Avodart (Dutasteride)

  • Treats Male Pattern Baldness
  • Stimulates hair growth
  • Prevents further hair loss

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What is Avodart (Dutasteride)?

Avodart is a medicine that is generally prescribed for men who are suffering with an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia). However, it is also prescribed as an 'off-label' treatment for men who are being affected by hair loss (alopecia). Avodart is the brand name for a medicine called dutasteride.

It is an oral treatment that can treat genetic male pattern hair loss on the top of the head and the mid-scalp area.

You must have a prescription to buy Avodart.

What is Avodart used to treat?

Avodart is a prescription medicine that is usually prescribed for treating an enlarged prostate, but it is also an effective hair loss treatment for men. An 'off-label' treatment is one which is also used to treat something different than just the condition it was originally licensed for. Because of this, there is less data to prove Avodart’s effectiveness for hair loss.

It also means that the instructions contained in the product's information leaflet may not match the condition you are using the product for.

Avodart is one of three very popular prescription options for men who are experiencing hair loss, along with Finasteride and the propecia hair loss tablets.

Hair loss is the result of testosterone in the scalp mixing with the enzyme 5 alpha-reductase (a powerful derivative of testosterone) and producing dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This enzyme is believed to cause male pattern baldness when it binds to the receptor sites in hair follicles. In time, DHT binds with the receptors and hinders the follicle from being able to create healthy and strong hair.

How does Avodart work?

The active ingredient in Avodart is dutasteride, which was originally developed to treat symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men, but it has also proven to be effective for male pattern hair loss in clinical trials.

Dutasteride is a novel dual 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor. Testosterone is produced by a man’s body and a by-product of testosterone is a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is more powerful than testosterone and is important for hair growth on other parts of the body. However, it can attach to hair follicles for a long time, which can lead to miniaturised hair follicles.

Avodart inhibits the production of DHT, which reduces hair loss and helps to increase the production of thicker hair. It inhibits both Type I and Type II forms of this enzyme, making it a highly effective hair loss treatment.

How long does Avodart take to work?

Avodart is designed to be taken in the long term. It may take six months or longer before you start to notice any serious improvement to your hair loss. Therefore, it is vital that you take it each day and for as long as your doctor tells you; this will ensure you are getting the best results possible.

Is it safe to take Avodart (dutasteride) in the long term?

Yes, clinical studies have found that it is generally safe to take this medicine as a long-term treatment. It is advised that patients who require it for hair regrowth and enlarged prostates take it for as long as their doctor tells them to.

Avodart dose

Condition

Dose

Hair loss

One capsule (0.5mg) once a day for as long as your doctor tells you to take it.

Enlarged prostate

One capsule (0.5mg) once a day for as long as your doctor tells you to take it.

If your doctor prescribes you a different dose than the ones stated above, follow their dosage instructions.

How to take Avodart

This medicine can be taken with or without food.

Take Avodart once a day.

Swallow the capsule whole with a glass of water. Do not open or chew the capsule.

Read the patient information leaflet for full instructions before you start to take it.

Who can take Avodart?

Avodart is not a suitable medication for everyone.

This treatment is only available on prescription and is for men only. It is not suitable for women as a treatment for any condition.

It is not suitable for anyone who is under the age of 18.

Do not take Avodart if:

  • You are allergic to dutasteride, any other 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, soya, peanut, or any of the other ingredients contained in this medicine
  • You have a severe liver disease

Tell your doctor that you are taking Avodart if you are going for a prostate examination, as this medicine can affect your results.

This list is not exhaustive. Always read the patient information leaflet for a comprehensive list of warnings.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, Avodart comes with the risk of side effects, although not everyone who takes this prescription medicine will be affected by them.

Common side effects may affect 1 in 10 men who take this medicine and include:

  • Breast tenderness or enlargement (gynecomastia)
  • A decreased sex drive (libido), which may continue even after you stop taking the medicine
  • Not being able to achieve or maintain an erection (impotence), which may continue after you stop taking the medicine
  • Problems ejaculating, such as smaller amounts of semen being released during sex, which may continue after you stop using the medicine
  • Dizziness when taken with tamsulosin

Please note, these lists are not exhaustive. For rarer and more serious reactions you may experience, please refer to the Side Effects tab on this page. Always read the patient information leaflet for comprehensive details.

Can you buy Avodart over the counter?

No, Avodart is a prescription-only medicine (POM). Therefore, you cannot buy it over the counter.

Can you buy Avodart online in the UK?

You can buy Avodart online from regulated pharmacies, such as ours. However, as this medicine is only available on prescription, you will need to complete an online consultation before you can order it. All you need to do is answer a confidential online questionnaire about your condition and medical history; this will be reviewed by one of our prescribers, who will ensure Avodart is safe for you to take.

Medicine Direct is fully regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), the MHRA and other required medical authorities. This means we are able to guarantee all our customers that they are only buying genuine and safe medicine. See our About Us page for more information.

Avodart alternatives

Propecia is also available to buy from Medicine Direct. This medication contains finasteride as its active ingredient, which works to inhibit the production of DHT and can often produce noticeable results in 3 – 6 months.

Generic Finasteride tablets are also available to buy from our online pharmacy. This option is normally much cheaper than the branded version.

Avodart Dosage

All of our Doctors and Pharmacists follow NICE guidelines when prescribing Avodart (Dutasteride).

Always take Avodart exactly as instructed by your doctor. Read the patient information leaflet thoroughly before you start to take the tablets. Speak to your doctor for further guidance if you are unsure of how to take it.

In most cases, your doctor will instruct you to take one 0.5mg capsule each day.

These capsules can be taken with or without food but should always be swallowed whole, with a drink of water. Do not open, crush or chew the capsules.

If your doctor instructs you to take this prescription medicine differently to this, follow their instructions and ask them for further direction if you are not sure.

Avodart (dutasteride) is a treatment that should be used in the long-term, and it is important to be patient while taking this medicine. Some people may notice an early improvement, while others will need to for six months or longer to see an effect. You should not stop taking the medicine unless instructed to do so by your doctor.

What if I forget to take it?

If you forget to take a dose of Avodart, do not take a double dose to try and make up for missing a previous one.

Just take your next dose the next day as normal.

To ensue you do not forget to take this medication, it is best if you take it at the same time every day. Some people find that setting an alarm can be useful, to remind them to take it.

What if I take more than I should have?

Tell your doctor or pharmacist immediately if you accidentally take more dutasteride than you were supposed to.

What if I stop taking it?

Do not stop your course of Avodart (dutasteride) without speaking to your doctor first.

This medicine is meant to be used in the long term; if you are being treated for an enlarged prostate, it could take up to six months to notice an effect. In the case of treating hair loss, you should take Avodart for one year before reviewing its effectiveness.

Can Avodart give me heart problems?


Heart failure is an uncommon side effect for men who use Avodart. However, this may only occur in up to 1 in every 100 men who take it. Tell your doctor if you already have any heart problems.

What will happen if I stop taking Avodart?


Stopping treatment with Avodart means that your DHT levels will go back to how they were before you started taking it. This will cause you to lose any hair you regrew within 9 to 12 months.

Can I drink alcohol with it?


Yes, you can drink alcohol while using Avodart.

Is Avodart a steroid?


No, Avodart is classed as a 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor.

Is Avodart suitable for women?


Women must not take Avodart or come into contact with the medicine. If the man taking this medicine has a female sexual partner who is pregnant or may be pregnant, he should use a condom during sex as dutasteride can get into the semen.

When is the best time to take Avodart?


You can take Avodart at a time of day that is most convenient for you. However, you should try to take it at the same time every day.

Can Avodart affect my blood pressure?


Avodart is not known to raise or lower blood pressure. However, it can interact with some medicines taken for high blood pressure and increase the risk of side effects. Tell your doctor if you have high or low blood pressure, and if you are taking any medicine for this problem.

Will Avodart affect my fertility?


Male fertility might be reduced while taking Avodart, as this medicine has been found to reduce sperm count, movement and semen volume. You should use a condom if you have sex while taking Avodart; this medicine can get into the semen and should not come into contact with women.

Is it safe to take every day?


Yes, you should take Avodart every day for the most effective results.

Side Effects

Rarer side effects of this medicine may include depression and pain and swelling in your testicles.

In rare cases, it is possible that you may suffer a serious allergic reaction to Avodart and require immediate treatment in hospital.

You should dial 999 or go to A&E straight away if:

  • You are wheezing
  • You have swelling in your face, throat, lips, mouth or tongue
  • You develop a skin rash that is itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
  • You have tightness in your chest or throat
  • You are finding it difficult to breathe or speak

Always read the patient information leaflet thoroughly for comprehensive information on side effects. If you are worried about side effects, please speak to your doctor.

Does Avodart have withdrawal symptoms?

Most people will not suffer withdrawal symptoms. However, if a man is over 60 and has been taking medicine that contains dutasteride for more than 10 years, suffers from a prostate disorder and takes specific medicines, their likelihood of withdrawal symptoms is 50% more likely.

Speak to your doctor about this if you are concerned about withdrawal symptoms

Warnings and drug interactions

Please inform your doctor of any other medicines you are already taking, including prescription and non-prescription medications, herbal remedies, vitamins and supplements.

In particular, make sure your doctor is aware if you are currently taking:

  • Alpha-blockers, for an enlarged prostate or high blood pressure
  • Ritonavir or indinavir, for HIV
  • Verapamil or diltiazem, for high blood pressure
  • Itraconazole or ketoconazole, for fungal infections
  • The antidepressant nefazodone

Avodart contains lecithin from soya, which may contain soya oil. If you are allergic to soya or peanuts, you should not take this prescription medicine.

Dutasteride has been found in the semen of men who take this prescription medicine. You must not expose your partner to your semen if she is pregnant, so it is very important that you use a condom if you have sexual intercourse while taking this medicine.

If your pregnant partner has come into contact with your semen, you should speak to your doctor immediately.

You may also have a reduced sperm count, semen volume and semen movement while taking this medication.

If you have any questions or concerns about taking this medicine, please do not hesitate to speak to your doctor before starting your course.

Always read the patient information leaflet for full details on drug interactions and warnings.

Avodart (Dutasteride) Ingredients

The main active ingredient within this medicine is: Dutasteride

For a full list of the inactive ingredients, please read the Summary of Product Characteristics

Delivery Company Delivery Service Price Details
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Delivery specified for Saturday

Order Friday by 2pm (subject to Dr approval)

Please note that next day delivery to Northern Ireland, Scottish Highlands & Islands and British Isles cannot be guaranteed. Please contact our team for more information.

Updated on: 28/09/2021

This content has been written by our Superintendent Pharmacist Hussain Abdeh and has been medically reviewed by our Pharmacist Sonia Khan

Hussain Abdeh Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine Direct

Hussain Abdeh
MPharm: 2211840

Pharmacist Independent Prescriber

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