What Is Dutasteride Used For?

Dutasteride for BPH

Dutasteride is licensed as a BPH treatment for men who have symptoms. It is licensed to help improve enlarged prostate symptoms, decrease the risk of acute urinary retention (being unable to urinate at all), and decrease the chance of needing BPH surgery.
 

How Dutasteride Works

Dutasteride works by blocking the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. There are two types of this enzyme (Type I and Type II). Dutasteride blocks both types. The 5-alpha reductase enzyme is responsible for converting the male hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is necessary for enlargement of the prostate. By decreasing DHT levels, dutasteride helps to shrink the prostate over time, relieving the enlarged prostate symptoms.
 

Dutasteride for Hair Loss

Dutasteride is not approved for the treatment of hair loss. While dutasteride is very similar to Propecia®, a medication for hair loss, it is not licensed for this use.
 

Dutasteride Use in Children

Dutasteride has not been adequately studied in children and is not approved for use in children. Because dutasteride affects certain hormones, the benefits of dutasteride in children may not be worth the risks.
 

Off-Label Dutasteride Uses

On occasion, a healthcare provider may recommend dutasteride for something other than the condition(s) discussed above. This is called an "off-label" use. At this time, there are a few off-label dutasteride uses, such as:
 
  • Treatment of prostate cancer after surgical removal of the prostate
  • Treatment of male pattern baldness.
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