Restoring hair through a variety of options available is quite feasible nowadays. In the meantime, it’s equally important for patients to know what medication is involved in the process. This is because medication that helps you restore the lost hair can also potentially leave an impact on your health. One such oral medicine involved is “Dutasteride for Hair Loss.”
Though potential hair transplant patients have some fair/unfair ideas of Finasteride, Dutasteride has not gained much attention yet. This article will strive hard to make it easier for you to understand Dutasteride, its mechanisms, benefits and side effects. Stick till the end to bust the myths and preserve your health while restoring your Hair.
Dutasteride – How Does it Work?
Like finasteride, dutasteride belongs to a class of drugs known as 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. The role of Dutasteride is to inhibit the 5-alpha hormone that converts testosterone into DHT(Dihydrotestosterone), which is the primary cause of baldness(androgenetic alopecia) in males.
Breaking Down DHT and 5-alpha Reductase
DHT- It’s a hormone that attacks hair follicles that results in hair thinning, hair miniaturization and then closes the hair roots forever. The tendency of DHT to attack hair follicles is genetically predetermined. This is the only reason why genetics is the root cause of baldness amongst individuals.
5-Alpha Reductase- It is an Enzyme responsible for converting Testosterone into DHT in various tissues, including the scalp.
Breaking Down Dutasteride vs Finasteride
Now you might think, if both the medicines are used to combat hair loss by blocking the DHT hormone, then which one should you choose for optimal results? The decision to choose one of the two has to be made while knowing the efficacy of both the drugs and, importantly, the doctors’ advice.
Here is a list below, bifurcating the effects of both medicines
- There are two main isoenzymes of 5-Alpha reductase(Type I and Type II). While Finasteride inhibits only Type II, Dutasteride inhibits both of these isoenzymes.
- Dutasteride remains in the blood for 28 days, while finasteride stays only for 6-8 hours.
- While both of these drugs are used in treating Prostate enlargement(BPH), only Finasteride was USFDA-approved for Androgenetic Alopecia(Baldness) back in 1997.
- Dutasteride is approved by the USFDA for use in Benign prostatic hyperplasia(BPH) and not for Androgenetic Alopecia.
- The ability of Dutasteride is threefold in inhibiting 5AR type II compared to finasteride and 100-fold superior in inhibiting 5AR type I.
- It blocks 90% of DHT compared to 70% by Finasteride.
- Finasteride is an early invented drug which is more scientifically and thoroughly studied than dutasteride.
Side Effects of Dutasteride in Males
Although, there are more advantages of Dutasteride in comparison to finasteride. But the things that come with many benefits have major drawbacks as well. The side effects of finasteride are rare and reversible upon stopping the use. However, using dutasteride for hair loss, there are higher chances that you may experience:
Sexual Side Effects – Dutasteride stops testosterone from getting converted into DHT. We know DHT is a potent form of testosterone that’s crucial for maintaining normal sexual function, including libido (sex drive) and erectile function. So, by altering the regulation of these male hormones, it can potentially lead to sexual side effects like low sexual drive, a decrease in sperm count and, in some cases, erectile dysfunction.
Note: As Dutasteride remains in the bloodstream for 28 days, the side effects, if experienced, will take approximately one month to cure. While side effects of finasteride(rarest) will stay only for 6-8 hours.
Allergic Reactions- Allergic reactions of Dutasteride are rare, but it is wise to seek medical attention in case you feel swelling on face, rash or itching or difficulty breathing.
Breast-related Side Effects- You may notice any unusual changes in breasts while taking dutasteride, like sensitivity or discomfort in the breast and an increase in breast size, which is very uncommon.
Other Common Side Effects- The other side effects can be body weakness, headache, runny or stuffy nose.
Note: Dutasteride is not the first line of treatment for Hair Loss. Firstly, finasteride is given. If the satisfactory result is not visible in the first year then Dutasteride is considered. Beware that Dutasteride changes the sperm morphology and its characteristics and also decreases the sperm count.
The half-life of dutasteride is 28 days, whereas the Half-Life of Finasteride is 6-8 hours.
Dutasteride presence in the Bloodstream
0.25mg – after 28 days
0.12’5mg- after 56 days
0.6’25mg- after 74 days
0.3’12mg- after 102 days
0.1’56mg- after 130 days
Which is better for Hair Loss, Dutasteride or Finasteride?
If we talk about controlling hair loss due to androgenetic alopecia, unquestionably, finasteride is the first line of treatment. It stops progressive baldness with no side effects in 98% of patients. Although Dutasteride is more potent and effective, its potential side effects behind the curtain are comparatively much higher than those of Finasteride. So, it is best to avoid it whenever possible. Also, individual responses to both of these medicines may vary, so it is a must to consult your healthcare professional before making a decision.
Note: Dutasteride and Finasteride will only add to the growth of existing hair and control progressive baldness. They are not consumed for Hair Regrowth.
Natural Alternatives to Finasteride and Dutasteride for Hair Loss
Turmeric/Curcumin – A main ingredient in the Kitchen that has anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used in India to cure wounds since ancient times. There has been a lot of research and clinical studies on it that claim turmeric works wonders to relieve swelling. Now, what’s the link of DHT with Swelling? Whenever any part of an organ is damaged, like in cancer, or kidney failure, some agents attack the cells of that organ and cause swelling. Then, within that swelling, some chemical is released that damages the cells.
In the case of Hair, the cells inside the dermal papilla(hair roots) that help in hair growth are attacked and killed by DHT by causing swelling over it. The chemical responses damage the cells gradually which leads to lesser hair counts and hair thinning.
The use of turmeric with milk or other ways can be helpful in combating the swelling.
Saw Palmetto – It is a plant that has seeds, of which many studies have been conducted, and various solutions have been made using it. A lot of companies have patents for solutions using saw palmetto, mainly because of its proven ability to block DHT. This makes it a go-to for treating androgenetic alopecia, and the best part is that it comes with no side effects.
Pumpkin seeds – Known as a superfood that contains a number of vitamins, protein, fat and carbohydrates, they have DHT-blocking properties as per preclinical studies.
Onion – The antioxidant quercetin in onions has anti-DHT effects that help in combating hair thinning. Onion seed oil, known for reducing stress in cells, eases swelling in hair root cells. By preventing cell damage, it helps maintain healthy hair and prevents thinning.
Now, one important question in your mind is, if these food items block DHT, do they also have sexual side effects? The answer is No! In the case of plant-based DHT blockers, the mechanism of DHT never leads to any sexual side effects. The way these alternatives limit the effects of androgenetic alopecia does not cause sexual side effects.
Also, it is important to note that many drugs that come into the market have gone through a lot of research, and still, that research is not sufficient. There might be other unknown side effects of finasteride and dutasteride as well.
The use of Finasteride or Dutasteride for Hair Loss is generally complemented with Hair Transplant. When a person goes for Hair Transplant, it is advised to take these oral medicines to maintain the existing hair only. This is because the Transplanted Hair are DHT-proof, so they will always remain permanent. The other multivitamins, minoxidil and DHT blockers are suggested to improve and maintain the existing hair. A Hair Transplant without Finasteride or Dutasteride may restart the recurrence of progressive hair loss. If you notice any signs of genetic hair loss, receding hairline or crown depletion, it is best to consult a Hair Doctor.