Dutasteride Guide: Uses, Results & Side Effects
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Dutasteride Guide: Uses, Results & Side Effects
Dr. Michael May (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Michael May (FRCS)
Updated on May 26, 2022

Unlike natural hair shedding, hair loss – which can affect up to 85% of men at some point in their lives [1] – can occur because of external factors, age, or genetics.

Despite hair loss being something that affects many men (and women, too), there are ways that you can treat it, or prevent it from getting any worse.

There are a range of different options and solutions that you can choose if you’re experiencing hair loss. One of these options includes getting medication that can prevent, or slow down baldness.

Dutasteride is one of these drugs that you can get prescribed to you to combat your hair loss. If you’ve not heard of this before, keep on reading.

In this article, we’ll be taking you through everything you might need to know about this drug and whether or not it might be suitable for you. 

What is Dutasteride?

Dutasteride is a prescription drug that is most commonly available under the brand name Avodart. 

You can also buy it as a generic drug, which may be a cheaper alternative that still offers the same effects. Just ask your pharmacist for medication under the name Dutasteride.

This drug comes in the form of an oral tablet and can come in varying forms and strengths.

How does Dutasteride work?

Like Finasteride, Dutasteride belongs to a group of drugs that are known as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, or 5-ARIs. 

Dutasteride works by blocking an enzyme in your body that facilitates the conversion of testosterone into DHT. This causes the levels of DHT in your body to slow down, stop or reverse any hair loss that the hormone may cause.This group of medications work by stopping the body from being able to turn testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. 

DHT is an androgen hormone (or male sex hormone) that has strong links to hair loss – some studies even cite it as being one of the main hormones responsible for causing male pattern baldness [2].

Small amounts of testosterone are converted into DHT – which plays a big role in producing male sex characteristics. It’s especially important as you’re growing up but, as you start to get older, it becomes less important for your overall wellbeing.

If baldness is in your genetics [3], the chances of DHT causing your hair follicles to stop producing new hairs is higher. This is what causes what then causes receding hairlines, hair loss, and balding.

Dutasteride works by blocking an enzyme in your body that facilitates the conversion of testosterone into DHT. This causes the levels of DHT in your body to slow down, stop or reverse any hair loss that the hormone may cause.

Dutasteride can also be used to treat the symptoms of an enlarged prostate and relieve some of the symptoms that come with this condition.

Does Dutasteride work?

There have been many studies into the efficacy of Dutasteride, mainly in comparison to one of the most popular hair loss medications, Finasteride.

In a review [4] for the journal, Clinical Interventions in Aging, experts studied data from three studies that compared the efficacy of Finasteride and Dutasteride. The findings concluded that although both medications were successful at treating hair loss, it was Dutasteride that was the most effective.

The three studies contained a total of 576 participants and found that the mean change from baseline in the subjects’ assessment score of hair loss was significantly higher in the test groups that took Dutasteride.

Similarly, a study from the American Academy of Dermatology [5] studied the differences between Dutasteride and Finasteride in a sample of 917 aged between 20–50 who were all suffering from hair loss at varying degrees.

This study found that Dutasteride was able to increase hair count, hair width and hair growth more effectively than Finasteride – even though the severity of side effects was similar amongst both trial groups.

One of the reasons that Dutasteride is thought to be so effective is because it has a half-life of five weeks. This means that it stays in the body for five weeks after the dose has been taken – the drug even has the ability to stay in your body for several months after.

Does Dutasteride work for facial hair?

Dutasteride does show some pretty impressive results, which may make you wonder if it can be used to treat other areas of your body where you’re suffering from hair loss – like your beard.

However, Dutasteride is only proven to be effective at preventing hair loss on your head, not your beard. The reason why Dutasteride is ineffective at treating beard hair loss is because of how it blocks DHT.

The hair on your scalp is very sensitive to the levels of DHT in your body, therefore when you’re taking Dutasteride it will impact the hair follicles on your head and encourage new hair growth. 

Unlike the hair follicles on your scalp, beard hair follicles aren’t as sensitive to DHT levels. So no matter if DHT levels in your body are higher or lower, it will have no impact on the amount of beard hair you’re able to grow.

If you want to do something about your lack of beard hair, there are other options that you can choose. There are various other treatments that you can take to improve your facial hair, or you could go down the beard transplant route. 

Find out more about the beard transplant process.

Can men and women take Dutasteride?

Dutasteride is a drug that shouldn’t be taken by a woman (or child), especially women who are pregnant or may become pregnant.

How to use Dutasteride

Dutasteride is an oral tablet that comes in an 0.5g dosage that you should swallow with water daily.

You should always read the Patient Information Leaflet that you receive with your Dutasteride prescription before you start taking the medication. You can also ask your pharmacist, or GP, if you have any questions.

It doesn’t matter what time of the day you take Dutasteride. So whether you want to take it in the morning, afternoon, or evening, it will not impact the efficacy of the drug.

However, you should make sure to take Dutasteride consistently at the same time of day if you want to experience the full benefits.

If you miss a dose, you shouldn’t double-up and take two doses, just continue taking your doses as you would the next day. You also shouldn’t chew or crush the capsule when taking it, swallow it whole with water.

How long does it take Dutasteride to work?

When taking Dutasteride, you can expect to wait up to 3 months before you’re able to see any results. It can also take up to 6 months in some individuals, so don’t worry if you don’t start seeing any improvement in hair loss straight away.

However, the results that you experience from taking Dutasteride will only last as long as you’re taking the medication. As soon as you stop taking the drug, you can expect hair loss to pick up again.

Are there any Dutasteride side effects?

The side effects of Dutasteride are largely similar to the side effects that have been observed in patients who are taking Finasteride.

Some of the most common side effects include lower sex drive, problems with ejaculation and the inability to have an erection [6].

Rare side effects include a low sperm count, high-grade prostate cancer, breast cancer in male patients, skin rashes, itching, and pain in testicles.

However, these side effects are largely something that most men don’t need to worry about when taking Dutasteride as the instances of side effects are very rare. Most studies confirm that Dutasteride is a safe and well-tolerated drug [7].

In a study [8], only 4.7% of men who used Avodart (Dutasteride) experienced erectile dysfunction, 3% suffered from decreased libido and 1.4% experienced problems ejaculating.

It’s also important to note that many of the common side effects are only experienced for as long as the patient is taking Dutasteride. As soon as you stop taking it, any side effects will stop and are generally reversible. 

Can Dutasteride interact with other medications? 

Dutasteride can interact with other medications that you’re taking, so it’s important to be aware of what these are before you start taking the medication as it may result in negative side effects, or reduce the efficacy of both medications.

The medications that Dutasteride can interact with include:

  • HIV drugs (like atazanavir, darunavir, fosemprenavir, and indinavir)
  • Fungal infection drugs (like itraconazole, ketoconazole, and posaconazole)
  • Blood pressure drugs (like verapamil and diltiazem)
  • Cimetidine, an acid reflux medication
  • Ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic

What to do when Dutasteride doesn’t work?

Although Dutasteride is proven to work at preventing hair loss in many cases, it’s not certain to work for everyone.

Whether you’ve taken Dutasteride and it hasn’t worked for you, or your hair loss is so severe that taking medication would not be able to encourage hair growth, there are other options available to you.

One of the most popular, and effective, ways to treat hair loss and balding is getting a hair transplant. This quick procedure can result in long-lasting, natural hair growth.

At Wimpole Clinic, we’re one of the most trusted and reputable hair transplant providers in the UK and we specialise in the two most common forms of hair transplant: FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) transplants and FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantations).

Book a hair transplant consultation with Wimpole Clinic

If you think that a hair transplant could be the best solution for your hair loss, we’d love to talk to you about the process.

Our professional team has carried out thousands of hair transplants – just take a look at some of our before and after shots.

If you want to find out more about the process of getting a hair transplant and how it could work for you, get in touch.

We’ll give you a no-obligation consultation where you can decide whether this is the right decision for you first before you have to make any final decisions.

Book your free consultation with Wimpole Clinic today.

 

References:

 

[1] https://www.americanhairloss.org/men_hair_loss/introduction.html 

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557634/ 

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4171668/ 

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6388756/ 

[5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24411083/ 

[6] https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-64364/dutasteride-oral/details/list-sideeffects 

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5023004/ 

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5346286/ 

 

Dr. Michael May (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by Dr. Michael May (FRCS)Updated on May 26, 2022
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.
Dr. Michael May (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Michael May (FRCS)
Updated on May 26, 2022

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