Proscar

Why is this drug prescribed?
Proscar is indicated for the treatment of benign prostate enlargement in those patients who show signs of obstruction of urinary flow. After age 50, most men develop some enlargement of their prostates. The prostate is located below the bladder. As the prostate enlarges, it may slowly restrict the flow of urine.

How does Proscar work?
Proscar shrinks the enlarged prostate gland in most men. This can lead to gradual improvement in urine flow and symptoms over the next several months. Because each case of BPH is different, however, you should know:

  • Even though the prostate shrinks, you may NOT see an improvement in urine flow or symptoms.
  • You may need to take Proscar for six months or more to determine if it helps you.
  • Even though you take Proscar and it may help you, it is not known whether Proscar reduces the need for surgery.
Recent studies have shown that the improvement in urinary symptoms persists as long as the drug is taken. Another interesting advantage of Proscar is the apparent significant reduction in episodes of complete urinary blockage that might require a trip to the emergency room for placement of a catheter into the bladder.

When should it be used?
One 5 milligram pill should be taken every day before breakfast. The pill is blue-colored and apple-shaped.

What special instructions should I follow while using this drug?
Proscar should be taken indefinitely. Most patients will see an improvement in urinary flow within three to four months. The improvement may increase throughout the first 12 months. The drug should be continued to maintain the benefits.

Some patients will NOT derive any benefits from Proscar. If after six to eight months no improvement has occurred, discontinuing therapy should be considered.. Store the medication in a cool, dry, dark place.

What should I do if I forget to take a dose?
Take it as soon as you remember on the day forgotten. If the day was omitted, then take only that day's dosage. Do not double the dose.

What side effects can this drug cause?
A very small percentage (2-4 percent) of patients will notice a decrease in quality of erections (impotence), sex drive (libido), and decreased amount of ejaculate. No apparent side effects with other drugs are felt to be significant. No other drug dosages need to be modified.

Which men are helped by Proscar?
Proscar works best in men whose prostate glands are larger than normal size. It has less effect on men whose prostate size is small and the urinary blockage is on the basis of increased muscle tone.

What follow-up is needed?
Follow-up urinary flow rates and residual checks should be done at regular intervals the first year (every four to six months) and then yearly thereafter. While taking Proscar, you must have regular checkups. We have prescribed Proscar for treatment of benign enlargement of the prostate gland; not for treatment of cancer, but a man can have BPH and prostate cancer at the same time. We recommend that you be checked for prostate cancer once a year if you are over 50 years of age.

Proscar can affect the PSA blood test for prostate cancer. The PSA usually falls by 50 percent or so. You may need to establish a new baseline PSA for future reference. There is some preliminary data that suggests Proscar may protect against the development of cancer of the prostate. This is NOT confirmed yet, and is not a guarantee that prostate cancer will not occur later on. You will need to be seen on a yearly basis to have a rectal examination and PSA blood test.