Initial tests show that using dutasteride for hair loss is a very effective strategy. They showed that 2.5 milligrams (mg) of dutasteride was around 1.5 times more effective than twice as much of the leading hair loss drug finasteride. These initial successes suggest that using dutasteride for treating hair loss is a good idea, but further testing is required before a definitive answer can be given.
Most hair loss is caused by dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and hair loss drugs aim to suppress the creation of this chemical. DHT is created when androgens metabolize with 5-alpha reductase, and then react with ordinary testosterone. The receptors in the hair follicles which are supposed to pick up the nutrients required for hair growth get clogged up with DHT, and begin to thin out. After a while, less hair grows and existing hair begins to fall out, resulting in baldness. Using dutasteride for hair loss reduces the amount of DHT present on the scalp.
Understanding that DHT is the cause of hair loss 95 percent of the time is vital to understanding hair loss drugs. When a patient uses dutasteride for hair loss, the drug suppresses the 5-alpha reductase responsible for the conversion of testosterone to DHT. Dutasteride is actually the first treatment to inhibit both types of enzyme responsible for this conversion. This reduction of DHT also decreases the size of enlarged prostates, which is the drug’s primary usage. This condition is called benign prostate hyperplasia.
Research done into the effects of dutasteride for hair loss has had generally positive results. One study compared three different dosages of dutasteride — 0.1mg, 0.5mg, and 2.5 mg — with 5mg of finasteride and a placebo control group. These dosages were administered each day, and the number of hairs in a pre-defined area of the scalp was counted to determine the drug’s effectiveness against the control and the leading competitor. After 24 weeks, the placebo group had lost 32.3 hairs on average, and the 5mg finasteride group had gained 75.6. The 0.1mg dutasteride group had gained 78.5, the 0.5mg group had gained 94.6 and the 2.5 mg group had gained 109.6 hairs.
This test suggests that dutasteride is a very effective treatment for hair loss. The levels of DHT recorded show that the 0.5mg preparation of the treatment reduced scalp levels of DHT by 51 percent. The higher, 2.5mg preparation reduced scalp DHT levels by 79 percent. Unfortunately, three times as many patients in the dutasteride group reported decreased libido than in the finasteride group, indicating the need for further research.