Avodart

  • Treats Male Pattern Baldness
  • Stimulates hair growth
  • Prevents further hair loss
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What is Avodart?

Avodartis a prescription 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 can buy Avodart (dutasteride) from Medicine Direct after an online consultation with a doctor, who will give you a prescription to purchase this medicine if they deem it suitable for you to take. After being given a prescription, you can order it from our UK registered online pharmacy; order by 2pm to benefit from free next day delivery.

Effects on hair growth

Avodart is a prescription medicine that is usually prescribed for treating enlarged prostate, but it is also used to treat hair loss in 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 established data to prove the treatment's effectiveness for this treatment; it also means that the instructions that are contained in the product's information leaflet will not match the condition you are using the product for. Follow the instructions on the dispensing label on your medication.

Avodart is one of 3 very popular prescription options for men who are experiencing hair loss, such as Finasteride and the branded version of finasteride, Propecia.

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 inhibits the follicles' ability to create healthy hair.

What does Avodart do?

Avodart is a prescription medication normally used to treat an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia), but it can also aid in treating hair loss in men.

Avodart is the brand name for a medicine called dutasteride, which is the active ingredient in this oral medication.

How does Avodart affect hair loss?

Dutasteride was originally developed to treat symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men, but it has also proven to be more effective in clinical trials. It is now also used to treat male pattern hair loss as well.

Dutasteride inhibits the enzyme 5 alpha-reductase, which converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). 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?

Men who take Avodart will need to wait for one year or maybe even longer before evaluating this prescription medicine's effectiveness.

It is not uncommon to notice thinning of your existing hair during the first six months of treatment. This may be the result of the progression of your hair loss before dutasteride has had a chance to work. Alternatively, it may be some shedding of miniaturised hair, which makes way for new hair to grow. During the first six months, it is important that you are patient with your treatment.

Who can take Avodart?

Avodart (dutasteride) is not a suitable prescription 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 (dutasteride) if:

  • You are allergic to dutasteride, any other 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, soya, peanut, or any of the other ingredients contained in this medicine (please see the Ingredients tab for full details)
  • You have a severe liver disease

Do not take this medicine without speaking to your doctor if you believe any of the conditions listed here may apply to you.

Non-medical alternatives to hair loss

If this prescription medication is not suitable for you, you can try other methods, including:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Wigs
  • Hair transplants
  • Homeopathy
  • Acupuncture

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

The below adverse effects may affect up to 1 in every 100 men who take Avodart:

  • Hair loss (usually from your bod) or growth of hair
  • Heart failure, which may include symptoms like extreme tiredness, feeling short of breath and swelling in the legs and ankles

Speak to your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if you experience any of these undesired effects while taking Avodart.

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.

Avodart Dosage

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.

What is the active ingredient in Avodart capsules?


The active ingredient contained in these capsules is dutasteride.

How do I take Avodart capsules to get the best results?


To get the most out of this medicine, you will normally be instructed to take one capsule each day. This should be swallowed whole with a drink of water. Do not crush, chew or open the capsule. This medication can be taken with or without food, but you must remember to take one capsule a day to get the most out of it.

What will happen if I stop taking Avodart?


You should not stop your course of treatment without speaking to your doctor. Stopping your course of treatment will mean you will lose any hair that has regrown within 9 to 12 months. If you are being treated for an enlarged prostate, you will not be able to properly treat the problem.

What’s the difference between Propecia and Avodart?


Both of these medicines are 5-alpha reductase inhibitors and block the production of DHT. Research has shown that, over 24 weeks, Avodart's results produced more hair (94.6 hairs), compared to Propecia (76.5 hairs).

What medicines interact with Avodart capsules?


The following can interact with Avodart: Verapamil or diltiazem; Ritonavir or indinavir; Itraconazole or ketoconazole; Nefazodone; Alpha-blockers. Tell your doctor if you are taking any of the above before taking Avodart.

Can you drink alcohol while taking Avodart?


This medicine is not effected by alcohol.

Does Avodart make you drowsy?


No, this medicine is not typically known to cause drowsiness.

What other treatments can I use with Avodart to boost my hair growth?


Regaine is a treatment that is believed to be safe to combine with Avodart. This topical treatment acts differently to dutasteride by increasing blood flow to the hair follicles, making it easier for oxygen and nutrients to reach the area. This increases the chance of hair growing. Do not use Propecia and Avodart together.

Can women take Avodart?


This prescription medication should never be taken by women, children or adolescents.

Does Avodart affect your fertility?


A small percentage of men may ejaculate lower volumes of semen during sex. You may also have difficulty gaining and maintaining an erection. Dutasteride has been found in the semen of men who take this prescription medicine, which can be dangerous if your partner is pregnant. For this reason, you must use a condom while taking this medicine if you have sex. You may also have a reduced sperm count, semen volume and semen movement while taking this medication.

Will Avodart affect hair growth on other parts of my body as well?


This medicine will not cause hair to grow in other places.

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.

Ingredients

The active ingredient contained in this medicine is dutasteride.

The inactive ingredients also contained are: mono and diglycerides of caprylic/capric acid and butylated hydroxytoluene (E321).

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This content has been written by James Nuttall and has been medically reviewed by our Superintendent Pharmacist Hussain Abdeh.

Superintendent pharmacist Hussain Abdeh at Medicine Direct

Hussain Abdeh
MPharm: 2211840

Pharmacist Independent Prescriber

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