The most commonly prescribed form of dutasteride is the dutasteride 0.5 mg capsule. Currently the medication is FDA approved to treat a common condition in aging men called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or an enlarged prostate. In BPH patients, it shrinks the size of the prostate gland, which typically improves urinary flow. But the medication has also been shown to be a powerful tool in treating male pattern hair loss.
Dutasteride has not been approved in the USA or Canada for hair loss at any dosage but can be prescribed off-label at a dose of 0.5 mg to treat hair loss in men and less frequently, pattern hair loss or cicatricial (scarring) alopecia in women. Below, we’ll cover the cost and side effects of dutasteride 0.5 mg, as well as the best time to take this medication to prevent thinning hair. We’ll also male sure to review potential side effects of the dutasteride 0.5 mg capsule and key safety considerations.
What does the dutasteride 0.5 mg capsule treat?
Dutasteride oral tablets (or capsules) are primarily used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and androgenetic hair loss. It’s closely related to finasteride and both medications are designed to help lower levels of the male hormone, DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which is a causal factor in both balding and prostate gland enlargement.
Studies have shown that dutasteride is capable of reducing blood DHT levels by about 90% (Shanshanwal and Dhurat, 2017). This dramatic decrease is due to the medication’s inhibition (or blockade) of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase that normally transforms circulating testosterone into DHT. Lowered DHT levels stop a process called follicular miniaturization from happening, which can damage hair follicles and stop hair production. They also affect the growth rate of prostate cells, helping to control the size of the prostate gland.
Dutasteride’s higher potency compared to finasteride mean that it may be a better option for men or women experiencing more advanced hair loss. It’s typically prescribed at a dose of 0.5 mg (once daily, oral), but can also be taken at lower doses that include 0.125 mg or 0.25 mg, depending on the patient.
Topical forms of dutasteride (i.e. compounded treatments that can be applied directly to the skin) do not have set concentrations. The dosing recommendations for these kinds of treatments will depend on the patient’s needs as well as factors like the characteristics and ingredients of the compounding base. A good example is SiloxysSystem™ Gel, a highly advanced medication delivery system, that was designed to help reduce the absorption of ingredients like dutasteride into the body.
What is the price of dutasteride 0.5 capsules?
The price of dutasteride will depend on where you purchase the medication and whether you’re buying the branded version (i.e. Avodart™) or generic versions. Generic dutasteride typically costs less than the branded form, but prices can vary considerably by country, state and province. Pricing standards can even change over time as a certain medication becomes more widely prescribed. If you’re worried, we recommend that you talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the potential costs of dutasteride treatment.
When is the best time to take dutasteride 0.5 mg?
When it comes to the timing of dutasteride doses, you should follow the instructions provided to you by your doctor carefully. Oral dutasteride can be taken in the morning or in the evening, but preferably on an empty stomach since food can lower the absorption of dutasteride by about 10-15%.
As for when to start dutasteride treatment for hair loss, the general recommendation is that early intervention is the best prevention against progressive hair loss conditions like androgenetic alopecia. Studies on identical twins with the same risk for developing hair loss have shown that taking a medication like dutasteride can significantly halt balding in its tracks (Stough, 2007). To get started, talk to your doctor or start a consultation through XYON Health to get connected with a licensed healthcare professional.
Important safety considerations for dutasteride 0.5 mg
Taking oral dutasteride does come with some risks. Its dramatic effect on blood DHT concentrations can occasionally result in sexual side effects such as decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory disorders and lower semen volume or motility. It can also cause breast swelling or tenderness. These effects are rare, affecting about 1-10% of men taking this medication and most reports of side effects of dutasteride occur in the first 6 months of treatment.
Clinical studies have documented a small increased risk of high-grade prostate cancers in men who have taken dutasteride (Monga et al., 2013). Men with a family history of prostate cancer, or who have elevated PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels should be appropriately screened and counselled prior to starting dutasteride. If you move forward with treatment, your doctor will recommend a PSA testing frequency appropriate for your level of risk to ensure adequate surveillance.
Dutasteride and risk in pregnancy
Extra precautions need to be taken by female patients considering dutasteride treatment. Dutasteride’s DHT-lowering effects can be beneficial for hair loss, but cause harm to a developing male fetus. Women planning to conceive must not use dutasteride and women of childbearing age who wish to go on dutasteride must use appropriate methods of contraception to avoid becoming pregnant.
Dutasteride 0.5 mg capsule: Takeaway
At a dose of 0.5 mg, dutasteride can treat BPH and pattern hair loss. The medication exerts its effects by dramatically lowering concentrations of DHT in the body, preventing hair loss from worsening and allowing hair follicles a chance to progress through the hair growth cycle uninterrupted. Lower dosages of dutasteride are possible, but whether this is warranted will depend on your doctor’s assessment of your needs.
The cost of the 0.5 capsule can differ depending on whether you choose to use the branded or generic form of the medication and the best time to start taking dutasteride is sooner, rather than later. There are some safety risks to be aware of, so make sure you discuss the potential side effects of dutasteride with your doctor before starting treatment.