Propecia Vs Dutasteride: What’s The Difference?

Medically reviewedby Dr. Amy Revene M.B.B.S.
WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

In the battle against hair loss, two medications stand out as prominent warriors: propecia and dutasteride. 

These FDA-approved drugs have been transforming lives, giving hope to those suffering from thinning hair and receding hairlines. 

But how do they stack up against each other, and what are the key differences that set them apart? 

In this post, we'll delve into a comprehensive comparison, shedding light on their mechanisms of action, effectiveness, side effects, and everything you need to know to make an informed decision. 

Whether you are a healthcare provider, a patient looking for solutions, or simply curious about the subject, this guide is tailored to satisfy your curiosity and provide clear insights.

What is propecia?

propecia vs dutasteride

Propecia is a brand name for the medication finasteride, commonly used to treat male pattern baldness by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It is an oral prescription medication.

How does propecia work?

Propecia, or finasteride, works by inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, responsible for converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). By reducing DHT levels, propecia helps to prevent hair follicle shrinkage and hair loss.

DHT is a potent form of testosterone that is often linked to male pattern baldness. It binds to receptors in hair follicles, leading them to shrink and eventually stop producing hair. 

Propecia targets the specific enzyme, 5-alpha reductase, that turns testosterone into DHT, thereby reducing the levels of DHT in the scalp. 

This can slow down or even reverse the hair loss process. The effectiveness of propecia varies between individuals and requires ongoing treatment to maintain the results. 

Discontinuation of the medication may lead to a gradual return of the pattern hair loss.

Effectiveness of propecia

Propecia has become a renowned treatment option for male pattern baldness. Various studies have explored its effectiveness, highlighting both its ability to promote hair growth and slow down hair loss. The continued interest in understanding this medication has led to extensive research, a few key studies of which are outlined below:

A 5-year Multinational Study demonstrated that nearly 90% of participants experienced either maintenance or growth of hair while using Propecia. The long-term study offered significant insights into the sustained effectiveness of the drug. 

In two 1-year trials involving 1553 men aged 18 to 41 with male pattern hair loss, oral finasteride (1 mg/d) was assessed, with 1215 men continuing into a second-year extension study. 

The efficacy of finasteride was evaluated using various techniques, including scalp hair counts, personal and investigator assessments, and expert panel reviews of photographs. 

The study concluded that in men with male pattern hair loss, finasteride 1 mg/d effectively slowed hair loss progression and increased hair growth over a 2-year period, with minimal side effects.

Side effects of propecia

Propecia, or finasteride, is widely used to treat male pattern baldness, but like many medications, it can come with certain side effects. While these side effects are not experienced by everyone, it is important to be aware of potential risks:

  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Breast changes
  • Skin rash
  • Testicular pain
  • Cognitive issues
  • Reversibility issues with some side effects
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What is dutasteride?

propecia vs dutasteride

Dutasteride is a medication used to treat conditions like benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men and is also prescribed off-label for male pattern baldness. It works by inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, reducing the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

How does dutasteride work?

Dutasteride works by inhibiting both types of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which is responsible for converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This reduction in DHT leads to the shrinking of an enlarged prostate in cases of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and can also slow down or reverse hair loss in male pattern baldness. 

Effectiveness of dutasteride

Dutasteride has been evaluated for its effectiveness in treating male pattern baldness, with several studies comparing it to finasteride, another common treatment. These research efforts have focused on understanding the comparative benefits of these medications, particularly in terms of increasing hair count.

In a comprehensive meta-analysis conducted in 2019, dutasteride was found to show a significant increase in total hair count compared to finasteride, shedding light on its potential superiority in treating hair loss. 

An older study that compared dutasteride and finasteride through a randomized placebo-controlled design found that dutasteride was more effective in increasing target area hair count. 

This further emphasizes its potential advantages over finasteride for some individuals.

These studies contribute to a growing body of evidence that dutasteride may offer certain advantages over finasteride in the treatment of male pattern baldness. 

However, individual responses can vary, and consultation with a healthcare provider is essential for personalized treatment decisions.

Side effects of dutasteride

Dutasteride, while effective in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and off-label for male pattern baldness, does come with potential side effects. These can vary among individuals, and not everyone will experience them. 

Understanding these side effects is crucial for those considering or already taking this medication:

  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Breast tenderness or enlargement
  • Hair growth in unwanted areas
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Skin rash
  • Headache
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Allergic reactions

It's essential to consult with a healthcare provider for a comprehensive understanding of potential side effects, as individual reactions and the possibility of more serious effects may vary. 

Monitoring and regular check-ups can ensure safe and effective use of Dutasteride.

An effective alternative to propecia and dutasteride

propecia vs dutasteride

If you're looking for an alternative to traditional hair loss treatments like propecia (finasteride) and dutasteride, the Bio-Pilixin Serum by Scandinavian Biolabs may be a compelling option. 

This serum distinguishes itself with a unique blend of ingredients and a strong satisfaction guarantee:

  • Capilia Longa: Sourced from the Curcuma longa plant stem cells, Capilia Longa is known for its properties in reducing hair loss and enhancing hair density.
  • Niacinamide: This ingredient helps boost blood circulation to the scalp, protecting hair follicles from environmental damage, and contributing to overall hair health.
  • Vanillyl Butyl Ether: By stimulating scalp blood flow, Vanillyl Butyl Ether ensures efficient nutrient delivery to hair follicles, promoting growth and strength.

Scandinavian Biolabs shows confidence in their product by offering a 150-day money-back guarantee. 

This 150-day money-back guarantee allows users to try Bio-Pilixin Serum without financial risk

While the ingredients in Bio-Pilixin Serum are known for their individual properties, the overall effectiveness of the combined formulation is something you may wish to explore further through personal use and consultation with healthcare professionals.

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Propecia vs dutasteride: What are the differences?

propecia vs dutasteride

Propecia (finasteride) and dutasteride are both medications often used to treat male pattern baldness and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). 

Though they have similarities in their actions, there are distinct differences that set them apart in terms of efficacy, potency, and mechanism of action:

Type of 5-alpha reductase inhibition

The main difference between finasteride and dutasteride is in their specificity to 5-alpha reductase (5AR) enzymes. 

While finasteride selectively inhibits type II 5AR, dutasteride inhibits both type I and type II, making it broader in action.

Potency and effectiveness

Dutasteride is considerably more potent than finasteride, inhibiting type II 5AR three times more and type I 5AR over 100 times more. 

This heightened effectiveness translates to a reduction in serum DHT concentrations by up to 90%, compared to finasteride's 70%.


The half-life of dutasteride is significantly longer (~4 weeks) compared to finasteride's 6-8 hours. 

This longer duration means that dutasteride stays in the system much longer, potentially contributing to its higher potency.

Usage approval

While both medications are approved for the treatment of BPH, only finasteride (propecia) has official FDA approval for treating male pattern baldness. 

Dutasteride is often prescribed off-label for this purpose.

Side effects profile

Due to its broader action and higher potency, dutasteride may have a slightly different and more pronounced side effect profile compared to finasteride.

Cost and availability

Dutasteride may have different cost and availability factors compared to finasteride, depending on the region and healthcare system.

Propecia vs dutasteride: Which one is better for you?

While dutasteride may offer broader inhibition of 5-alpha reductase enzymes and higher potency, propecia may have a more specific action and an established track record for hair loss treatment. 

A healthcare provider, such as a dermatologist or urologist, should be consulted to determine the most suitable medication based on a thorough evaluation of the individual's unique condition and potential side effects. 

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, as the "better" option can vary from person to person.


In the ongoing battle against hair loss and conditions like benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), both propecia (finasteride) and dutasteride have emerged as potent warriors. 

With their distinct mechanisms, potency, and profiles, these medications offer valuable options for those seeking treatment. 

Though they share similarities, their differences in action, effectiveness, half-life, side effects, and usage approvals highlight the importance of individualized assessment and healthcare consultation. 

Additionally, innovations like the Bio-Pilixin Serum by Scandinavian Biolabs, with its unique blend of ingredients and a 150-day money-back guarantee, provide promising alternatives for those exploring non-pharmaceutical options. 

Ultimately, whether it's propecia, dutasteride, or an alternative like Bio-Pilixin Serum, the choice must align with individual needs, preferences, and medical conditions. 

Collaborating with healthcare professionals to explore these options can empower individuals to make informed decisions, fostering positive outcomes and restored confidence.


What is the main difference between Propecia (finasteride) and dutasteride in treating hair loss?

The main difference lies in their inhibition of 5-alpha reductase enzymes. Propecia selectively inhibits type II, while dutasteride inhibits both type I and type II. This results in dutasteride being more potent and effective in reducing DHT levels, but it may also lead to different side effects.

Can women use Propecia or dutasteride for hair loss treatment?

These medications are primarily prescribed for men, and they are not generally recommended for women, especially those who are pregnant or may become pregnant, due to potential risks to fetal development.

Are there natural alternatives to Propecia and dutasteride for treating hair loss?

Yes, products like Bio-Pilixin Serum by Scandinavian Biolabs offer another option, containing ingredients such as Capilia Longa, Niacinamide, and Vanillyl Butyl Ether.

Is it safe to stop using Propecia or dutasteride abruptly?

Discontinuing these medications can lead to a gradual return of hair loss. It's recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before making any changes to your treatment plan, as they can guide you based on your individual situation.

How long does it take to see results with propecia, dutasteride, or natural alternatives like Bio-Pilixin Serum?

Results can vary widely among individuals. With propecia or dutasteride, some may see improvements within a few months, while others might take longer. Natural alternatives like Bio-Pilixin Serum may have varying timeframes as well. Continuous use and consultation with healthcare providers will provide the best understanding of potential outcomes.


  • Read more:

  • Minoxidil For Women: Will It Regrow Your Hair?
  • 8 Best Receding Hairline Treatment In the UK
  • 10 Best & Proven Essential Oils For Hair Growth
  • Luat Duong

    Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.