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What is Dutasteride?

Dutasteride is an oral prescription medication used most commonly to treat an enlarged prostate. High levels of the hormone dihydrotestoterone (DHT) in your blood can lead to an enlarged prostate and dutasteride works by preventing DHT from forming. As DHT is also responsible for male pattern baldness, it is also prescribed as a medication to treat hair loss. Dutasteride is the name of the medication but you may also be familiar with the brand name in which it is sold, Avodart. 

How does Dutasteride work?

DHT causes hair loss but to create DHT, testosterone is converted by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase (5-AR). Dutasteride works by preventing this activity. Lowering the production of DHT addresses the root cause of balding making it less likely to occur. Dutasteride is only recommended for use by men and will only work while it is being taken. It is likely to be more effective when used earlier in the hair loss process.

Dutasteride vs Finasteride?

Dutasteride is very similar in how it works to finasteride, however it may be more effective in preventing hair loss. While both medications work to inhibit 5-AR, Dutasteride addresses type I and type II of the enzyme while finasteride only prevents type II. While dutasteride is said to offer better results it’s important to note that only finasteride has been approved by the FDA at this point for treating hair loss. Dutasteride has been approved for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) but not hair loss as of yet. This is due to a lack of testing rather than anything else.

How to take Dutasteride?

Dutasteride is an oral tablet and generally it is a 0.5mg dosage that must be taken daily and continued for as long as you would like to see results. Dosage and usage instructions will depend on your age and condition however. Stopping the course of medication will reverse the positive effects seen while taking it.

How long after taking Dutasteride before you see results?

You should take dutasteride for a year before discussing with your doctor whether this hair loss treatment is effective for you or not. During the first six months of treatment you may notice some hair loss or shedding due to previous hair loss before the medication or due to hair making way for new healthy hair growth. It can be difficult to see hair loss when taking a treatment but patience during this process will be beneficial.

Side effects of Dutasteride

Dutasteride has the same type of side effects as finasteride, mainly decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction. Doctors will discuss side effects with you before prescribing and should you witness any side effects you will need to stop taking the treatment. Generally dutasteride is completely safe to take however it’s also worth noting that compared to finasteride, dutasteride takes up to 6 months to leave your system.