Hair loss is a phenomenon experienced by over half of the male population. Although this has been experienced by men for centuries now, it is only lately that medicine has discovered how it happens and how it can be stopped.
They have found that the main culprit is the hormone called dihydrotestosterone or DHT. One can take drugs called 5-alpha-reductase to bring down DHT levels, like Finasteride and Dutasteride.
Let's look at some of these drugs' differences to help you decide wisely about your hair's health.
5-alpha-reductase inhibitors are a class of drugs that inhibit the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. This enzyme converts the hormone testosterone to another hormone called dihydrotestosterone or DHT.
High levels of this hormone are responsible for male pattern baldness in many men. One of these hormones' many targets is the hair follicle. They shrink the hair follicles around the head, which causes the hair to be brittle, making it fall off.
Moreover, it also shortens the hair growth cycle. When this happens, the hair underneath the skin dies without even coming to the surface. This results in the loss of hair in some regions of the scalp. This shows the characteristic loss of hair at the temple and the crown of the head.
Thus, inhibiting or blocking this hormone will stop the hair follicles from shrinking. We can achieve this by taking 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. Two of the most widely used 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors are Finasteride and Dutasteride.
Although this group of drugs is mainly prescribed for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate gland in men, it has broad systemic effects on the body. This includes the hair follicles, sebaceous glands, and other body parts.
Finasteride is the only 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor approved by the Food and Drug Administration or FDA for androgenetic alopecia or male pattern hair loss. In December 2007, 1 mg of Finasteride was approved as a treatment. This means enough evidence and clinical trials to support Finasteride's efficacy and safety as a treatment.
Dutasteride is also FDA-approved, but only for the treatment of BPH. However, this doesn't mean that Dutasteride is ineffective against hair loss. The studies and clinical trials examining Dutasteride's efficacy and safety are still insufficient. Thus, it can only be treated as an off-label prescription for male pattern baldness.
Finasteride is the first drug to be developed and approved for treating BPH. It began developing during the 1970s and received a patent a decade later. It was only in 1992 that it received its FDA approval for BPH. Besides, Finasteride also received FDA approval for treating androgenetic alopecia in 1997.
Meanwhile, Dutasteride is a relatively more recent drug. It received its patent only in 1996. After five years, it received its FDA approval as a treatment for BPH. Unlike Finasteride, it doesn't have FDA approval for treating male pattern baldness.
Because both essentially have the exact mechanism of action, Finasteride and Dutasteride can treat androgenetic alopecia symptoms in men. However, a few studies have shown that Dutasteride's use has resulted in more hair growth than the use of Finasteride.
In theory, Finasteride can block the conversion of 70% of DHT. Meanwhile, Dutasteride can block up to 90%. Thus, the more effective blocking of testosterone's conversion into DHT results in less DHT effect on the hair follicles. This allows the normal hair growth cycle to resume.
The difference between the half-lives of these drugs can also contribute to their efficacy. Finasteride's half-life is around 5 to 6 hours in men aged 18 to 60. Meanwhile, Dutasteride's half-life is significantly longer at 4 to 5 weeks. This means the latter is more available in the body for extended periods.
However, it doesn't conclude that Finasteride is an ineffective and inferior treatment. Finasteride has long been studied for its short-term and long-term effects on hair growth in men. It's also shown to have a good tolerability profile.
The choice of drug for male pattern hair loss doesn't solely depend on which one will promote more hair growth in a shorter period. There are plenty of factors that need to be considered. Discuss these with your healthcare provider to determine the best treatment option.
As with any other drug, both Finasteride and Dutasteride have side effects. However, they typically only affect a small population of users. Some disclosed side effects include rashes or hypersensitivity and breast enlargement & tenderness. However, the most commonly reported side effect is sexual dysfunction.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of these two drugs in men with androgenetic alopecia showed that the drugs show similar rates of adverse reactions, particularly in sexual dysfunction. This includes impotence, a decrease in libido, and ejaculation disorder.
In another study evaluating the sexual side effects of Finasteride and Dutasteride, it was found that Dutasteride 0.5 mg per day resulted in a greater incidence of adverse sexual effects than Finasteride.
However, despite it being a common side effect, it only affects less than 2% of the population in certain clinical studies. The side effects typically subside after intake. Besides, there is a need for further study regarding comparing the adverse sexual effects of these drugs.
Both Finasteride and Dutasteride are promising drugs in treating male pattern hair loss. However, the only FDA-approved drug is Finasteride. Dutasteride is showing up to be another promising drug, too. With more research and clinical trials, we hope Dutasteride can be approved as a hair loss treatment.
You can talk to our doctors about which is more suitable for your condition. Rest assured that either of these drugs is beneficial in treating male pattern hair loss.
Finasteride and Dutasteride are usually prescribed as a once-daily dose taken by mouth. You can take them with or without food. If ever you miss a dose, continue with your next dose. Don't take two doses to make up for the lost dose.
In Europe, you cannot buy Finasteride or Dutasteride over the counter. They are both only available with a doctor's prescription.
It is not recommended to take either of these drugs without medical supervision. Thus, sites like this will help you contact a medical provider for the appropriate prescription. Once you get a prescription, we can help you find an excellent lab to order your medication. The drugs will then arrive at your doorstep within a few days.
Ultimately, deciding which drug will suit you will rely on you and your physician alone. Thus, it is important to thoroughly discuss your doctor's concerns and questions when considering Finasteride or Dutasteride for hair loss.
Moreover, don't forget to disclose any medical conditions you have and the current medications you're taking. This ensures your doctor can help you choose the safest and most effective treatment.
Androgenetic alopecia, or male-pattern baldness, is a condition that affects over 50% of all men. Often, you would find various supplements and topical drugs claiming total cure. However, the reality is it is a reasonably tricky condition to treat. Moreover, no one magic cure will help one achieve instant results.
Over the years, physicians and scientists have devoted time to researching ways to alleviate hair loss in men. Let's look at the drug Dutasteride and explore its potential benefits for men with hair loss.
Dutasteride is a drug that mainly targets the prostate gland. It is sold primarily under the brand name Avodart. The drug affects the testosterone levels in the male's human body by blocking its production. The prostate gland's growth or increase in size mainly responds to testosterone signals. Thus, by blocking this hormone, the drug can reduce its enlargement.
This drug is commonly prescribed to patients suffering from Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) or an enlarged prostate. It can also prevent acute urinary retention or the inability to pee when the enlarged prostate gland presses on the bladder and ureters.
Hair loss or baldness may seem like a benign condition for many. This is probably because it's mostly a cosmetic concern. However, it causes significant distress to many men, especially if the condition appears early. Despite this, many are still to be studied about the mechanism of hair loss in men. Here are some of the well-studied causes of hair loss in males.
Believe it or not, stress does a great deal to our bodies overall. It can often cause temporary hair loss in men. This is often referred to as telogen effluvium. It's a condition wherein one experiences temporary hair loss from stress, shock, or trauma. Unlike other types of hair loss, telogen effluvium causes diffuse hair loss on the head.
Certain scalp disorders can cause significant hair loss in men. This includes fungal infections like ringworm. It can also be due to bacterial infections such as folliculitis. This can be managed by taking some antifungal and antibacterial medications. Oftentimes, hair loss is reversible.
Other scalp disorders affecting hair growth are seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, alopecia areata, etc. These are autoimmune diseases that affect the hair follicles in certain parts of the body. It can also affect both men and women.
Hormones also significantly affect hair growth and health in both men and women. The primary hormone in males is dihydrotestosterone or DHT, a byproduct of testosterone. The enzyme responsible for the production of DHT is alpha-reductase.
DHT, in itself, isn't a bad hormone at all. It's the hormone that makes one a male. It signals for the male genitals to develop and other male organs like the prostate gland. Secondary sexual characteristics like deepening of the voice are also DHT's doing. It also works with testosterone to form one's sexual behaviour and desires.
This hormone becomes a disadvantage when they are at high levels in the body. DHT is essentially an androgen. Androgens shrink the hair follicles, thus thinning out the hair in the area affected. It also results in poor health in the hair that grows within the hair, making it more brittle and easy to fall off. Moreover, it also shortens the hair growth cycle. They make it so short that some hairs aren't outside the scalp.
The majority of hair loss in men is due to a genetic component. This is commonly known as male pattern baldness. The characteristic appearance is hair loss at the scalp's vertex or the top of the head. Those with a genetic predisposition to baldness will start to show symptoms as early as 21 years old.
The mechanism also has to do something with hormones (previously discussed). However, some men are just born with a particular sensitivity to DHT. This is why some may not manifest with baldness despite high levels of DHT.
Male pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss in men. There is no specific cure for the condition. However, it is often treated with off-label medications like Dutasteride. Others may go on as far as getting hair transplant surgery.
Dutasteride is a drug that mainly inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. This is the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. Thus, by blocking this conversion, the drug can bring down DHT levels in the body. This gives the hair follicles enough time to recover and resume a typical hair growth cycle.
Although Dutasteride is a drug mainly used for prostate enlargement, its action is not on the prostate gland alone. It targets the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme in general. Thus, all these enzymes' effects on the body are also inhibited, particularly hair loss.
Dutasteride is a prescription drug used as an off-label medication for male hair loss. It would help if you didn't take Dutasteride without medical supervision. You may discuss taking it with your general practitioner to ensure it will be safe for you, especially if you have any existing medical conditions.
It will take at least three to six months of Dutasteride intake to see visible results. However, seeing its full effects will take at least a year. Often, this affects patients' compliance with the drug. It's essential to be patient and keep taking the medication to see visible results.
Several studies have shown Dutasteride's efficacy and safety in preventing and battling hair loss in men. When taken religiously, you can expect hair loss to improve and prevent its progression.
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