Have you tried all available treatments for hair loss? Couldn't seem to find any that can help and you stumbled upon Avodart?
Avodart (Dutasteride) claims to help in hair loss. Is it something you should consider?
We look into this drug in detail. We include research, results, side effects, etc.
We're not medically trained. All the information indicated below are based on research and opinions. You should not take them as advice.
What is Avodart (Dutasteride)
Avodart is a brand name for the generic term, Dutasteride. So, they are usually used interchangeably. Glaxo Smith Kline markets Avodart in gel capsules at a 0.5mg dosage of Dutasteride.
What does it mean?
It is to inhibit the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It's primarily used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Basically, to deal with enlarged prostates.
To be even more specific, it is a triple 5α-reductase inhibitor which inhibits all 3 forms of 5α-reductase, Types I, II and III. This would make Avodart a more potent drug to stop the conversion of Testosterone to DHT. We touch more on that later.
Some of you have heard about Avodart as an off-label cure for hair loss. It is important to know that the FDA only approves it for BPH and not for hair loss. Thus, you must exercise extreme caution around it.
Dutasteride vs Finasteride (Propecia)
Propecia or Finasteride is the only approved FDA drug apart from Minoxidil (Rogaine). Finasteride is known to only block Type 2 and 3 5α-reductase whereas Dutasteride blocks all 3 types of the enzyme. Think of it as a big brother. The more aggressive kind.
As for research, much less were done on dutasteride than on finasteride. So it is harder to determine the effectiveness and safety as a whole. You can see some of the results below.
Some users also complained that dutasteride has even worse side effects compared to finasteride.
In a 24-weeks study done to compare Dutasteride and Finasteride in the treatment of Androgenetic Alopecia (hair loss), a total of 917 men were randomized to receive dutasteride in dosages of 0.02, 0.1 or 0.5 mg/day, finasteride, and a placebo. The study recorded down the hair count, width, and health outcomes at baseline and after 24 weeks.
What were the results?
The participants who took 0.5 mg Dutasteride had increased hair count, width and improved hair growth at the 24-week mark, as compared to the participants who took finasteride. The number of adverse events was also similar to the treatments of all groups.
Other studies also show positive results of 0.5 dosage dutasteride aiding in growing hair.
The pills are expensive. A quick check online shows that 30 tablets would cost from $137.75 to $234.32.
This is extremely costly to us. Don't forget that you'll be on it for a very long time if you decide that this would serve you well.
You need a prescription to be able to get the pills.
Women and children should never take this drug or come close to it as it can be absorbed through the skin.
The side effects of the drug are real, and some may say that it is far greater than finasteride.
Some of the side effects include:
- Decreased sex drive
- Abnormal ejaculation
Check here for a complete list.
As commented by some users, these side effects may linger on even if you stop taking the medication. This topic on Reddit is an excellent resource that you can look at if you intend or are already taking finasteride or dutasteride.
What Are Our Views?
If you've taken a look at our article on finasteride, you should roughly know what are our views on dutasteride.
Dutasteride is a much potent drug. In short, we don't recommend you taking Avodart at this stage when tests are not concrete.
The side effects of Avodart could very well dwarf Propecia. Sure, there may be positive results that show Avodart to be more effective in battling for baldness, but the downside is the side effects are not well documented.
With the higher chances of adverse sexual effects, would it be worth it to risk your health?
Note that Avodart is not a long-term or permanent solution, but the risks involved could very well be.
Approach your doctor to clarify further.
We understand how you feel if all these don't work out, but at least you tried. It's not the end of the world. There are far greater things in life.
Furthermore, your hair is just one small part of your appearance.
What's most important is your self-image. It is something that you can fully control.
What are your thoughts? Are you thinking of starting it? Or have tried Avodart before? Share your experiences with us. We would love to hear them.