Before you start taking any medication, including finasteride, it’s important to be aware of possible drug interactions. These interactions can be with other medications, natural supplements, foods, and alcohol. Drug interactions can affect how the body breaks down a medication. In some cases, this can result in higher than normal levels of a medication in the blood which can be dangerous.
In this article, we’ll break down some of the most commonly asked questions about finasteride interactions and safety. Remember, this information is not a substitute for advice from your doctor, so if you’re ever in doubt, you should reach out to a healthcare provider.
Finasteride drug interactions: Overview
When deciding whether finasteride is right for you, you’ll need to consider potential finasteride drug interactions. Finasteride does not have major interactions, but you should still always check with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re in doubt. If you happen to be on a medication that could potentially interact with finasteride, you may have to use more or less of one drug to ensure that these medications can be used together safely and continue to exert their therapeutic effects.
Finasteride Viagra (Cialis) interaction
There’s good news for patients on treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED). There doesn’t appear to be a finasteride Viagra interaction. ED is a common issue that has many treatment options. The medications that treat ED are called phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) enzyme inhibitors and include sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra) and avanafil (Stendra).
The reason why you can take something like Viagra safely at the same time as finasteride is because these drugs act on completely different pathways. Finasteride blocks the 5 alpha-reductase enzyme to reduce DHT (dihydrotestosterone) production, whereas Viagra blocks a mechanism that has the end result of increasing penile blood flow during arousal. Additionally, these drugs don’t interfere with one another’s metabolism, so you won’t need to adjust your dose of either medication.
Does finasteride interact with antidepressants? Finasteride interaction with antidepressants
Finasteride also appears to be safe to take at the same time as antidepressants including SSRIs, SNRIs, serotonin modulators, atypical antidepressants, older tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MOAIs). One thing to be aware of is the potential impact that many antidepressants have on sexual function in both men and women. Using oral finasteride at the same time as certain drugs for depression might make sexual side effects more significant.
If you’re worried about finasteride's potential impact on sexual health, you might want to ask your doctor whether a topical formulation of finasteride might be an option for you to lower your absorption of the medication. Alternatively, your doctor may ask you to lower your antidepressant dose to minimize the potential impact of this finasteride interaction.
Finasteride interaction with alcohol
Many people wonder if there are any finasteride interactions with alcohol and whether you can drink and be on a hair loss treatment at the same time. There aren't any negative consequences of using finasteride with moderate alcohol consumption. But you should be aware that heavy alcohol consumption can damage the liver and affect the metabolism of drugs like finasteride. You may need a lower dose of finasteride if you are a regular heavy user of alcohol, but the preferred approach is to reduce your alcohol intake.
Finasteride and saw palmetto interaction
Saw palmetto and finasteride can be safely used together. Saw palmetto is a natural ingredient that has an inhibitory effect on 5-alpha reductase. It has a similar, but less potent DHT-lowering effect compared to finasteride. It’s a popular ingredient to include in over-the counter-products for hair loss, such as XYON’s Performance DHT-Blocking Shampoo. Saw palmetto and other natural ingredients for hair growth such as ginseng, clover leaf and biotin can typically be used in conjunction with finasteride, in oral or topical form.
Finasteride interactions: Takeaway
Before starting finasteride, it’s important to talk to and ask your doctor about possible drug interactions. We’ve covered a few examples of common medications and substances and their potential interactions with finasteride in this article, including antidepressants and natural supplements that can help with hair growth.
In general, you should be able to take your hair loss treatment without worrying about possible effects on finasteride metabolism or the overall safety of the medication. We recommend informing your doctor about any medication and supplement changes over the course of your hair growth journey.