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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1990 Nov 20;37(3):375-8.

The clinical development of a 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor, finasteride.

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Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories, Rahway, NJ 07065.


Finasteride, a 4-aza steroid compound, is an orally active inhibitor of the 5 alpha-reductase enzyme. 5 alpha-Reductase is necessary for the metabolism of testosterone (T) to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and is found in high levels only in certain tissues such as the prostate. Finasteride has been shown to markedly suppress serum DHT levels in man without lowering testosterone levels. In patients with benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), finasteride was found to decrease prostate volume by a mean of 28% over a period of 6 months, without causing clinically significant adverse effects. DHT appears to be the primary androgen for prostatic growth. Selective inhibition of 5 alpha-reductase by finasteride may provide a novel approach to BPH therapy by reducing prostate size without affecting T-dependent processes such as fertility, muscle strength, and libido. The clinical development of finasteride for the treatment of benign prostate hyperplasia is reviewed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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