Dutasteride vs finasteride for male androgenetic alopecia: A full comparison
Dutasteride and finasteride are very similar drugs used to reduce hair loss and stimulate hair growth, but what are their differences? Keep reading to find out!
Table of Content:
Male androgenetic alopecia | Follicular miniaturization | Similarities | Differences | Side effects | Warnings | Finasteride | Dutasteride | FAQ
Our commitment to producing high-quality content:
The information presented in this article is based on scientific research and the professional advice of our Content Medical Reviewers, who are experts in the field of Dermatology. How we write our content →
In this article, we will explore the similarities and differences between dutasteride and finasteride, two commonly prescribed medications used for hair loss in men. We will also dive into the effectiveness of each drug in treating this condition, as well as their potential side effects and drawbacks.
Understanding the similarities and differences between these and other medications (such as minoxidil) for androgenic alopecia can help you and your online dermatologist to make informed decisions about your treatment options.
What is male androgenetic alopecia?
Male androgenetic alopecia (also known as male pattern baldness) is a common type of hair loss that affects 30-50% of men by age 50. It occurs in a reproducible pattern, causing hair loss in the temples, vertex, and mid frontal scalp. It is hereditary, which means genetics account for approximately 80% of predisposition1.
Although it is not considered a serious dermatological condition, it can significantly impact a person’s self-image and may lead to depression. Besides, research shows that it has also been associated with arterial stiffness and cardiovascular disease2.
Androgens play a significant role in hair loss, causing an alteration in hair cycle development, inflammation and follicular miniaturization3.
Request a prescription for finasteride or dutasteride for hair loss!
Get rid of hair loss and request a personal treatment plan from one of our affiliated dermatology providers. Let them know if you have a specific medicine in mind.
What is follicular miniaturization?
Follicular miniaturization is a condition where hair follicles shrink in size over time, resulting in thinner and weaker hair strands that eventually stop growing altogether. This process is caused by a combination of genetic and hormonal factors that affect the hair follicles’ sensitivity to androgens, particularly dihydrotestosterone (DHT)4.
Follicular miniaturization is a gradual process that can take years to become noticeable. It typically starts in the frontal hairline or crown of the scalp and progresses to other areas of the scalp over time.
While follicular miniaturization is often permanent there are some treatments, such as the ones discussed in this article, that can help slow down or even reverse the process in some cases5.
How does finasteride and dutasteride help with follicular miniaturization?
Finasteride and dutasteride block the conversion of testosterone into DHT which causes hair follicles to miniaturize, leading to hair loss. By reducing DHT levels in the body, finasteride and dutasteride help to slow or even reverse the process of follicular miniaturization6 7 .
Similarities between finasteride and dutasteride
Finasteride and dutasteride are both oral prescription medications used to treat male androgenetic alopecia and benign prostate hyperplasia (enlarged prostate). They both work similarly by reducing the levels of DHT in the body which regulates abnormal prostate growth, reduces hair loss, and stimulates hair growth8 9 .
Both products have similar prices and are covered by most commercial insurance health plans, besides they can both be used in combination with topical minoxidil to maximize hair growth.
Finasteride vs dutasteride: what are the differences?
While finasteride and dutasteride work in similar ways, dutasteride is slightly more potent since it blocks more of the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT)10.
Another important difference is that for some reason, only finasteride is FDA- approved for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia while dutasteride is used as an off-label treatment.
Side effects of dutasteride and finasteride
Common side effects of finasteride and dutasteride
Finasteride and dutasteride may cause similar side effects.
- Decreased libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Decreased semen volume
- Gynecomastia (enlarged breasts)
However, once treatment is stopped, these side effects will disappear and hair loss may continue15 16.
Uncommon side effects of finasteride and dutasteride
- Lumps, swelling or pain in your chest area
- Discharge from your nipples
Warning and precautions of finasteride and dutasteride
Finasteride and dutasteride pills should be swallowed as whole tablets and not crushed or chewed. They should also be taken at the same time each day.
It is very important that your online dermatologist checks your progress to ensure the medicine works, and if you should continue taking it. Your doctor may recommend you have some blood and urine tests to check for unwanted effects.
Women and children should not use this medicine. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not handle these tablets as these ingredients may be absorbed through the skin and may cause birth defects in babies. If a woman comes in contact with this medicine, wash the affected area right away with soap and water18 19 .
Finasteride: brand names, price and formulations
Finasteride comes as 1 mg and 5 mg tablets and is sold as a generic medicine or with a brand name.
The price of finasteride is approximately $30 depending on the dose, pharmacy and coupons available and many commercial health insurances cover it.
- Proscar is a brand name for finasteride which comes as a 1 mg tablet
- Propecia is a brand name for finasteride which comes as a 5 mg tablet
Dutasteride: brand names, price and formulations
Dutasteride comes as 5 mg tablets and is sold as a generic medication or with the brand name of Avodart.
The price of dutasteride is similar to finasteride, approximately $30 depending on the pharmacy and coupons available and many commercial health insurances cover it.
Who can take finasteride and dutasteride?
Men with male pattern baldness who have a medical prescription from a healthcare provider, can safely use both medications, finasteride and dutasteride.
Who should not take finasteride and dutasteride?
Women and children should not take finasteride or dutasteride, especially pregnant and nursing women because these medications may cause harm to the baby.
How to get finasteride and dutasteride?
You need a doctor’s prescription to buy any of these medications. To get a prescription for finasteride or dutasteride, you will need to visit your doctor or to request an online dermatology consultation and ask for a prescription.
Do you need a prescription to buy finasteride and dutasteride?
Yes, both finasteride and dutasteride require a doctor’s prescription.
Can you buy finasteride and dutasteride online?
Yes. You can request a prescription online, using virtual dermatology service and pick up your medication at a local pharmacy.
How long does it take to see results from dutasteride or finasteride?
It may take up to a year or more for dutasteride to fully take action in terms of both reducing hair loss and promoting hair growth. However, some men may see improvement in hair growth as early as 3 months into treatment20.
After three to four months of usage, many men who take finasteride see slight improvements; nevertheless, “final” outcomes from finasteride therapy often take about a year to manifest21.
Request a finasteride or dutasteride prescription for hair loss!
If you are struggling with hair loss and are interested in getting effective treatment start a photo-based consultation now. Our affiliated dermatologists will make a personalized treatment plan. Let them know if you have a specific medicine in mind.