Use of Dutasteride in Previous Finasteride users.
Currently used 5 alpha reductase inhibitors include finasteride and dutasteride. Finasteride is FDA approved for hair loss at 1 mg. Dutasteride is not formally FDA approved for treating balding. However, the medication can can be used off label.
Finasateride is an inhibitor of the enzyme 5 alpha reductase type 2 and dutasteride is an inhibitor of both 5 alpha reductease type 1 and type 2. Dutasteride is more potent and leads to greater reductions of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Studies from 2004 showed that dutasteride lowers serum DHT by up to 90% whereas finasteride lowers it by about 70 %. Side effects are also potentially greater with dutasteride than finasteride.
Options for Using Dutasteride
Patients using finasteride who find that the medication has not given them the growth they hoped for or who feel that their hair loss has progressed slowly over time should speak to their physicians about options. There are several points to discuss with your health care provider. Many individuals who have a “partial” response to finasteride often wonder if they should switch to dutaseteride or add dutasteride to thr finasteride they are already taking.
1. Adding dutasteride on weekends.
Adding a very small dose of dutasteride on the weekends can often be an option for some men. An Australian study in 2013 reported a male who was initially treated with finasteride for androgenetic alopecia (male balding). Despite good compliance with the medication, the patient noted his hair density was not as good as previous years, and low-dose dutasteride at 0.5 mg once per week was added to the finasteride therapy. Interestingly, this treatment plan resulted in a dramatic increase in his hair density, demonstrating that combined therapy with finasteride and dutasteride can improve hair density in patients already taking finasteride.
2. Switching to dutasteride altogether
Another option that patients may wish to discuss with their physicians is whether to stop finasteride altogether and start dutasteride. In 2014, Jung and colleagues from South Korea studied 31 men with male balding who took dutasteride after finasteride did not help them. Well over three quarters of these men (77 %) improved their hair density by making the switch (17 improved slightly, 6 moderately, 1 markedly).
The use of dutasteride is among the treatment options for men with incomplete responses to finasteride.
Jung et al. Effect of dutasteride 0.5 mg/d in men with androgenetic alopecia recalcitrant to finasteride. Int J Dermatol. 2014 Nov;53(11):1351-7
Boyapati A and Sinclair R. Combination therapy with finasteride and low-dose dutasteride in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. Australasian J Dermatol 2013
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887