Dutasteride and Finasteride are both 5-alpha reductase inhibitor medications that can help reduce the amount of DHT (dihydrotestosterone) in the scalp to fight hair loss. And, both Dutasteride and Finasteride are commonly prescribed in the US for either hair loss or prostate issues in men.
These two medications seem to have a lot in common when looking at their basic function and what they are prescribed for, so just what is the difference between them?
Below, we will cover some of the main differences and similarities between these two medications and help you understand why one may be used over the other.
Finasteride is FDA approved for the treatment of both male pattern hair loss (or androgenic alopecia (AGA)), as well as an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)).
The brand name of Finasteride for male pattern hair loss is Propecia and comes in a 1mg tablet, and the brand name for Finasteride for an enlarged prostate is called Proscar and comes in a 5mg tablet.
This differs from Dutasteride, which is only currently FDA approved for benign prostatic hyperplasia in the US under the brand name Avodart in a 0.5mg strength. While Dutasteride is approved for use in treating male hair loss in other countries, it is not currently FDA approved for hair loss in the US.
However, doctors in the US commonly prescribe Dutasteride off-label for hair loss in men.
Finasteride was released as Proscar in 1992 for BPH, and was later FDA approved for hair loss under the name Propecia in 1997. Dutasteride was released in 2001 under the name Avodart for use as a BPH treatment.
So, Finasteride has been around significantly longer than Dutasteride, meaning that it has a little more data and long-term trials under its belt for the male pattern hair loss indication.
The strength normally prescribed for hair loss treatment with these medications also commonly differs.
Finasteride is normally prescribed as a 1mg oral tablet to be taken once daily for hair loss, while Dutasteride is commonly prescribed as a 0.5 mg oral tablet to be taken once daily for hair loss.
However, since Dutasteride is not formally approved for hair loss, the amount prescribed for hair loss, or the schedule of the dosages may vary depending on your doctor’s discretion.
Sometimes, you may also see Finasteride and Dutasteride prescribed as a topical gel application with varying dosages, like our compounded hair formulas here at Strut Health.
One of the biggest differences between Dutasteride and Finasteride is just how strongly they block DHT in the body.
DHT is known to be a culprit in androgenic alopecia, and can cause hair follicles to shrink and fall out -- leading to male pattern hair loss.In patients taking a 0.5mg oral dosage of Dutasteride, their blood levels of DHT fell by over 90%, while those who were taking a 5mg oral dose of Finasteride only had their DHT blood levels drop by about 70%.
This study suggests that Dutasteride is much more effective at blocking DHT than Finasteride, even when a much lower dose is taken.
Both Finasteride and Dutasteride have been found to be effective for treating hair loss in men with androgenic alopecia.
But, some studies have shown that Dutasteride may perform better than Finasteride for hair loss when comparing the two medications head to head.
One study comparing hair counts and photographs after treatment with one of the two medications concluded that Dutasteride had better efficacy in treating androgenic alopecia than Finasteride, and that they had similar rates of adverse reactions.
The half-life, or how long the medication stays in your body, is also very different when comparing these two medications.
For both of these medications, there is a rare chance of side effects, including sexual side effects like erectile dysfunction, ejaculation disorders, decreased sex drive, breast enlargement or tenderness, although these may only occur in a small percentage of users and normally reverses once the medication is stopped.
Speak with your doctor about the pros and cons of using any medication in order to help identify the best treatment for you.
Topical applications for hair loss like compounded scalp gels containing Finasteride or Dutasteride may help reduce the amount of medication getting throughout the entire body and may help reduce the risk of side effects while still being effective for hair loss, although more studies need to be done on topical applications to verify this.
Dutasteride and Finasteride are very similar medications, although they have some key differences.
Finasteride was on the market before Dutasteride and is FDA approved for both androgenic alopecia and benign prostatic hyperplasia, while Dutasteride is currently only approved for benign prostatic hyperplasia.
However, Dutasteride is still commonly prescribed for male pattern hair loss off-label. Finasteride is normally used in a 1mg oral once-daily dosage, while Dutasteride is commonly prescribed in a 0.5 mg oral once-daily dose.
Dutasteride is stronger at blocking DHT formation than Finasteride, and may work better for improved hair regrowth.
If you are interested in seeing if Dutasteride or Finasteride oral or topical formulations are a good fit for your hair loss goals, you can have a 10-15 minute free online consultation with our US licensed doctors today.
If you are a good candidate for treatment for your hair loss, your medication can be shipped to your front door with our free 2-day shipping.