteride (Propecia) Treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH is something that men may develop as they age. It results in an enlarged prostate that causes more frequent and urgent urination as well as the difficulty of emptying the bladder. The body’s hormones can be altered so that the prostate shrinks with the use of finasteride.

The hormones are affected because an enzyme is inhibited that will convert testosterone to DHT. This creates a decrease in DHT levels by approximately 70 to 80 percent and that is ultimately what helps to shrink the prostate. From there, urinary flow is improved and the symptoms of urgency and difficulty are dramatically reduced as well.

Finasteride is also marketed under the name propecia, which is used to address hair loss. The properties have the ability prevent prostate cancer as well, as some research has shown. According to Dr. David Chen from the Fox Chase Cancer Center, there is no correlation between BPH and prostate cancer. However, they both can occur with more frequency as a man ages and there is an overlap of men who have been diagnosed with both.

The National Institutes of Health conducted a study to see how benign prostatic hyperplasia is affected through the use of finasteride. It lowered the risk of BPH progression by improving the urinary symptom-scale score. This was an improvement over other forms of drugs including alpha-blocker monotherapy. While peak urine flow was not dramatically improved over other drugs, it did lower the risk of surgical intervention.

The other benefits to finasteride were lower side effects. People had less dizziness as well as postural hypotension when they were administered finasteride as opposed to such drugs as doxazosin or terazosin.

Long-term urinary symptoms were improved with the use of finasteride, as proven by the studies from the NIH. While it wasn’t as effective as some of the drugs that are on the market, the prostate size was reduced and thus helped to reduce the possibility of surgery to address the problem at another time. Many of the other drugs on the market have more side effects, which is why many doctors will now prescribe finasteride.

When finasteride has been used for six consecutive months, it has shown to reduce the prostate size by as much as 25 percent. This allows the majority of men to reduce their urinary symptom-scale score by approximately 50 percent of the original number.