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What is Avodart and what is it used for?
Dutasteride (in Avodart) is an active agent in an oral medication that effectively treats genetic male pattern hair loss on the top of the head and the mid-scalp area. It is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.
Dutasteride was developed to treat symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men. Chemically similar to Finasteride - the active compound in Propecia - dutasteride has proven to be more effective in clinical trials. Like Propecia, dutasteride treats both male pattern hair loss and BPH.
During the first six months of treatment, you may observe some thinning of your existing hair. This may be due to the progression of your hair loss before dutasteride had a chance to work, or some shedding of miniaturized hair that makes way for the new hair growth. It is important to be patient during this period. As with other hair-loss medications, patients taking Avodart should expect to wait a year or more before evaluating Avodart’s effectiveness.
How does Avodart work?
Male pattern baldness (hair loss) is caused by a combination of genetic factors and the male hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone). Blocking the production of DHT reduces hair loss and increases the production of thicker hair.
The mode of action of Avodart is similar to Propecia. They both block the enzymes in the male body, 5-alpha reductase 1 and 2, that produce DHT. Propecia mainly blocks 5-alpha reductase 2 whilst Avodart blocks them both.
If you are going to have a prostate test, it is important to tell your doctor you are taking Avodart capsules. The unit of measurement for prostate measurement is your PSA or prostate-specific antigen levels and Avodart can reduce these levels and affect the result.
Does Avodart treat hair loss?
Avodart is normally prescribed to treat an enlarged prostate. However, it can also be prescribed 'off-label' to treat hair loss in men. ‘Off label' means that a medicine is being used to treat a condition other than the one it was initially licensed to treat.
Avodart tablets can be used to effectively treat genetic male pattern hair loss, particularly on the top of the head and the mid-scalp area.
Avodart contains the active ingredient dutasteride, which blocks the creation of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) — the hormone which is responsible for hair loss and male pattern baldness. Click here to read studies on the effectiveness of Avodart in treating male hair loss 'off label'.
Avodart is one of the most successful and effective hair loss treatments available, but there are Avodart alternatives to choose from.
Avodart vs Finasteride
Finasteride is an Avodart UK alternative which is issued to men to tackle hair loss and male pattern baldness. It works in a very similar way to Avodart by blocking DHT production.
Finasteride is a prescription-only oral medication that is the unbranded generic version of Propecia. This means that it is a cheaper, low-cost alternative to expensive branded hair loss treatments.
Finasteride has high success rates, but Avodart is generally thought to be more successful.
You can buy Finasteride here at The Independent Pharmacy.
Avodart vs Propecia
Propecia tablets are a branded prescription-only medicine which contains the active ingredient finasteride.
Like Finasteride and Avodart, Propecia tackles hair loss in men by blocking the production of DHT.
In a like-for-like study comparing Avodart vs Propecia over the course of 24 weeks, the results showed that Avodart was more effective. Avodart users had more hair — 94.6 hairs compared to Propecia, who had 76.5 hairs.
Propecia is available to buy at The Independent Pharmacy.
Can Avodart cause cancer?
Avodart does not cause cancer, however, taking Avodart or other similar hair loss treatments may increase your risk of prostate cancer. In a clinical study, men taking Avodart developed a serious form of prostate cancer more often than men who did not take Avodart (though this is a very small amount).
If you take Avodart, you should have a regular blood test for PSA (prostate-specific antigen), which detects prostate cancer. You should speak to your doctor about this, and if you are having a PSA test, you should tell your doctor that you are taking Avodart. Similarly, it is important to keep an eye on any side effects such as breast tenderness and enlargement, which may be a sign of something more serious, such as breast cancer.
Avodart erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction can occur as a side effect of using Avodart tablets to treat hair loss. This means you many experience the inability to achieve or maintain an erection during your course of treatment. This side effect may persist after you stop taking Avodart. Avodart erectile dysfunction can affect up to 1 in 10 men who use this medicine.
Non-medicinal Avodart alternatives to treat hair loss
There are a few non-medicinal Avodart alternatives for hair loss, however, their success rates do vary and some can be quite costly.
Here are some non-medicinal Avodart alternatives to treat hair loss:
- Wigs/Hair pieces
- Hair transplants
There is little evidence to suggest that these alternative treatments and herbal remedies are effective. You should conduct your own research and speak to your doctor first if you decide to proceed with any of these options.
Talk to your doctor before taking Avodart if any of the following apply to you:
- You have liver problems
- Avodart affects a blood test for PSA (prostate-specific antigen), which detects prostate cancer. If you will be tested for PSA, tell your doctor that you are taking Avodart. Men taking Avodart should have their PSA tested regularly.
Adodart can cause the following problems to occur, if you are concerned, speak to a GP or pharmacist:
- In clinical studies, some patients taking dutasteride with an alpha-blocker experienced heart failure. In patients taking only dutasteride or only an alpha blocker heart failure was less common.
- Women, children and adolescents should not handle leaking Avodart capsules, as the active ingredient can be absorbed through the skin. Wash the affected area immediately with soap and water if there is any skin contact.
- Use a condom during sexual intercourse. Dutasteride can enter the semen. If your partner is or may be pregnant, avoid exposing her to your semen as dutasteride may affect a male boy’s normal development. Dutasteride can decrease sperm count, semen volume and sperm motility which could affect your fertility.
- In a clinical study, men taking Avodart developed a serious form of prostate cancer more often than men who did not take Avodart.
- Avodart may result in breast tenderness and enlargement. If this becomes troublesome, or if you develop breast lumps or nipple discharge, talk to your doctor as these may signal a serious condition like breast cancer.
Other medications and Avodart
Tell your doctor if you take, have recently taken, or might take any other medication.
Some can react with Avodart and include side-effects. These medicines include:
- verapamil or diltiazem (for high blood pressure)
- nefazodone (an antidepressant)
- itraconazole or ketoconazole (for fungal infections)
- alpha-blockers (for enlarged prostate or high blood pressure)
Inform your doctor if you are taking any of these medications as you may need a reduced dose of Avodart.
Pregnancy, breast-feeding and fertility
Women who are pregnant or may be pregnant must not handle leaking Avodart capsules. They can absorb Dutasteride through the skin which can affect a male baby’s normal development. This is a severe risk in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.
Contact your doctor if a pregnant woman has touched dutasteride.
Before using this medication please read the Patient Information Leaflet thoroughly.
The recommended Avodart dosage to treat hair loss is 0.5mg, you will need to take one Avodart every day consistently to see an improvement in hair loss. It is important to continue taking your Avodart dosage daily. Failure to do so may result in the medication not working as well.
The active ingredient included in each tablet is: 0.5 mg dutasteride
The inactive ingredients include: Mono and diglycerides of caprylic/capric acid and butylated hydroxytoluene (E321), gelatin, glycerol, titanium dioxide (E171), triglycerides (medium chain), iron oxide yellow (E172), lecithin (may contain soya oil).
Allergen information: not suitable for anyone with a soy or peanut allergy.
Avodart side effects
Like all medicines, there is a chance that you may experience side effects should you start using Avodart 0.5mg capsules. Avodart side effects don’t affect the majority of users — your risk of encountering adverse effects is generally quite low. However, as with any medication, there is always a chance that you may experience negative effects as well as positive results.
Below are the most common Avodart side effects (affecting up to one in 10 users):
- Difficulty in getting or maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- Decreased sexual desire/sex drive (libido)
- Difficulty with ejaculation
- Decreased production of seminal fluid (this does not affect sexual function)
- breast enlargement or tenderness (gynecomastia)
- Dizziness (particularly when taken with tamsulosin)
For a full list of side effects, you can read the Patient Information Leaflet enclosed with this medicine.
If you are worried about any of the Avodart side effects listed above or you experience any other adverse effects not listed, speak to your pharmacist or doctor for advice on how to proceed.
In a medical emergency (such as an allergic reaction or any painful or severe Avodart side effects), contact the emergency services or go straight to your local A&E.
Avodart 0.5mg Capsules Price Comparison
Avodart 0.5mg Capsules
1 x 30 capsules (1 month)
2 x 30 capsules (2 months)
3 x 30 capsules (3 months)
5 x 30 capsules (5 months)
6 x 30 capsules (6 months)
Avodart 0.5mg Capsules reviews
Avodart 0.5mg Capsules FAQs
To get the best results take one capsule daily. The capsule should be swallowed whole with or without food. Ensure you do not chew or take a broken capsule as the contents can give you a sore mouth or throat.
Only take one capsule a day. Avodart is not any more effective if you exceed the recommended dose.
It is best to start treatment as soon as possible after you have noticed hair loss and results are seen sooner if treatment is started within a year of hair loss.
Avodart normally causes the DHT levels to drop quickly but the hair follicles can then take months to recover and start growing thicker hair again. For this reason it is important to ensure you take Avodart every day and continue treatment for at least 6 months before assessing its true effect. It is a good idea to take photos of the areas affected by hair loss before you start treatment to allow you to compare them after 6 months and judge the effect.
It is important to start taking Avodart as soon as possible for hair loss. The more hair you have already lost, the harder it is to restart the growth cycle.
During the initial stages of treatment you may find that you begin to shed some hair. This is a common side effect as damaged follicles shed thin or fine hair to enable thicker hair to grow in its place.
If you stop taking Avodart capsules, your DHT levels will return to their previous higher levels in less than a month. Over time you will then lose the hair you have regrown within 9-12 months.
Avodart 0.5mg capsules, like all medicines, carry some risks of side effects. These are usually low and typically affect around 1 in 100 men. They can include:
Difficulty in getting or maintaining an erection.
Decreased sexual desire.
Decreased production of seminal fluid (this does not effect sexual function).
Propecia and Avodart block the production of DHT. In a like-for-like study comparing Propecia 1mg tablets and Avodart 0.5mg Capsules, over 24 weeks, the results showed Avodart to have more hair; 94.6 hairs compared to Propecia which had 76.5 hairs.
The levels and effects of Avodart are increased with:
- Verapamil and diltiazem (used for high blood pressure)
- Itraconazole and ketconazole (anti-fungal medication preparations)
- Alpha blockers (for enlarged prostate or high blood pressure)
If your medication changes or you would like to take some over the counter remedies please check with us or a health professional first.
Avodart is not affected by alcohol.
Avodart does not cause drowsiness nor does it affect your ability to drive.
It is thought to be safe to combine Avodart with the topical medicine Regaine. Regaine contains minoxidil, which has a different mechanism of action to dutasteride (Avodart). Minoxidil increases blood flow to hair follicles. This helps more oxygen and nutrients to reach the area and increases the likelihood of hair growth. The combination of the two medicines may lead to more hair growth. Regaine is best started within five years of hair loss occurring, this makes it most likely to be effective.
Avodart and Propecia should never be used together.
Avodart is only for male use.
Avodart capsules should not be brought into contact with women of child bearing age. Dutasteride, the active ingredient, can be absorbed and go on to have effects on an unborn baby's sexual organs. If a woman of childbearing age comes into contact with Avodart capsules, especially if the capsules are broken, medical advice should be sought immediately.
Avodart can sometimes be excreted in the ejaculate of men taking the medication. To help avoid the medicine coming into contact with women, a condom should be used whilst taking this medicine.
You need to stop taking Avodart for at least 6 months before you intend to give blood. This is to ensure any blood given to pregnant women does not contain traces of the medication for reasons explained above.
There have not been any large studies to conclusively find the result of Avodart on male fertility. Current evidence available suggests that a small percentage of men (around 1%) will produce a lower volume of ejaculate whilst taking Avodart. This should be nothing to worry about, evidence suggests it is reversible on discontinuing the medicine and that it does not affect the ability to get an erection or hinder sexual performance.
As only the hair on the head is lost due to the effects of DHT, Avodart only affects the growth of hair on the head. It will not cause hair to grow in any other places.