The active ingredient in Avodart is Dutasteride (DHT). Since 2009, Dutasteride has also been approved in South Korea to treat androgenetic alopecia (AGA), also known as male pattern hair loss.
Avodart’s Mechanism of Action
DHT is converted from testosterone via the action of two different enzymes. These two enzymes are different in molecular structure but identical in function. Scientists call them 5-alpha-reductase type I and 5-alpha-reductase type II.
Without at least one of these enzymes, our body cannot create DHT. Avodart blocks the action of both 5-alpha-reductase enzymes. The dutasteride molecule binds to either of these two enzymes and forms one large drug-enzyme complex. This molecule is very stable over time, and it serves to trap the 5-alpha-reductase molecules in it. When they are bound to dutasteride, the enzymes cannot convert testosterone to DHT, and the production of DHT in the body drops dramatically.
Comparison To Finasteride
Dutasteride is a much more powerful 5-alpha reductase inhibitor than the leading hair loss treatment Propecia (active ingredient finasteride). While Propecia only inhibits the type 2 enzyme, we saw that Avodart inhibits type 1 as well.
On paper, this suggests that it should be more effective at regrowing hair. A meta-analysis comparing the efficacy of dutasteride vs finasteride for male pattern hair loss was published in 2019. The results of the metanalysis showed that dutasteride was statistically superior to finasteride in all respects. With regards to sexual side effects (which we will come to shortly), the metanalysis found no statistically significant difference in their frequency between the two treatments.
How Long Do Results Last?
Like finasteride, results with dutasteride only last as long as the treatment. As soon as you stop treatment, the levels of DHT in your blood will rise again, and hair loss will
Because their mechanism of action is very similar, the side effects of dutasteride are very similar to finasteride. The most common ones are impotence, a decrease in sex drive, ejaculation problems, and gynecomastia. Often, these side effects will resolve on their own. Other times, however, they will persist. In this case, the only option is to discontinue treatment.
/// Dihydrotestosterone & Hair Loss ///
Men who suffer from male pattern hair loss or BPH both have a sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone.
Dihydrotestosterone is one of the four male hormones that make up the androgen family. The other three are testosterone, androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosterone.
Out of these four hormones, dihydrotestosterone is the strongest, with a potency in the male body about three times that of testosterone. When a male starts out his life as a fetus in the womb, he needs dihydrotestosterone to develop the male sex organs. Without dihydrotestosterone, the male reproductive organs will not develop, so this is obviously a crucial hormone. Shortly after birth, the production of dihydrotestosterone drops to undetectable levels. But during puberty, dihydrotestosterone is once again critical for the development of the so-called secondary sex characteristics, like the bodily hair on the chest and other parts of the body, the deepening of the voice, as well as musculoskeletal changes, and more. It is after puberty that dihydrotestosterone apparently stops doing anything useful and starts to create problems.
The two main problems it causes are i) the enlargement of the prostate, and ii) male pattern baldness.