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Dutasteride 0.5 mg: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Results
Dr. Umear Ahmad (GMC)
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Umear Ahmad (GMC)
Updated on May 9, 2024

While not yet FDA-approved for treating hair loss, studies show that Dutasteride 0.5 mg is even more efficient than both Finasteride and Minoxidil in curbing male pattern baldness and increasing hair density [1]. 

This promising new medication can be prescribed off-label for men and preliminary research shows excellent results even in patients with recalcitrant androgenetic alopecia, which doesn’t respond to Finasteride. That is because it can reduce your dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels by over 90% [2].

At the same time, you will be happy to know that this treatment is considered safe: only a very small proportion of patients experience Dutasteride side effects. The reported adverse reaction rate is no different from that of Finasteride 1mg, and most symptoms resolve on their own with long-term use. 

Keep reading this article to learn all you need to know about:

  • What Dutasteride 0.5 mg is and how it works against hair loss
  • The efficacy of this medication in treating male pattern baldness
  • The possible side effects of Dutasteride 0.5 mg
  • Hair loss alternatives to Dutasteride 0.5 mg
Table of Contents

What is Dutasteride 0.5mg?

Dutasteride is a medication approved for a common condition which causes prostate enlargement, called benign prostate hyperplasia (BHP). However, since it reduces the activity of an enzyme involved in DHT production, it is also very effective for male pattern baldness.

The 0.5 mg dose has been deemed ideal for this off-label use, as it is sufficient to stop alopecia in its tracks and promote hair regrowth, but it is also low enough to be safe and produce minimal side effects.

Dutasteride is commonly sold under the brand name Avodart, but there are also generic options available.

Dutasteride for alopecia treatment

How does this medication work for androgenetic alopecia?

Male pattern baldness occurs when an enzyme called 5 alpha-reductase converts an excessive portion of your testosterone into a different male hormone called DHT. This resulting androgen binds to specific receptors on your hair follicles, shrinking them and preventing them from producing hair [3]. 

 What Dutasteride does is inhibit the activity of this enzyme, causing it to produce less dihydrotestosterone. In turn, this translates to less hair shedding and in many cases, increased hair density. Your body produces 3 slightly different variations (isoforms) of 5-alpha reductase, with minor differences in their molecular structure. While Finasteride can bind to and inhibit 2 of these isoforms, Dutasteride can inhibit all 3, making it more effective in lowering the levels of DHT in your blood. 

Dutasteride medication to regrow hair
Dutasteride reduces the activity of 5 alpha-reductase, which turns testosterone into DHT

Does Dutasteride 0.5 mg regrow hair?

Yes, Dutasteride is better than Finasteride 1 mg,  Finasteride 5 mg, and Minoxidil 5mg when it comes to efficacy in cubing hair shedding and promoting new hair growth [1]. 

One study performed on 153 men with male pattern baldness revealed that it could increase hair density by 12.2/cm2, compared to 4.7/cm2 in the placebo group after only 6 months of treatment [4]. 

A different study performed on 917 men with androgenetic alopecia, revealed that this medication increased hair count, as well as hair diameter more than Finasteride 1mg and significantly more than placebo after 24 weeks of use [5]. 

These findings were confirmed by a study performed on 17 sets of identical twins, where one twin of each pair received Dutasteride treatment, while the other received a placebo [6]. After 1 year, the improved hair growth attained by the brothers who had received the drug was quite visible in comparison to those who had taken the placebo:

Dutasteride medication vs Placebo on the crown
Dutasteride medication vs Placebo

How should you take Dutasteride 0.5 mg?

It is very easy and convenient to take Dutasteride 0.5 mg. Since it is available as soft capsules, all you need to do is swallow one capsule with water once per day. The time of day when you choose to take it doesn’t really matter, as long as you do so at approximately the same hour each day.

If you accidentally miss a dose, don’t take a double one the next time, just continue treatment normally. Dutasteride has a long enough half-life to remain in your system and make up for the forgotten capsule, as long as this doesn’t happen too frequently.

How long should I take Dutasteride 0.5 mg for hair loss?

Like most hair loss treatments, Dutasteride only works for as long as you take it. Since there is no permanent cure for male pattern baldness, you are going to need to take this drug indefinitely. If you would like to solve your hair loss problem once and for all, the only permanent solution is a hair transplant.  

Is it safe to take Dutasteride 0.5 mg in the long term?

Yes, research shows that Dutasteride is safe to use in the long term for the vast majority of men [7]. In fact, most unwanted side effects occur during the first year of administration and then subside by the second year. 

Dutasteride side effects

Dutasteride 0.5 mg side effects

Some of the most commonly reported Dutastride side effects include:

  • Erectile dysfunction (impotence)
  • Decreased libido
  • Ejaculation dysfunction
  • Infertility
  • Mood disorders

However, Dutasteride side effects are very rare, as it is generally considered a safe medication. Since DHT plays an important role in your sexual function, it is possible that by greatly reducing its blood concentrations, some predisposed patients may experience these unwanted sexual side effects, but they are few and the effects are often temporary.

Moreover, it is important to note that several meta-analyses have found no statistically significant difference in clinical trials between the proportion of side effects reported by patients who were treated with Dutasteride and those in the placebo groups [13][14]. That means that in some cases, patients who report adverse reactions to this drug may actually be experiencing a nocebo effect (they may be expecting to develop the respective side effects to the point where they actually develop them through autosuggestion) [8].   

If you want to significantly lower your chances of experiencing side effects, you may want to try topical Dutasteride instead of the oral variety. While further research is needed at this time to determine its efficacy, preliminary results are promising and it is unlikely to have systemic side effects. 

Dutasteride 0.5 mg medication interactions

Researchers deem this treatment “a safe drug with a wide therapeutic window and few known drug interactions” [9]. It was previously theorised that blood concentrations of this hair loss medication can increase when administered at the same time as certain antimicrobial, antihypertensive and anti-HIV medications, such as: 

  • Ritonavir  
  • Ketoconazole  
  • Fluconazole
  • Itraconazole
  • Erythromycin
  • Verapamil 
  • Diltiazem 
  • Cimetidine
  • Ciprofloxacin

However, 3 controlled trials conducted on healthy men revealed no harmful effects in administering them simultaneously with Dutasteride. Moreover, the same rate of side effects was reported in patients who combined these medications with Dutasteride and those who combined them with a placebo [9]. Nevertheless, caution is still recommended when administering any of the treatments above alongside Dutasteride.

Recent studies call for further research into the potential interaction between Dutasteride 0.5 mg and other medications, since there is some emergent evidence that it can worsen the side effects of certain corticosteroids, such as prednisolone [10]. That is why it is always best to inform your trichologist of all medications that you are taking before they prescribe this treatment. 

Find out how Tamsulosin impacts Dutasteride’s effectiveness against hair loss.

Dutasteride medication for women

Can women take Dutasteride 0.5 mg?

Just like premenopausal women can’t use Finasteride, they are normally not prescribed Dutasteride either. That is because both of these medications can cause foetal malformations and unwanted hormonal side effects. 

Moreover, there is very little research to show whether Dutasteride would be efficient against female pattern hair loss. One study showed very promising results in improving hair thickness and density in women with androgenetic alopecia, but a smaller dose of medication was used (0.15 mg) [11].

However, under certain circumstances, post-menopausal women can take Dutasteride 0.5 mg for frontal fibrosing alopecia. One study performed on 222 women with this condition showed stabilization in over 60% of patients (albeit with no hair regrowth) [12].       

Do you need a prescription to get Dutasteride 0.5 mg for hair loss?

Yes, you are going to need a physician to prescribe Dutasteride to you. Since it has not yet been approved for hair loss, the prescription will be off-label. This is why you are unlikely to find Dutasateride 0.5 mg on hair growth product websites which sell Minoxidil or Finasteride. 

Can you get Dutasteride 0.5 mg on the NHS?

No, unfortunately, just like you can’t get Finasteride on the NHS for male pattern baldness, you can’t get Dutasteride either. While it is compensated when used to treat prostate enlargement, this drug is not even approved for treating hair loss at this time. And even if it were, hair loss medications are rarely available on the NHS, as they are considered cosmetic treatments. 

What is the price of Dutasteride 0.5 mg?

The price of Dutasteride depends on whether you prefer to buy the brand-name or generic variety. Normally, in the UK, you can purchase Avodart for £40-45/30 capsules. The generic options are usually less expensive, averaging at £20/30 capsules. However, buying larger quantities will normally get you a better price regardless of the type of Dutasteride you opt for.

Does dutasteride 0.5 mg work

What if Dutasteride 0.5 mg doesn’t work for you?

The best thing you can do if you have taken Dutasteride for at least a few months and it hasn’t worked for you is to book a consultation with one of our experienced trichologists. After a thorough examination of your hair and scalp, they will be able to determine if this happens because your hair loss is too advanced or because your hair loss may have been misdiagnosed. While Dutasteride is the most effective treatment option currently available for androgenetic alopecia, it does not help other types of alopecia, such as alopecia areata or telogen effluvium.

If you receive a new diagnosis, the trichologist will provide you with the best hair loss treatment for men with your condition. However, if your male pattern baldness is too advanced, they will determine whether you are a good candidate for a natural-looking hair transplant.

There are many advantages to hair restoration surgery, which is why more and more celebrities choose to get hair transplants. They are virtually painless, performed in a few hours and you can still enjoy a full head of hair more than 10 years after a hair transplant. And our world-class surgeons at the Wimpole Clinic have excellent success rates. You can see the results for yourself in our before and after hair transplant gallery.

Dutasteride 0.5 mg: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Results, Wimpole Clinic

  1. Comparison of oral minoxidil, finasteride, and dutasteride for treating androgenetic alopecia
  2. Effect of dutasteride 0.5 mg/d in men with androgenetic alopecia recalcitrant to finasteride
  3. Male Androgenetic Alopecia
  4. Efficacy, safety, and tolerability of dutasteride 0.5 mg once daily in male patients with male pattern hair loss: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase III study
  5. A randomized, active- and placebo-controlled study of the efficacy and safety of different doses of dutasteride versus placebo and finasteride in the treatment of male subjects with androgenetic alopecia
  6. Dutasteride improves male pattern hair loss in a randomized study in identical twins
  7. Long-term efficacy and safety of dutasteride 0.5 mg in Korean men with androgenetic alopecia: 5-year data demonstrating clinical improvement with sustained efficacy
  8. Side Effects of 5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors: A Comprehensive Review
  9. Dutasteride: A Review of Current Data on a Novel Dual Inhibitor of 5α Reductase
  10. Co-administration of 5α-reductase Inhibitors Worsens the Adverse Metabolic Effects of Prescribed Glucocorticoids
  11. The effectiveness of finasteride and dutasteride used for 3 years in women with androgenetic alopecia
  12. Effectiveness of dutasteride in a large series of patients with frontal fibrosing alopecia in real clinical practice
  13. Effect of 5α-Reductase Inhibitors on Sexual Function: A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials
  14. Efficacy of Intralesional and Oral Dutasteride in the Treatment of Androgenetic Alopecia: A Systematic Review
Dr. Umear Ahmad (GMC)
Medically reviewed by Dr. Umear Ahmad (GMC)Updated on May 9, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
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