Understanding the Differences: Finasteride vs Tamsulosin

Sourav Gupta
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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Difference betweenfinasteride vs tamsulosin

Tamsulosin or Finasteride are prescribed for different reasons, like hair loss or Prostate enlargement.

Finasteride is taken to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia and promote hair growth.

However, Tamsulosin can only treat Prostate enlargement and other related conditions.

According to a study, Finasteride reduces prostatic DHT levels by more than 90% and DHT levels of serum by 70%.

In this article, we will compare Finasteride and Tamsulosin along various lines like dosage, mechanism of action, effectiveness, and side effects.

Fact
Finasteride was initially developed to treat enlarged prostates. Still, researchers discovered during clinical trials that it also positively affected hair growth in some men. As a result, the FDA approved its use in lower doses to treat male pattern baldness.

The overview: Finasteride vs Tamsulosin

FinasterideTamsulosin
MechanismInhibits the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, which converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT)Selective alpha-1 adrenergic receptor antagonist relaxes the smooth muscle in the prostate and bladder neck
TreatmentsEnlarged prostate Male Pattern BaldnessEnlarged prostate
Urinary symptoms associated with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Dosage formsOral tabletOral capsule
Dosage regimen1mg once daily0.4mg once daily (or 0.8mg extended release once daily)
EffectivenessReduces DHT levels, leading to shrinkage of the prostate and improvement in urinary symptoms and hair growthRelaxes smooth muscle in the prostate and bladder neck, leading to improved urinary flow and decreased urinary symptoms
Side effectsErectile dysfunction
Decreased libido
Breast tenderness and enlargement
Dizziness
Headache Runny or stuffy nose
Retrograde ejaculation
Decreased blood pressure
FDA-ApprovalFDA-approved for Male Pattern Baldness and Prostate enlargement.FDA-approved for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH).

What is Finasteride

Finasteride is FDA-approved for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia as well as for hair growth.

It works by blocking the production of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which can help decrease the prostate’s size.

Finasteride can also slow or even reverse hair loss in some men by reducing the amount of DHT in the body.

Finasteride is available as an oral tablet that is typically taken once a day. 

It is crucial to note that Finasteride is not effective for everyone and may not be suitable for those with certain medical conditions or allergies.

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What is Tamsulosin

Tamsulosin is an FDA-approved medication for treating Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH).

BPH is a condition in which the prostate gland becomes enlarged and can cause difficulties with urination. 

It works by relaxing the bladder, neck, and prostate muscles, making urination easier. 

Tamsulosin is taken orally as a capsule, typically once a day. 

It can take several weeks to see the full effects of the medication, and it should be taken consistently to maintain the results.

Source: jarmoluk_from_pixbay
Tamsulosin tablets

Discussing any concerns or questions about the medication with a healthcare provider is essential.

Difference between Finasteride and Tamsulosin

You may be prescribed either Tamsulosin or Finasteride for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or Prostate enlargement.

The major difference between the two medicines is the mechanism of action.

Difference in working

Finasteride works by blocking the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). 

DHT is a male sex hormone that contributes to the development and growth of the prostate gland.

Tamsulosin works by relaxing the muscles in the prostate gland and bladder neck. 

Dosage

Generally, the dosage of Finasteride and Tamsulosin are similar i.e. one oral pill once daily.

But the doctor can increase the dosage of Tamsulosin tablets to two capsules once daily as per the severity.

Cost-effective

The medicines like Finpecia start from $12.42, whereas the price of Tamsulosin tablets like Flomax costs $15.

Side effects

The side effects of every medication vary as per the individual’s body.

Some of the common, uncommon, and rare side effects of Finasteride and Tamsulosin are as follows:

FinasterideTamsulosin
CommonDizziness
Headache
Abnormal ejaculation (including retrograde ejaculation)
Runny/stuffy nose
Sore throat
Back pain
Dizziness
Headache
Abnormal ejaculation (including retrograde ejaculation)
Runny/stuffy nose
Sore throat
Back pain
UncommonBreast tenderness or enlargement
Rash 
Itching
Blurred vision
Priapism (prolonged erection)
Orthostatic hypotension
Syncope (fainting)
Urinary tract infection
RareProstate cancer (may be masked) Allergic reaction (including swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, or face) Depression
Suicidal thoughts
Stevens-Johnson syndrome (severe skin reaction)
Angioedema (swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat)
Hepatotoxicity (liver damage) Interstitial nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys)
Warning
Consult your doctor if you face any of these side effects. This may further lead to serious health issues.

Interactions

Finasteride can interact with certain medications metabolized in the liver by the same enzymes. 

These may include:

  • Warfarin (A blood thinner)
  • Antidepressants
  • Medications for treating fungal infections

If taken with Finasteride, these medications can cause an increased risk of side effects or reduce their effectiveness.

Tamsulosin may interact with some medications, such as:

  • Other alpha-blockers
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Medicines for treating erectile dysfunction
  • Antibiotics like Erythromycin and Clarithromycin
  • Antifungal medications

These interactions can cause an increased risk of side effects, such as low blood pressure or dizziness. 

It’s essential to inform your doctor about medications, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements, to avoid potential interactions.

Tamsulosin can interact with grapefruit juice, increasing the medication levels in your body and increasing the risk of side effects.

Takeaway

Finasteride is used to treat enlarged prostate and works by inhibiting DHT (a sex hormone) that causes an increase in the prostate size. 

Tamsulosin is also used to treat prostate problems and works by relaxing the muscles in the bladder and prostate. 

Both drugs are generally effective but have potential side effects and drug interactions. 

The choice between these two depends on the individual’s medical condition and other factors. 

It should be made in consultation with a doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you take Finasteride and Tamsulosin together?

It is generally safe to take Finasteride and Tamsulosin together. They are sometimes prescribed together to treat hair loss and prostate issues. Before taking medications, talking to your doctor about drug interactions and side effects is essential.

Why take Tamsulosin and Finasteride together?

Taking Tamsulosin and Finasteride together can benefit people with hair loss and prostate issues, as they work in different ways to treat these conditions. Tamsulosin helps relax the prostate, while Finasteride helps to reduce hair loss.

Does Tamsulosin reduce prostate size?

Tamsulosin does not reduce the size of the prostate. But it can help alleviate the symptoms of an enlarged prostate by relaxing the muscles in the bladder and prostate. Other medications, such as Finasteride or surgery, may be needed to reduce the prostate’s size.

Citations:
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