Dutasteride vs. Finasteride: Which One Is Better?

Medically reviewed by Dr. Amy Revene M.B.B.S.
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated

If you are looking for a solution to hair loss caused by dihydrotestosterone (DHT), two of the most commonly prescribed medicines are dutasteride and finasteride.

These drugs are 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (5-ARIs) and block the conversion of testosterone to DHT.

While they effectively treat male-pattern baldness, some important differences between them should be considered.

In this article, we will explore the differences between Dutasteride and Finasteride so that you can make an informed decision about which one is the best choice for you.

Summary

Dutasteride and finasteride are both effective medications for hair loss. However, while dutasteride is still being studied as a potential treatment option for male pattern baldness, finasteride is currently the only medication approved by the FDA for hair loss.

Finasteride is the optimal choice if you're looking for an effective and readily available medication to help slow, stop, or reverse the effects of hair loss.

Taking action as soon as you notice the early signs of baldness starting to develop is key to keeping your hair healthy and thick.

The Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Growth Routine is an excellent alternative if you are looking for a natural solution. 

Our blend of active ingredients is crafted to target hair loss, with some users noticing improvements in as little as 150 days based on clinical trials.

Choosing a hair loss treatment that works for you may support the maintenance of healthier, thicker-looking hair.

Dutasteride vs finasteride comparison table

Feature Dutasteride Finasteride Scandinavian Biolabs
Mechanism of Action Inhibits both type I and type II 5-alpha-reductase enzymes that convert testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) Inhibits type II 5-alpha-reductase enzyme Contains natural ingredients that promote hair growth and reduce hair loss
Dosage Typically prescribed as 0.5mg/day Typically prescribed as 1mg/day Topical solution applied twice daily
Effectiveness Studies have shown that dutasteride is more effective than finasteride in reducing DHT levels and hair loss, and promoting hair growth, although there is limited research on dutasteride for hair loss treatment Studies have shown that finasteride is effective in reducing DHT levels, stopping hair loss, and promoting hair growth, and has been extensively researched for hair loss treatment In clinical trials, 97% of participants experienced less hair loss, 93% had a reduction in hair loss, up to 85% saw a reduction in the numbers of hairs lost, and 73% experienced an increase in hair density.
Side Effects Potential side effects include decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, breast tenderness or enlargement, and decreased semen volume, but are less common than previously reported and tend to resolve upon discontinuation Potential side effects include decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, breast tenderness or enlargement, and decreased semen volume, but are generally well-tolerated No reported side effects apart from tingling sensation, redness and tenderness.
FDA Approval Approved by the FDA for treating enlarged prostate, but not for treating hair loss Approved by the FDA for treating hair loss in men Not FDA approved, as it is a cosmetic product
Availability Not as widely available as finasteride for hair loss treatment More widely available for hair loss treatment Available online through Scandinavian Biolabs' website, Amazon and retailers.
Cost Typically more expensive than finasteride due to limited availability and lack of generic versions More affordable than dutasteride due to widespread availability and multiple generic versions Scandinavian Biolabs prices range from $49 to $129 depending on the product and package
Other Pros and Cons Some users have reported better results with dutasteride compared to finasteride, and it may be a better option for those with more advanced hair loss or a history of poor response to finasteride Finasteride is generally considered safe and effective for most men, but may not work for everyone and may not be suitable for those with certain medical conditions or allergies Scandinavian Biolabs is a natural alternative to prescription medications, and may be a good option for those who prefer natural ingredients or cannot use prescription medications due to medical reasons. However, its effectiveness may vary depending on individual factors

What is dutasteride?

dutasteride vs finasteride

Dutasteride is a medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

It is a type of 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, which works by blocking the enzyme 5-alpha reductase and thus preventing testosterone from being converted into the more potent form, dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

This helps reduce the size of the prostate and can improve symptoms associated with BPH. Dutasteride may also be used off-label for treating male pattern baldness or hair loss, as it is thought to be more effective than finasteride in blocking DHT

What is finasteride?

Finasteride for treating hair loss

Finasteride is an FDA-approved drug used to treat male pattern baldness. It works by blocking the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and can be taken orally as a tablet.

Finasteride is most effective in slowing or stopping hair loss when used consistently for at least six months. While it can stimulate some new hair growth, it is not a cure for baldness, and results may vary depending on the individual.

The side effects of finasteride are relatively mild but can include decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty achieving an erection. 

For this reason, discussing any potential side effects with your doctor before beginning finasteride is important.

Dutasteride vs. finasteride: how they work

androgenetic alopecia and prostate cancer

Both finasteride and dutasteride prevent testosterone from being converted into DHT in the body. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is an androgen or male sex hormone. It is a byproduct of testosterone, formed when the enzyme 5-alpha reductase breaks down the hormone.

The conversion of testosterone into DHT is somewhat inefficient, leaving most of your free testosterone in the bloodstream untouched. DHT is crucial in forming masculine traits throughout infancy, childhood, and adolescence.

It controls the growth of your genitalia and the growth of hair on your body and face throughout puberty. As an adult, DHT is no longer as crucial to your survival. DHT may not affect every bodily function equally, but it still has an effect.

Read this: Doctor On: Do DHT Blockers Work? And Why It Might Not?

DHT and male pattern baldness

DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is a hormone that can bind to androgen receptors in the scalp, leading to male pattern baldness.

This form of baldness is often seen in individuals with a family history of the condition, as DHT’s binding activity can start to slow and reduce hair production on the scalp.

Over time, this can cause a receding hairline, thinning of the crown, and eventually the complete balding of the scalp.

Dutasteride, finasteride, and DHT

Dutasteride and finasteride are used to treat male pattern hair loss, which is caused by an excess of DHT in the body.

By inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, both drugs can reduce the amount of DHT in the body and slow down or even reverse its effects on hair growth.

By blocking DHT, these drugs can help promote the regrowth of thinning hair and slow down further hair loss.

Dutasteride vs. finasteride: which one blocks more DHT?

hair regrowth, dutasteride compared to finasteride

Studies have shown that dutasteride works better than finasteride at blocking the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase when used to treat hair loss.

In a study from 2004, 399 men were given 5 mg of dutasteride or finasteride per day, and the results showed that dutasteride reduced DHT levels by 98.4 +/- 1.2 percent while finasteride only reduced them by 70.8% +/-18.3%.

This suggests that, compared to finasteride, dutasteride may stop DHT from being made more consistently and lower DHT levels better.

Since it blocks DHT better than finasteride, dutasteride is the better choice for treating male pattern baldness.

Natural alternatives to dutasteride and finasteride

Dutasteride and finasteride are often used to stop hair loss, but they can also cause some unwanted side effects.

Some natural alternatives may be effective if you are looking for an alternative or supplement to traditional pharmaceutical options.

Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Growth Routine

dutasteride versus finasteride

The Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Growth Routine is a scientifically formulated, 100% vegan solution for those looking to naturally address the issue of hair loss.

This innovative formula is designed to help reduce hair loss and improve hair growth, leading to stronger, thicker strands in as little as 150 days.

Our blend of plant growth factors and active ingredients is chosen based on scientific literature and evaluated by third-party laboratories for quality assurance.

Clinical tests have shown that the active ingredients in this routine work. They are Capilia Longa, a natural compound that can help stop up to 89% of hair loss and improve density by 52%; Niacinamide, an iso-form of Vitamin B3 that increases keratin levels and strengthens hair shafts; and Aloe Vera extract, which helps dry or damaged skin stay hydrated.

This is a drug-free product designed to be an alternative for those seeking natural hair loss solutions.

Hair Growth Routine | For Men
Hair Growth Routine | For Men
Formulated to combat shedding & signs of balding

Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto comes from the Serenoa repens plant and has been used for a long time to treat many different health problems. Recently, it has been studied for its potential use as a treatment for hair loss.

Studies have shown that saw palmetto can be effective in reducing hair thinning and helping to increase the number of hairs on the head.

It is generally safe, and there are no known side effects. This makes it a good alternative to dutasteride and finasteride, which are more expensive and could cause side effects.

But long-term studies are still needed to figure out if this treatment works and is safe fully.

Ecklonia Cava extract

Brown algae rich in antioxidants, Ecklonia Cava is worth seeking out. As a supplement, you may locate it because of the therapeutic components it may contain.

Ecklonia cava's primary component, dieckol, has been shown to stimulate dermal papilla cell proliferation, which in turn stimulates hair growth. The fact that it can stop 5A reductase from working is also a good sign that it could be used to treat baldness.

Pumpkin seed oil

Pumpkin seed oil has been known to be a natural remedy for hair loss, particularly in men. Rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants, pumpkin seed oil supports healthy hair growth and can also reduce inflammation.

Several studies have shown that taking pumpkin seed oil by mouth or putting it on the scalp can help people losing their hair.

Also, the oil has been used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) for a long time, and it may have an anabolic effect on hair follicles that are shrinking.

Pumpkin seed oil is a popular choice for people who want a natural way to stop hair loss because it has many possible benefits and no side effects.

Stinging nettle tea or capsules

People who are losing their hair and want an alternative way to treat it often choose stinging nettle tea or capsules.

Beta-sitosterol, found in stinging nettle, may help hair grow by increasing growth factors that are good for the scalp.

Also, stinging nettle is known to have a lot of sulfur and silica, both of which can stop hair from falling out and help damaged follicles heal.

Green tea

Green tea has long been renowned for its health benefits and medicinal properties. Recent studies suggest that it may be an effective natural remedy for male pattern baldness and impotence.

The epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in this tea helps to lower the hormone levels that cause hair loss. The increased blood flow may also improve libido.

Even though more research needs to be done to find out if this natural remedy can fully solve these problems, it may be a good choice for people who want to avoid the possible side effects of traditional medications like finasteride and dutasteride.

Research on dutasteride vs. finasteride

treat benign prostatic hyperplasia

Both dutasteride and finasteride have shown efficacy in clinical trials for treating male pattern baldness and stimulating hair growth in males.

When comparing the two medicines head-to-head, dutasteride has been shown to boost hair growth in males more so than finasteride.

Studies of dutasteride

Studies have shown that dutasteride is much better than finasteride at treating male pattern baldness and making hair grow than finasteride.

In one study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, dutasteride or finasteride was given to 416 men with male pattern hair loss.

The study showed that those who took dutasteride had a bigger increase in the number of hairs in the target area than those who took finasteride.

The study lasted for 24 weeks, during which the men were given doses of either 0.05 mg, 0.1 mg, 0.5 mg, 2.5 mg of dutasteride or 5 mg of finasteride daily. An expert panel and before-and-after photographs were used to compare the effects of the two drugs.

The potential reasons why dutasteride might be more effective than finasteride in treating male pattern baldness include its ability to block DHT more effectively and its longer half-life, which means the effects of dutasteride can remain in the body for several months after a single dose.

This could make dutasteride a better choice for treating male pattern baldness. However, before beginning any hair loss treatment, consult your doctor to ensure that dutasteride is the best option.

Studies of Finasteride

Studies on finasteride have shown that it works well to treat male pattern baldness and make men's hair grow. Finasteride has a short half-life of approximately five to six hours, so each dose only lasts for a short period of time.

Despite this, several studies have found that finasteride produces a reduction in hair loss and, for many men, serious improvements in hair growth.

For example, a series of two one-year trials found that men who used finasteride experienced a clinically significant increase in hair count and a noticeable reduction in hair loss.

A 10-year long-term study conducted in Japan found that 99.1 percent of men who used finasteride experienced a halt in their hair loss, and 91.5 percent experienced improved hair growth while using finasteride.

Overall, many men with hair loss who use finasteride report that their hair loss either slows down, stops, or reverses over the course of several months.

While these results are promising, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider about the best hair loss treatments for an individual.

Read this: 6 Most Effective Alternatives To Finasteride

Dutasteride vs. finasteride: Side effects

Finasteride and dutasteride have similar side effects because they both block the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, which lowers the amount of DHT in the body.

The most common unwanted side effects of finasteride are:

  • Impairment of erection capacity or maintenance (erectile dysfunction, or ED)
  • Gynecomastia (male breast tissue development)
  • Loss of ejaculate production
  • Lack of sexual desire
  • Discomfort or pain in the testes

The most common unwanted side effects of Dutasteride are:

  • Dysfunctional sexual function, specifically an inability to get or maintain an erection (erectile dysfunction, or ED)
  • Issues with ejaculating
  • Sex arousal declines

Although it may be concerning to hear that drugs like finasteride or dutasteride might cause sexual dysfunction in some men, it is important to note that this is a rather rare occurrence.

About 2% of men who took finasteride in clinical studies said they lost interest in sexual activities. A little over 1.3% of males had ED, and just 1.2% said they had decreased ejaculatory output.

In the first six months of therapy with Avodart, a common form of dutasteride used to treat BPH, a slightly greater number of men experienced sexual adverse effects, such as erectile dysfunction, compared to the overall percentage of men who reported side symptoms.

Among males who used Avodart, 4.7% had erectile dysfunction, 3.0% had a drop in libido, and 1.4% had trouble ejaculating. Over the course of prolonged therapy, several undesirable symptoms diminished in frequency.

Finasteride and dutasteride are both 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, and although they typically have few adverse effects, sometimes they might cause major problems. These include:

  • Increased male breast size, or swelling of the breasts and nipples
  • Lumps, pain, and discomfort in the breasts
  • Discharge from the nipples
  • Difficulty breathing and swallowing
  • Rash, itching, hives, and swelling of the face and lips
  • Peeling skin

These reactions don't happen often, but they can be serious. If you have any of these side effects after taking finasteride or dutasteride, you should get in touch with your doctor as soon as possible.

Conclusion

Dutasteride and finasteride are both effective medications for hair loss. However, while dutasteride is still being studied as a potential treatment option for male pattern baldness, finasteride is currently the only medication approved by the FDA for hair loss.

Finasteride is the optimal choice if you're looking for an effective and readily available medication to help slow, stop, or reverse the effects of hair loss.

Taking action as soon as you notice the early signs of baldness starting to develop is key to keeping your hair healthy and thick.

The Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Growth Routine is an excellent alternative if you are looking for a natural solution.

Its carefully crafted blend of active ingredients can help reduce hair loss and improve hair growth in as little as 150 days.

With the right hair loss treatment, you can maintain your healthy, thick head of hair for years to come.

FAQs

Is dutasteride riskier than finasteride?

Dutasteride offers better efficacy than finasteride in treating AGA. Both drugs have similar rates of adverse reactions, particularly in sexual dysfunction.

Should I switch from finasteride to dutasteride?

If finasteride isn't yielding results, switching to dutasteride can often provide better outcomes without an increased risk of side effects. However, before combining the two, consult a hair loss specialist.

Read more:

Dr Amy Revene M.B.B.S. graduated from the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. She is currently working as a General Physician at New Hope Medical Center. Amy has a passion for research and offers her expertise and opinions to help people in their quest to lead healthy, happy lives.