One drug that has been popularly prescribed by physicians for treating hair loss is Finasteride. It is also referred to as Propecia. However, another drug known as Dutasteride or Avodart also blocks dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone that causes male pattern hair loss. Some physicians prescribe Dutasteride for male pattern hair loss as an off-label treatment, but many physicians hesitate to do so because of the potency of this drug.
According to a research study that was carried out by Olsen et al. under stringent clinical scientific conditions, Dutasteride turned out to have greater effect for hair growth on the affected area of the scalp as compared to Finasteride. The amount of hair increased almost three times. During the study, a total of 416 men with hair loss, aged between twenty five and forty six, were treated for twelve to twenty four weeks. In two weeks, Dutasteride lowered DHT level by 90 percent, whereas Finasteride lowered the DHT level by 70 percent.
Finasteride vs Dutasteride – How do these drugs work?
The active ingredient in Dutasteride and Finasteride inhibits the enzyme 5 alpha reductase, which is responsible for converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. This enzyme is classified into Type I and Type II. Finasteride blocks the type I form of the enzyme, while Dutasteride blocks both types of the enzyme.
Dutasteride is three times more potent than Finasteride when it comes to inhibiting Type I 5 alpha reductase. It is also a hundred times more potent at inhibiting type II 5 alpha reductase. The increased potency of Dutasteride increases the risk of users experiencing adverse reactions.
The type 2 form of 5 alpha reductase is mainly found in the hair follicle. The type 1 form of the enzyme is mainly found in the sebaceous glands and scalp. When 5mg of Finasteride is taken per day, it reduces sebum DHT by seventy one percent and scalp DHT by thirty eight percent. When 0.5 mg of Dutasteride is taken per day, the drug reduces sebum DHT by ninety one percent and scalp DHT by fifty four percent.
With these results, it is easy to assume that Dutasteride is significantly more effective in treating male pattern baldness than Finasteride. Nonetheless, the type 1 form of 5 alpha reductase that Dutasteride blocks is not present in huge concentrations in the hair follicles. Therefore, the results may not be as substantial as one would expect.
When seeking to battle male pattern hair loss, it is not appropriate to use Dutasteride as your first line of attack. The results show that there is no huge difference between Finasteride and Dutasteride, even though there is a notable difference in the effectiveness of the treatments. For many men, the relative effectiveness of Dutasteride is not worth the risk of experiencing serious side effects. Most men can respond well to Finasteride and it is the right drug to use initially when treating male pattern baldness.