Dutasteride vs. Finasteride


What is Dutasteride?

Finasteride (Propecia) is a prescription drug used to treat male pattern baldness. It works by blocking the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT causes the growth of hair follicles in your scalp and elsewhere in your body. It can cause side effects such as acne, hirsutism (excessive facial hair growth), reduced libido, depression and other symptoms.

Why is it Important to Know About Dutasteride?

DHT is a known carcinogen. It is classified as a Group 2B human carcinogen because it is likely to cause DNA damage and mutations in cells of the skin, liver, testes, lungs and colon. DHT may also increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.

How Does Dutasteride Work?

The main active ingredient in finasteride (Propecia) blocks the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). All of the side effects are due to DHT. The increase in hair growth and decreased sexual function may be due to an increase in testosterone.

What are the Side Effects?

Serious adverse effects include swelling of the lips, hives, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the face, rash or sore throat.

How is it Different from Other Drugs?

Unlike finasteride, dutasteride (Avodart) does not just lower DHT, it stops both the manufacture and actions of DHT in the body. It lowers levels of DHT by as much as 98%. Even so, dutasteride can cause similar side effects such as less interest in sexual activity, problems with ejaculation and impotence.

Is the Hair Loss Permanent?

No, not always. The hair loss is NOT always permanent. There is a catch though. In order for your hair to grow back after using Propecia or Dutasteride, you must stop taking the medication. Not everyone experiences a re-growth of their hair, but many people have reported. It can take up to a year for your hair to start to re-grow after you stop taking the medication.

Should You Stop Taking Dutasteride?

If you’ve been taking dutasteride (and finasteride) for a while, your body has already built up a resistance to DHT. Some men have found that their hair loss decreases when they stop taking the medication after six to twelve months. The problem is that once you stop taking the drug, your DHT levels are high again.

Sources & references used in this article:

Comparison of dutasteride and finasteride for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia: the Enlarged Prostate International Comparator Study (EPICS) by JC Nickel, P Gilling, TL Tammela, B Morrill… – BJU …, 2011 – Wiley Online Library

… importance of dual 5α-reductase inhibition in the treatment of male pattern hair loss: results of a randomized placebo-controlled study of dutasteride versus finasteride by …, Dutasteride Alopecia Research Team – Journal of the American …, 2006 – Elsevier

Comparison of clinical trials with finasteride and dutasteride by JC Nickel – Reviews in urology, 2004 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

The effect of 5α-reductase inhibition with dutasteride and finasteride on semen parameters and serum hormones in healthy men by JK Amory, C Wang, RS Swerdloff… – The Journal of …, 2007 – academic.oup.com

Dutasteride vs finasteride: assessment of differences in acute urinary retention rates and surgical risk outcomes in an elderly population aged> or= 65 years by TC Fenter, EA Davis, MB Shah… – Am J Manag Care, 2008 – ajmc.s3.amazonaws.com

The effect of 5α-reductase inhibition with dutasteride and finasteride on bone mineral density, serum lipoproteins, hemoglobin, prostate specific antigen and sexual … by JK Amory, BD Anawalt, AM Matsumoto, ST Page… – The Journal of …, 2008 – Elsevier

Finasteride versus dutasteride: a real-world economic evaluation by M Eaddy – Am J Manag Care, 2007 – academia.edu