Dutasteride Against Hair Loss

Pete Scott, MD

This text was written according to the highest scientific standards and reviewed by medical experts. Find out more about our quality assurance.

Written by Erin D. Updated on 27 Feb 2024

Dutasteride is one of the go-to drugs to combat male pattern baldness. It’s usually prescribed to males suffering from advanced hair loss, who haven’t found success with other treatments, like finasteride. This article will explore how dutasteride helps work against hair loss, its potential side effects, and how much it costs. 

Most Important Findingssvg

How does it work? Blocks production of DHT
Side effects Decreased libido...
Who can take? Adult males
When first results? 3-month mark
Costs $12 - $14
Alternatives Finasteride, Minoxidil, hair transplant

How Does Dutasteride Work Against Hair Loss?

One of the major contributors behind male pattern baldness is the DHT (dihydrotestosterone) hormone. Primarily a sex hormone, an overabundance of DHT in the body can shrink your hair follicles, making them unable to produce hair. 

Dutasteride, like finasteride, inhibits 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme that’s responsible for converting testosterone to DHT. Effectively blocking the production of DHT. 

The table below contains a number of clinical studies that back up these claims with solid scientific evidence:

Study Result
Sujit J S Shanshanwal, Rachita S Dhurat et al (2017) 90 men with androgenetic alopecia were recruited and randomized to receive 0.5mg of dutasteride and 1mg of finasteride over a 24-week period. The dutasteride group showed a significant increase in hair growth, going from 223 hair per cm[2] to 246 per cm[2]. The finasteride group showed a slightly lower increase, going from 227 to 231.
Dow Stough et al (2007) The efficacy of dutasteride as a hair growth drug was compared with a placebo in 17 pairs of identical twins. One twin from each pair was given 0.5mg/day dutasteride for 12 months. Whereas the other was given the same amount of a placebo. After obtaining results through standardized clinical photographs and hair counts, researchers reported that dutasteride significantly improved hair growth at the 1-year mark compared to the placebo.
Elise A Olsen et al (2006) 416 men, aged 21 to 45, were randomized to receive 0.05, 0.1, 0.5, and 2.5mg doses of dutasteride daily over a 24-week period. A control group selected at random was given equal amounts of placebo. While all dutasteride groups showed a marked increase in hair growth and testosterone, the greatest increase was seen in the 2.5mg group.

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What are the possible side effects?

After numerous clinical studies and trials, researchers concluded that the side effects of dutasteride are almost identical to those of finasteride. We’ve mentioned each study, along with its findings, in the table below. 

Study Result
Rev Urol. et al (2004) This study reviews the existing literature on both dutasteride and finasteride’s sexual side effects. The results show that dutasteride can cause decreased libido, impotence, sexual dysfunction, and ejaculation disorders.
Jason M. Hirshburg et al (2016) 5mg: erectile dysfunction (3.4 to 15.8%), decreased libido (2.36 to 10.00%), ejaculation complications (0.9 to 5.7%).
Abdulmaged M. Traish et al (2020) Long-term reliance on dutasteride may prove to be dangerous. As the drug increases risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, dry eye disease, and kidney dysfunction.

Who Can Take Dutasteride?

Hair care experts and researchers believe that the use of dutasteride should be restricted to adult males. Specifically those males who haven’t found success in reducing their hair loss through milder drugs like finasteride or minoxidil. 

They also urge women and children to stay well away from the drug, as its continued use can interfere with fetal and child development. 

Only women going through a postmenopausal phase may be eligible to take the drug. Even then, they must consult their physician and take the drug under their supervision. 

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When Can I Expect The First Result?

In terms of lowering your DHT levels, dutasteride starts working from the very first dose. Unfortunately, the workings of the drug don’t translate into visible results until the 3-month mark. 

To explain it a bit better, we’ve broken up the full timeline into separate stages to show you exactly when you can expect to see the regrowth of your hair. 


1-3 Months

Hair loss patients are advised to take a single dose of dutasteride around the same time every single day to see the quickest effects. 

Provided you stay strong to this routine, you should start seeing lower DHT levels and higher testosterone levels almost immediately. During this period, your hair growth cycle should also catch up with your DHT levels. 

Leaving your hair in a prime spot to start showing signs of regrowth. However, you’ll still have to deal with some hair shedding throughout this period. 


3-6 Months

As soon as you cross the 3-month mark, you’ll start seeing early signs of hair growth. Your hair loss should also go down considerably at this point, allowing you to see sections of your crown filling up with new hair. 


6-9 Months

This is the period where hair loss should stop completely and be replaced by normal hair shedding. You should start seeing noticeable signs of hair regrowth and fuller, thicker hair all across your crown.  

Hair Growth Cycle

How Much Does Dutasteride Cost and Where Can I Buy It?

Dutasteride is strictly prescription medication, meaning you can only acquire it after getting a prescription made for it from a certified doctor. 

Specific prices for the drug vary from clinic to clinic. However, we have confirmed that branded dutasteride costs more than generic dutasteride. 

A 0.5mg, 30-tablet pack of branded dutasteride, also known as Avodart, starts from $14. On the other hand, the average cost of generic dutasteride is around $12 per 30 tablets.

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Dutasteride vs. Finasteride vs. Minoxidil

While dutasteride and finasteride are both drugs tailor-made to treat male pattern baldness, there are some marked differences between the two. These include differences in their efficacy, cost, and available quantities.  

Dutasteride Finasteride
Dutasteride inhibits both type 1 and type 2 isoenzymes of 5α-reductase, both of which are responsible for the production of DHT Finasteride inhibits only type 2 isoenzyme of 5α-reductase
Continued use of dutasteride leads to a 99% reduction in serum DHT levels Continued use of finasteride leads to a 70% reduction in serum DHT levels.
Available as 0.5 and 5mg tablets Available as 1 and 5mg tablets
Dutasteride Minoxidil
Specifically tailored to treat male pattern baldness Used for stop hair loss in both men and women
Dutasteride’s efficacy as a hair growth medication is significantly greater than Minoxidil. Minoxidil’s efficacy as a hair growth medication is significantly lower than Dutasteride.
Only available in pill form Available in both topical form and pill form
Using dutasteride can cause severe side effects like erectile dysfunction, lower sex drives, and skin disorders. Minoxidil can only cause minor side effects, including swollen ankles or feet, chest pain, and headaches.

What Are Other Alternative Treatments Against Hair Loss?

Unsurprisingly, Dutasteride isn’t the only drug used to treat hair loss or promote hair growth. Both finasteride and Minoxidil are known substitutes for dutasteride, and both are known to be greatly effective in reducing hair loss. 

In fact, doctors tend to recommend finasteride and minoxidil to their patients first and only suggest using dutasteride if both drugs fail to provide results. 

Minoxidil is a predominantly topical treatment that’s used to treat milder forms of alopecia and telogen effluvium. 

Finasteride on the other hand, like dutasteride, is used to specifically treat male pattern baldness. The drug is only available in pill form. 

Hair transplants, however, still remain the quickest way to regrow hair in balding regions of the scalp. Plus, getting a transplant is a one-time cost that may not cost you too much if you decide to travel to Turkey or some other country for the procedure. 

Growth after hair transplantation

Frequently Asked Questions

Are dutasteride results permanent?

How dangerous is dutasteride really?



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