Dutasteride is sometimes used off-label for hair loss, usually in men. Learn more about just how it works to help prevent male pattern hair loss.
Dutasteride is a medication that is in the same class as the popular hair loss medication Finasteride, and is also considered a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor.
Dutasteride was patented in 1993 and was released in 2001 under the brand name Avodart for the indication of an enlarged prostate, or BPH.
Dutasteride is currently only approved in the US for enlarged prostate treatment, although it is commonly prescribed by doctors off-label for use in male pattern hair loss.
Dutasteride is approved for hair loss treatment in other countries such as Japan and South Korea.
In the US, Dutasteride is a prescription-only medication, and you must have a visit with a doctor in person or via an online telemedicine visit in order to get a prescription for Dutasteride.
Dutasteride is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor medication. This means that Dutasteride helps block both type 1 and type 2 versions of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme.
This enzyme is responsible for converting some of the Testosterone in your body to a related hormone called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT in the scalp causes hair follicle shrinkage, and is a known culprit in the cause of androgenic alopecia, or male pattern hair loss.
So, by blocking the enzyme which normally converts Testosterone to DHT, the damaging effects to the hair follicles can be reduced or avoided.
Once DHT blocking has occurred in the scalp, this helps prevent additional hair losses by stopping the shrinking of hair follicles, and also gives the scalp a chance to potentially regrow some lost hair.
Dutasteride compares favorably to its same-class rival, Finasteride.
Both Finasteride and Dutasteride function by helping to block the conversion of Testosterone into DHT, but it turns out that Dutasteride may help block that conversion much more strongly than Finasteride. Dutasteride may reduce DHT serum concentrations by up to 95%, while Finasteride may only reduce the DHT serum concentrations by around 70%. This additional blockage of DHT formation in the blood may give Dutasteride a leg up over Finasteride when it comes to overall hair loss benefits.
One meta-analysis study looked at three different studies with a total of 576 participants taking either Finasteride or Dutasteride, and found that the Dutasteride treatment group had better hair counts, personal hair assessments, and photographic hair assessments at the end of the trials. It is also worth noting that the study had similar rates of side effects reported for the Finasteride and Dutasteride treatment groups, suggesting that Dutasteride may deliver more hair loss benefits without any higher rates of side effects.
Although, more studies need to be done to confirm this. Another popular hair loss medication, Minoxidil, is commonly used for male pattern hair loss. Minoxidil functions mainly by helping to improve hair regrowth by increasing blood flow to the scalp, rather than preventing hair loss caused by DHT like Dutasteride, so they are commonly used together to help give men a more well-rounded hair loss treatment. Since Minoxidil and Dutasteride have entirely different mechanisms, they are safely used together, and may result in better overall hair loss prevention and regrowth when paired up.
Dutasteride in its oral form is normally well tolerated by most users, but there is a small chance of side effects.
Less common side effects that may occur include reduced sexual interest, decreases in sperm amount, erectile dysfunction, testicle pain or swelling, increased breast size, breast tenderness, and in rare cases an increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer. Most patients that do experience sexual side effects find that they go away once the medication is stopped.
Topical formulations of Dutasteride may carry lower risks of developing side effects as less of the medication goes into your whole body circulation when the medication is applied only to the scalp, although more studies need to be done to verify this.
Dutasteride capsules and formulations should not be used or handled by women of childbearing age, or those who are pregnant, or breastfeeding, as Dutasteride can cause damage to a developing male fetus.
Read Related: Is Dutasteride Stronger Than Finasteride For Hair Loss?
Oral doses of Dutasteride generally start producing hair results after using the medication for 3-6 months. However, topical applications may differ from this timeline.
The medication needs to be used regularly, normally once daily, in order to achieve and maintain hair retention and growth benefits.
The hair results gained from the use of Dutasteride may revert if the medication is stopped, so Dutasteride for hair loss treatment is normally a long-term medication.
Here at Strut Health, we carry a wide range of prescription hair loss formulations for both men and women. It is important to choose a hair loss treatment based on each individual’s presentation as well as their hair goals and preferences.
So, we carry both oral and topical hair loss formulations, including topical and oral Dutasteride for men. You can have a free online questionnaire and image-based consultation with our doctors in 10-15 minutes to see if treatment with Dutasteride is a good option for your hair loss.
If you are a good candidate for treatment, your prescription medication can be shipped to your front door with our free shipping.