Dutasteride is a medication prescribed to treat an enlarged
prostate otherwise known as benign prostatic hyperplasia
(BPH). Dutasteride is in a class of medications called 5-alpha
reductase inhibitors, the same family of drugs in which
finasteride is a member. Finasteride is the main ingredient
in Propecia, a pill commonly prescribed for hair loss treatment.
Finasteride prescribed for BPH is known as Proscar, and
comes in a larger dosage. Both Finasteride and Dutasteride
work by preventing testerone from converting to dihydrotestosterone
(DHT), which is the main culprit for genetic hair loss.
It does this by blocking the enzyme 5-alpha reductase from
manipulating normal testosterone into DHT.
In the United States, dutasteride is sold under the brand
name, Avodart by GlaxoSmithKline. Other names include: Avidart,
Avolve, Duagen, Dutas, Dutagen, and Duprost.
Dutasteride is the first 5-alpha reductase inhibitor
(5ARI) that inhibits both the type 1 and 2 isoenzymes
of 5AR. These enzymes are responsible for converting testosterone
to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the prostate and other
tissues, and DHT has been proven to play a key role in
the development and progression of BPH." - GlaxoSmithKline
Press Release, Aug. 12, 2002
Dutasteride can also be prescribed to treat male pattern
hair loss although the FDA has not given specific approval
that dutasteride can treat male pattern hair loss. When
a medication is prescribed for something else than the FDA
has allowed for a company's marketing claims, this is known
The manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, completed a Phase I
and II study of dutasteride for hair loss, but suddenly
and unexpectedly, called off the trials in 2002 and no one
really knows why. However, these trials were restarted in
Korea in 2006 and were completed in January of 2009. The
results of this study have not been released yet. However,
some early speculation is that it does offer a superior
hair count in comparison to finasteride. (2,3,)
The promise and hope behind dutasteride over finasteride
is that it blocks or inhibits BOTH isoforms of 5-alpha reductase,
while finasteride only works on one.
Whether or not dutasteride is clinically proven to be more
effective than finasteride, remains to be seen. However,
the general belief is that it offers matching efficacy in
comparison to finasteride.
Side effects of Dutasteride include:
- inability to have or maintain an erection
- decrease in sex drive
- difficulty ejaculating
- breast tenderness or enlargement (Gynecomastia), )
If you are interested in using dutasteride to treat male
pattern hair loss, contact your doctor first. Do not buy
prescriptions off the internet without first consulting
a medical professional in person.