Updated: Jul 9
Finasteride and dutasteride are both 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors (the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone to DHT) and are both great tools to utilize for a hair loss regimen. I just recently made the change from finasteride to dutasteride about 3 months ago and wanted to share what I have learned so far. Fair warning, this is a personal account of what happened to ME on both of these drugs. You should consult a doctor before beginning either of these drugs as everyone reacts differently. The purpose of this story is not to necessarily provide scientifically accurate information, but more so to provide readers with a real story that they can relate to and hopefully learn from…
For starters let’s talk about finasteride. I began taking finasteride around January of 2018. Initially, I visited a hair loss specialist to inquire about a hair transplant, but was rejected because I am too young (21) and was instead offered a finasteride prescription as an alternative (for those of you thinking about getting a transplant, for most places you have to be at least 25 years old). I was very skeptical at first because I had read reviews online about people that had experienced some of the side effects including a range of sexual side effects, swelling in hands and feet, weakness and dizziness. Apart from the possible side effects, there were also a lot of people saying that it did nothing for them and was a waste of time and money. This frightened me. Being 21 years old at the time, I didn’t want to experience the negative sexual side effects, especially because I was fresh into a new relationship. Unfortunately, my hair loss situation was getting so bad that I was transitioning from a Norwood 3 to a Norwood 4. I was so young and so self-conscious (not to mention I had a beautiful girlfriend that I wanted to keep around) that I decided to set those worries aside and just go for it.
Now, if you are reading this article to hear about how effective both finasteride and dutasteride were at curing my hair loss so I will cut right to the chase. After being on finasteride for a little over a year and a half (along with using Rogaine, LLLT, supplements, and derma rolling) I would give the results a prominent 6/10. I say this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I went into it with the wrong mindset, I was expecting finasteride to be a miracle drug and give me a full head of hair in 4 months time. This is not a healthy way of looking at things, instead what I would recommend to anyone thinking about taking it is go into it not expecting anything, this way if finasteride does work you will not be disappointed. What actually happened in my time using it, which is most common among finasteride users, is that it maintained what hair I had left. I can look back now and greatly appreciate this. If it hadn’t worked at all, I would almost surely be at a full blown Norwood 4 and possibly even moving towards a Norwood 5. Although I was not blown away by the results and looking like Zac Efron, I could appreciate the fact that I was not losing any more hair. Unfortunately that is where the finasteride story ends. Even with using it alongside several other hair loss treatments, the most that it did for me was keep my hair looking the same.
This is when I started researching and came across dutasteride. Again, I had been using finasteride from January of 2018 until July, 2019. It was in July that I made the somewhat abrupt decision to get off finasteride and switch to the more powerful dutasteride. I say somewhat abrupt because again I was nervous switching over for several reasons. The first, and probably the most daunting, was the fact that finasteride had been so good at holding on to the hair that I had which made me think “what if I don’t respond to dutasteride and start losing hair again?” From reading forums on dutasteride, there were a lot of people saying that the only thing that happened was that it caused a massive shed and no new hair growth. This coupled with the fact that the side effects of it are amplified compared to those of finasteride made making the switch quite scary. Fortunately for me there were also some positive things that I read online. I noticed quickly that a lot of the people who were talking in the forums had only been on dutasteride for a couple of months. This stood out to me because for 5AR inhibitors there is commonly a “shedding phase” where a lot of hair falls out so that new hair can grow in. Additionally, I found that generally people who had seen results on finasteride were good responders to dutasteride as well, not to mention those who didn’t experience the side effects on one usually didn’t on the other. Both if these pieces of information gave me a lot of hope. After coming across some success stories and seeing how dramatic the results were I decided it was time to consult my doctor…
I have been taking dutasteride for three months now and I must say the results have been FANTASTIC. I have had more regrowth in three months than I did in a year and a half on finasteride. My hair along my temples is beginning to fill in very nicely and I have even gotten some compliments about how much better my hair looks! I have also not experienced any of the side effects which I am very grateful for. Now I want to be clear in saying dutasteride is for everyone and I am not a doctor, in fact some people have said that they respond better to finasteride. BUT if you are willing to try it and have had some success with finasteride, but maybe it was not what you were hoping for, I definitely recommend switching over to dutasteride. I did want to touch on the shedding period. For the first couple weeks’ (the time is different for everyone) I did experience a significant shed and was losing A LOT of hair. I was able to stay optimistic though because again this is usually normal when starting a 5AR inhibitor. The optimism definitely payed off. I have more hair now than I had when I was 17 years old and couldn’t be happier with the results that I am seeing. I am excited to see what happens at the 6 month, 1 year, etc. marks!
For the sake of me not being a doctor, once again I HIGHLY recommend that you consult with your physician before making the decision to start one of these medications and if you see any side effects stop IMMEDIATELY. I wanted to share this story with you guys so that anyone who is maybe on the fence or experiencing similar results that I did with finasteride can decide whether or not dutasteride might be right for them.
I want to help anyone who is experiencing hair loss out as much as possible. I know how hard it can be, even talking to other people about it can be hard. I promise I am an open book and will share anything and everything with you. Please reach out to my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave a comment down below, and don’t forget PREPARE YOUR HAIR!