Do you know what the most effective hair loss treatment on the market is? Chances are good that if you have done some research or talked to your doctor you have been recommended finasteride and/or minoxidil.
Many people still believe that these treatments are their best weapon in the battle to overcome hair loss. Don’t get me wrong, both finasteride and minoxidil have plenty of research backing them and they have both been shown to be effective at stopping the progression of hair loss as well as aid in regrowth. But, the reason they are commonly regarded as the most effective is because they are both FDA approved, and FDA approved does not necessarily mean most effective.
There is a treatment called Avodart that is likely much more effective that finasteride and minoxidil (maybe even combined).
In this article we are going to go over what Avodart is, how it works, and look at the research so that you understand why you should seriously consider it for your hair loss.
What is Avodart?
Avodart is actually a brand, the meditation itself is called dutasteride.
Avodarts benefits were discovered in a similar way to finasteride. Originally, Avodart was created as a medication for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or an enlarged prostate.
BPH affects roughly ⅓ of men over the age of 50, so it is no wonder that dutasteride was created after finasteride in an attempt to make a for effective medication (for BPH that is). But, what inadvertently happened is that a more effective hair loss medication was created. The benefits for hair loss were quickly discovered once the drug went into production.
How does Avodart work?
Before we dive into how and why Avodart is so effective, let’s briefly touch on how hair loss itself transpires.
Basically, testosterone is converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by and enzyme called 5-alpha reductase (5-AR; more on that in a second).
DHT is what causes hair loss.
Everyone has DHT receptors in their hair follicles that DHT binds too, but in people who are genetically susceptible to hair loss, that binding causes the process of androgenic alopecia (AGA) to begin (DHT is an androgen, alopecia is the medical term for hair loss, ergo the term “androgenic alopecia” means androgen-induced hair loss).
What does all of this have to do with Avodart?
Well, it all goes back to that pesky little enzyme 5-AR. Both Avodart and finasteride work by blocking 5-AR, which is why they are cleverly classified as 5-AR inhibitors.
By blocking 5-AR, Avodart therefore reduces the number of conversions from testosterone into DHT, and the less DHT there is the less hair loss there will be.
Side note: blocking DHT is what helps treat BPH because DHT accumulation in the prostate is what causes it to grow to abnormal sizes.
But finasteride also blocks 5-AR so…
What makes Avodart more effective?
Surprise! There is more than one type of 5-AR, in fact there are three, and here is where Avodart starts to pull ahead in terms of effectiveness.
Avodart on the other hand blocks both type-1 and type-2.
Studies have shown that Avodart can reduce DHT by more than 90%, which is a marked improvement over finasteride. Not only that, but researchers have also found Avodart to be three times more effective at reducing type-2 and one hundred times more effective at reducing type-1 (3, 4).
So this begs the question: if it is more effective, why isn’t Avodart FDA approved for hair loss?
There is no definitive answer to this question, you would have to take it up with the FDA. The FDA approval process can be quite extensive and can take multiple years, but there is no discernible reason why this process has not begun yet as dutasteride has been used for many years by millions as an off-label hair loss treatment. If it were to undergo trials it would likely emerge as the new standard for hair loss treatments.
Some might say “what about the side effects? Surely if it is affecting your hormones more than finasteride the side effects must be worse?”
And to that I would point at the research which says otherwise. Multiple studies have looked at the adverse effects of finasteride and dutasteride side by side and found that there is not a significant difference between the two (5, 6).
That being said, although rare, you should be aware of the side effects that may occur with either drug which include:
Just because your doctor or the first article you clicked on says that finasteride, minoxidil, or any treatment is the most effective does not necessarily mean that it is.
It is extremely important to do your research, but especially when it comes to such a poorly understood subject like hair loss.
What I want you to take away from this article is two things:
1. If you are looking for the most effective hair loss treatment, ask your doctor about dutasteride. It may be more than three times as effective as finasteride. If you don’t inquire about it chances are that your doctor will recommend a finasteride prescription.
2. Always look deeper. There are so many people out there that are missing out on the potential to overcome hair loss simply because they did surface level research. Don’t always believe the first thing you read, remain skeptical.