Pregnancy Warnings

Why Finasteride Should Never Be Used By Pregnant Women

Both men and women lose an average of around 50 to 100 hairs each day. During pregnancy, rising estrogen levels slow down the natural cycle of hair follicle shedding. As a result, some women may actually lose fewer hairs while pregnant. But that’s not always the case.

Some women may experience hair thinning and shedding due to stress or shock. This condition is called telogen effluvium, and it affects a small number of women during pregnancy. The first trimester may stress the body as the balance of hormones shifts dramatically to support the growing baby. Stress may put more of the hairs on your head, 30 percent or more, into the telogen or “resting” phase of the hair life cycle. So, instead of losing the average 100 hairs a day, you may lose 300 hairs a day.

Hair loss due to hormonal shifts may not happen right away. Instead, it may take two to four months to notice thinning. This condition doesn’t generally last longer than six months and doesn’t result in permanent hair loss.

What is Finasteride?

Finasteride is in a class of medications called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. Finasteride treats BPH by blocking the body’s production of a male hormone that causes the prostate to enlarge. Finasteride treats male pattern hair loss by blocking the body’s production of a male hormone in the scalp that stops hair growth. Finasteride has a short half life but builds up in your system over time, which lowers DHT levels in the body by an average of 70 percent.

Finasteride (Proscar) is used alone or in combination with another medication (doxazosin [Cardura]) to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH, enlargement of the prostate gland). Finasteride is used to treat symptoms of BPH such as frequent and difficult urination and may reduce the chance of acute urinary retention (sudden inability to urinate). It also may decrease the chance that prostate surgery will be needed. Finasteride (Propecia) is also used to treat male pattern hair loss (gradual thinning of the hair on the scalp, leading to a receding hairline or balding on the top of the head in men.). 

Why finasteride should never be used by pregnant women

Finasteride should never be taken by a woman or a child, this is because it can cause birth defects if a woman is exposed to it during pregnancy. Finasteride tablets should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or may become pregnant, because it can be absorbed through the skin and cause birth defects in male babies.

Usually, manufacturers of finasteride provide a cautionary statement that women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle crushed or broken finasteride tablets as exposure to the active ingredient might cause abnormalities in a male offspring’s sex organs.

Can you get a woman pregnant on finasteride?

To date, there are no reports of adverse pregnancy outcomes among women exposed to finasteride. Taking 1 mg of finasteride daily did not have any clinically significant effect on men’s semen. Absorption through the skin while handling tablets is extremely unlikely to cause fetal exposure or harm.

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