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Finasteride vs. Dutasteride: Which Is Better for Hair Loss?

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No one likes losing their hair, but thankfully modern medicine has helped those suffering from male pattern baldness find treatments that can halt or even reverse hair loss. While there are many different therapies available, the two most commonly used medications to treat male pattern baldness are finasteride and dutasteride.

When your hair starts to thin and fall out, there are a few things you can do to try and stop the loss. One important step is to see your doctor for a diagnosis of male pattern baldness and get started on treatment. Once you have begun taking medication, it's important that you continue with it as prescribed in order to achieve the best results possible.

Both finasteride and dutasteride work by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone). By preventing this conversion, both medications help prevent hair from falling out or becoming too weak to hold onto its follicles. While each drug has different side effects associated with them, most people find that finasteride is more effective in stopping hair loss and dutasteride has fewer side effects.

When it comes to choosing between the two medications, it's important to weigh each individual's benefit against their respective side effects. While both drugs have been shown to be helpful for male pattern baldness, finasteride may be better at preventing further loss of hair while dutasteride can help preserve existing hair follicles. Ultimately, the decision whether or not to use either medication depends on a person's specific needs and goals.

Read on to learn more about finasteride vs. dutasteride and which might be the best option for you.

What is Finasteride?

Finasteride is a prescription medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat male pattern baldness. It works by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone). By preventing this conversion, finasteride helps prevent hair from falling out or becoming too weak to hold onto its follicles.

Hair loss can be a frustrating and embarrassing problem, but with the help of finasteride, many people have found that it is possible to halt or even reverse hair loss. While there are other medications available for treating male pattern baldness, finasteride is by far the most commonly used medication and has been shown to be very effective in preventing further hair loss.

When your doctor prescribes finasteride, it is important that you take the medication as prescribed. Not taking the medication can lead to decreased hair growth and even more hair loss. It's also important to keep in mind that while Finasteride may be effective for stopping hair loss, it does not cure male pattern baldness or restore lost scalp tissue.

How does Finasteride Work?

Finasteride works by inhibiting the 5-alpha reductase enzyme. By doing so, finasteride helps prevent testosterone from being converted into DHT (dihydrotestosterone). As a result, hair loss may be prevented or reversed.

This complex process involves several steps:

  1. DHT binds to the androgen receptor, which is a protein that responds to testosterone in the hair follicle. This interaction causes the growth of new hairs and promotes their survival.
  2. Finasteride blocks this binding by interfering with the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, thus stopping DHT from causing any damage or promoting hair loss.
  3. The decrease in DHT levels results in less hair production overall as well as an improvement in texture and density (thickness).

While finasteride is a very effective medication for treating male pattern baldness, it should not be taken lightly. Not taking the medication as prescribed can lead to decreased hair growth and even more hair loss. Additionally, side effects can occur, including sexual problems and decreased libido. If you are considering taking finasteride, it is important to speak with your doctor about the potential benefits and risks involved.

Finasteride is available as a tablet under the brand names Propecia, Finasteride.

It is FDA-approved and widely used in countries around the world to treat male pattern baldness. If you're interested in trying finasteride, you can get a prescription without having to go through a doctor in person. Phoenix has virtual text-based appointments, so you don't even need to turn your camera on. Try our online services today!

The History of Finasteride

Finasteride is a medication used to treat hair loss and benign prostatic hyperplasia in men. It works by helping block the formation of DHT in your scalp and prostate, which can help stop or reverse hair loss. It’s also been used as a treatment for excessive hair growth in women and hormone therapy for transgender women.

Merck developed finasteride as a 5α-reductase inhibitor under the code name MK-906 starting in 1989. A team led by chemist Gary Rasmusson and biologist Jerry Brooks developed potential 5α-reductase inhibitors based on transition-state inhibitors, using an iterative process of molecular design, testing, and redesign.

Finasteride was the first finasteride implant used to treat prostate enlargement. It was approved by the FDA in 1992 and marketed by Merck under the brand name Proscar. In 1997, Merck obtained FDA approval for a second indication of finasteride (1 mg) as a treatment for male pattern hair loss, which was marketed under the brand name Propecia.

Finasteride is a 5α-reductase inhibitor that inhibits the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is the androgen responsible for hair loss in men. By blocking the formation of DHT, finasteride can help stop or reverse hair loss in some men.

Finasteride also has other effects on hormone levels. It increases levels of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone, which may lead to excessive hair growth in women and transgender women treated with finasteride.

What is Dutasteride?

Dutasteride's primary purpose is not to treat male pattern baldness, to treat DPH. Dutasteride is approved by the FDA as a drug to treat an enlarged prostate, not to treat hair loss. It works by blocking the conversion of testosterone into DHT in the prostate, which can slow down or stop hair loss.

DPH is a byproduct of the body's natural production of testosterone. When taken in combination with finasteride, dutasteride works to reduce DHT levels while also inhibiting 5-alpha reductase.

The prostate gland is a large, walnut-sized organ located just below the bladder in men. It produces an enzyme called prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which can be used to screen for prostate cancer. Dutasteride works by inhibiting PSA production and has been shown to reduce the risk of developing advanced prostate cancer in men who have elevated levels of PSA.

Dutasteride is not approved by the FDA to treat hair loss, but it is still widely used to treat male pattern baldness. Because dutasteride can reduce the levels of testosterone in the body, it may be helpful for some people who are struggling with hair loss and have difficulty managing their hormone levels. However, more research is needed before a definitive conclusion can be made about its use in treating hair loss.

How Does Dutasteride Work?

Dutasteride is not intended to treat male pattern baldness, but it does treat it. Dutasteride is primarily used to treat an enlarged prostate, but it has been found to be effective in treating male pattern baldness as well.

Dutasteride blocks the 5-alpha reductase enzyme just like finasteride does; however, dutasteride also inhibits the type 2 form of this enzyme. This dual inhibition results in a greater decrease in DHT levels and can be more effective than finasteride at reversing hair loss.

Dutaasteride is available as a tablet under the brand name Avodart.

It is not FDA-approved for treating male pattern baldness, but it is widely used for this purpose, only under a doctor's care. If you're interested in trying dutasteride, be sure to speak with your doctor about the potential benefits and risks involved.

The History of Dutasteride

Dutasteride was developed by GlaxoSmithKline and approved by the FDA in 2002 for the treatment of enlarged prostate. It is marketed as Avodart. In 2010, a study found that dutasteride was also effective in treating male pattern baldness, and it has been increasingly used off-label for this purpose since then.

Enlarged prostate and male pattern baldness are both caused by an overabundance of the hormone DHT. Blocking the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is one way to decrease DHT levels, and dutasteride is more effective than finasteride at doing this because it also inhibits the type 2 form of this enzyme.

When used to treat enlarged prostate, dutasteride blocks both the type 1 and type 2 forms of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme. This dual inhibition results in a greater decrease in DHT levels than finasteride can achieve, which is why dutasteride is sometimes more effective than finasteride in treating enlarged prostate in some cases

However, the long-term effects of using dutasteride to treat male pattern baldness are not yet known. It is not FDA-approved for this purpose, so it should only be used under a doctor's care.

Side Effects of Finasteride

Like any medication, finasteride has side effects that can occur while taking it. The most common side effects of finasteride include:


Hair Loss: While Finasteride is effective at preventing hair from falling out and may even reverse thinning hair, some people experience significant hair loss when starting the drug. It's important to keep in mind that this initial shedding will likely be followed by a gradual decrease in total hair count over time as your body adjusts to the medication. If you are concerned about how well your treatment is working or if you're experiencing excessive Hair Loss, please speak with your doctor.


DHT levels: Due to its ability to block 5-alpha reductase, finasteride can also increase DHT levels in the body. While this hormone is not directly linked to hair loss, it can be a cause of male pattern baldness if elevated levels are sustained over time. If you're concerned about your testosterone level or experience unwanted side effects from Finasteride (e.g., increased aggression or libido), speak with your doctor.


Reduced Sex Drive: One potential side effect of decreased sex drive due to finasteride therapy is reduced fertility in men. It's important to discuss any changes in sexual function with your doctor as soon as possible so that appropriate measures can be taken should this issue arise.


Decreased Bone Density: While there is currently no evidence that finasteride can lead to reduced bone density, research suggests that it may increase the risk of osteoporosis in men over time. If you're experiencing any concerns about your bone health, speak with your doctor before starting treatment and continue to monitor your progress closely.


While Finasteride has a number of side effects associated with it, most people find that these symptoms are mild or manageable when taken as prescribed by their doctor. When considering whether or not to take Finasteride for hair loss, be sure to discuss all potential risks and benefits with your physician, so you can make an informed decision.

Side Effects of Dutasteride

Dutasteride has a much lower incidence of side effects than finasteride. The most common side effects of dutasteride include:


Hair Loss: While Dutasteride is not as effective at stopping hair loss as Finasteride, it does have the ability to preserve existing hair follicles. If you're experiencing significant Hair Loss while taking dutasteride, situations may need to be made in order to maintain your current hairstyle or scalp length.


Erectile Dysfunction (ED): One potential side effect of using dutastreide therapy for male pattern baldness is ED. While this problem is relatively uncommon, if you experience difficulty achieving an erection due to Dutasteride, speak with your doctor.


Nausea and Vomiting: While dutasteride is generally well-tolerated by most people, some report experiencing nausea and vomiting while taking the medication. If you experience these side effects, it's important to discontinue the use of dutasteride and consult with a physician as soon as possible.


While both medications have their own set of side effects associated with them, finasteride typically has a much higher incidence of side effects than dutasteride. It's important to weigh each individual's benefit against their respective side effects when deciding which drug might be better for you.


Which Is Better For Hair Loss?

Finasteride blocks about 70 percentage of DHT, while dutasteride blocks ninety percent or more. This means that Dutasteride is more effective than finasteride in blocking the production of DHT, and can be more effective in reversing hair loss.

However, both medications have been found to be safe and effective in reversing hair loss. Though dutasteride has no long-term studies to prove its safety, nor is it approved by the FDA. These medications should only be taken under the care of a doctor.

This study from 2004 compared the efficacy and safety of finasteride vs dutasteride in men with male pattern baldness. Results showed that dutasteride was more effective than finasteride at blocking DHT production and hair loss, but both medications were found to be safe and effective.

It may be helpful to discuss with your doctor the pros and cons of each medication before deciding which is better for you. The side effects of finasteride and dutasteride can be similar, but they vary on a case-by-case basis, so it is important to be aware of these before starting either medication.

In general, both medications are safe and effective in reversing hair loss, but dutasteride is more effective at blocking DHT production.

Conclusion

Dutasteride is better at blocking DHT, while finasteride is more effective in preventing further hair loss in the long term. But both finasteride and dutasteride are effective in treating male pattern baldness, but each has its own set of side effects. While finasteride is more effective at preventing further hair loss, dutasteride can help preserve existing hair follicles. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use either medication depends on a person's specific needs and goals.

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This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.

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