Hair loss is a phenomenon experienced by over half of the men’s population. Although this has been experienced by men for centuries now, it is only lately that medicine discovered how it happens and how it can be stopped.
They have found that the main culprit is the hormone called dihydrotestosterone or DHT. To bring down DHT levels, one can take drugs called 5-alpha-reductase like Finasteride and Dutasteride. Let’s take a look at some of these drugs’ differences to help you make a wise decision with regards to your hair’s health.
5-alpha-reductase inhibitors are a class of drugs that inhibit the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. This enzyme is responsible for converting the hormone testosterone to another hormone called dihydrotestosterone or DHT.
High levels of this hormone are responsible for male pattern baldness seen in many men. One of this hormone’s many targets is the hair follicle. They shrink the hair follicles around the head, which causes the hair to be brittle, making them fall off.
Moreover, it also shortens the hair growth cycle. When this happens, the hair from underneath the skin already dies without even coming to the surface. This results in the loss of hair in certain areas 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 the condition of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate gland in men, it has wide systemic effects in the body. This includes the hair follicles, sebaceous glands, and other parts of the body.
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 of 2007, a 1 mg dose of Finasteride was approved as a treatment. This means that there are 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. It just means that the studies and clinical trials examining Dutasteride’s efficacy and safety are still insufficient. Thus, it can only be given as a treatment for male pattern baldness as an off-label prescription.
Finasteride is the first drug to be developed and approved for the treatment of BPH. It began development during the 1970s and subsequently received a patent a decade later. It was only in 1992 when it received its FDA approval for BPH. Besides, Finasteride also received FDA approval for the treatment of 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 a treatment for male pattern baldness.
Because both essentially have the same mechanism of action, both Finasteride and Dutasteride can treat the symptoms of androgenetic alopecia in men. However, a few studies have shown that the use of Dutasteride has resulted in more hair growth than the use of Finasteride.
In theory, Finasteride is able to block the conversion of 70% of DHT. Meanwhile, Dutasteride is able to block up to 90%. Thus, the more effective blocking of testosterone’s conversion into DHT results in less effect of DHT 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 years old. Meanwhile, Dutasteride’s half-life is significantly longer at 4 to 5 weeks. This means that the latter is more available in the body for a more extended period of time.
However, it doesn’t conclude that Finasteride is an ineffective and inferior treatment. In fact, Finasteride has long been studied in its short-term and long-term effect 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 of time. There are plenty of factors that need to be considered. It is best to discuss these with your healthcare provider so you can arrive at 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 of the 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 compared to 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. In addition, there is a need for further study with regards to the comparison of the sexual adverse 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 can hope that Dutasteride can also be approved as a treatment for hair loss.
You can talk to our doctors about which one is more suitable for your condition. Rest assured that either of these drugs is beneficial in treating male pattern hair loss.
Both Finasteride and Dutasteride are usually prescribed as a once-daily dose that is taken by mouth. You can take them with or without food. If ever you miss a dose, just continue on 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 get in touch with a medical provider so you can get the appropriate prescription. Once you get a prescription us, we can assist you with finding an excellent lab to order your medication. The drugs will then arrive at your doorstep within a few days
Ultimately, the decision of which drug will be suited better for you will rely on you and your physician alone. Thus, it is important to thoroughly discuss your concerns and questions with your doctor when considering Finasteride or Dutasteride for hair loss.
Moreover, don’t forget to disclose any medical conditions you have, as well as the current medications you’re taking. This is to ensure your doctor can help choose the safest and most effective treatment for you.
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 fairly difficult condition to treat. Moreover, there is no one magic cure that 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 take a look at the drug Dutasteride and explore its potential benefits for men who suffer from hair loss.
Dutasteride is a drug that mainly targets the prostate gland. It is sold mostly 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’s 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, but 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. Contrary to other types of hair loss, telogen effluvium causes diffuse loss of hair on the head.
Certain scalp disorders can cause significant hair loss in men. This includes fungal infection 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, the hair loss is reversible.
Other scalp disorders that may affect 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. For these conditions, you may talk to your dermatologist to discuss the management.
Hormones also greatly affect hair growth and health in both men and women. The primary hormone involved 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. In fact, it’s the hormone that makes one a male. It signals for the male genitals to develop, as well as 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 affect the hair follicles by shrinking them, thus thinning out the hair in the area affected. It also results in poor health in the hair that grows within the hair, which makes them more brittle and easy to fall off. Moreover, it also shortens the hair growth cycle. In fact, they make it so short that some of the hairs don’t even make it 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 of this is the loss of hair at the vertex of the scalp or the top of the head. Those who possess 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 more typical hair growth cycle.
Although Dutasteride is a drug that’s 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 enzyme’s effects in the body are also inhibited, particularly hair loss.
Dutasteride is a prescription drug and is used as an off-label medication for male hair loss. You shouldn’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, it will take at least a year to see its full effects. Often, this affects patients’ compliance with the drug. It’s essential to be patient and keep on taking the medication to see visible results.
Several studies have already 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. Talk to your healthcare provider now about taking Dutasteride and enhance the health and appearance of your hair.