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Dutasteride

Dutasteride

Dutasteride is a type of medicine called a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor and is a type of antiandrogen. Antiandrogens are the name given to a diverse group of medicines that counteract the effects of male sex hormones. Dutasteride helps shrink the prostate gland. Therefore, Dutasteride is only suitable for use in men.

Dutasteride decreases the amount of testosterone that is converted into the male sex hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT causes the prostate gland to swell. An enlarged prostate can compress the urethra and cause urinary problems. Dutasteride reduces prostate size and thereby the risk of an enlarged prostate blocking urine flow.

What is Dutasteride?

Dutasteride is a type of medicine called a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor and is a type of antiandrogen. Antiandrogens are the name given to a diverse group of medicines that counteract the effects of male sex hormones. Dutasteride helps shrink the prostate gland. Therefore, Dutasteride is only suitable for use in men.

When is Dutasteride used?

Dutasteride is used to relieve the urinary symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH). Urinary problems are characterised by:

  • An interrupted urinary stream or weak urinary stream.
  • Increased need to urinate, also in the night.
  • Dribbling of urine after urinating.
  • Involuntary discharge of urine.

The prostate gland is found only in men and lies at the top of the tube connecting the bladder to the outside (urethra). The male sex hormone DHT causes the prostate gland to swell. Especially in elderly men, an enlarged prostate can compress the urethra and cause urinary problems. The symptoms tend to gradually worsen over time. As the urethra becomes more and more compressed, urination fails to completely empty the bladder. Eventually, this can cause bladder infection and kidney problems.

Dutasteride prevents the conversion of testosterone into DHT. As a result, the prostate gland shrinks, relieving pressure on the urethra which, in turn, reduces the urinary symptoms.

How is Dutasteride used?

Dutasteride is formulated in soft gelatine capsules and is used as follows:

  • The capsules should be swallowed whole with plenty of water. Do not chew, because the contents of the capsule may irritate the lining of the mouth and throat.
  • The capsules can be taken with or without food.
  • The capsules should be taken at the same time each day to avoid missing any.
  • If you have forgotten to take a dose, you should take it as soon as you remember, unless it is almost time for your next scheduled dose (i.e. less than eight hours).
  • It can take some time before the effect of this medicine is noticed. Keep taking it until your doctor tells you to stop. Most men will need to take it for at least six months to see if it helps. If there is no improvement after six months, contact a doctor.

What doses are available?

One capsule contains 0.5 mg dutasteride. Length of treatment and daily dose should be determined by a doctor. The general recommended dose is:

  • Adults: one 0.5-mg capsule once daily.

Always follow the prescription exactly – never take more or less than the doctor recommends.

What are the side effects of Dutasteride?

Like all medicines, Dutasteride may cause unwanted effects (side effects). Side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine include:

  • Erectile dysfunction.
  • Loss of libido (sex drive).
  • Ejaculation disorders.
  • Enlarged breasts.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fertility problems.
  • Reduced level of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. The blood level of PSA is often elevated in men with prostate cancer. It is important to tell the doctor that you are taking Dutasteride so that he can take this into account.

For a complete list of side effects, see the package leaflet. Side effects should be reported to a doctor or pharmacist.

When not to use Dutasteride?

Dutasteride is not suitable for all men. Do not use this medicine if:

  • You are allergic to the active ingredient dutasteride, other 5-alpha reductase inhibitors or any other ingredient in this medicine.
  • You have a serious liver disease.
  • You are female or under the age of 18.

Dutasteride should be used with caution if:

  • You have or have had liver problems.
  • You are taking medication from the same family of alpha-blockers, such as tamsulosin.

Consult a doctor if the above applies to you.

Note: Women and children may not come in contact with Dutasteride, especially women who are pregnant or trying to conceive, as this medicine could cause abnormalities in a developing baby.

Dutasteride can be absorbed through the skin and for this reason women, children and adolescents should avoid contact with any capsules of this medicine that are leaking. If contact is made with leaking capsules, the contact area should be washed immediately with soap and water.

The active ingredient of this medicine passes into semen. While you are taking Dutasteride you should use a condom during sex to prevent your partner from coming into contact with this medicine. For more information on this subject, see the package leaflet.

Can Dutasteride be used in combination with other medicines?

This medicine may interact with other medicines, including:

  • Certain medications used to treat high blood pressure (verapamil or diltiazem).
  • Certain anti-HIV medicines (ritonavir or indinavir).
  • Certain antifungal medicines (itraconazole or ketoconazole).
  • Nefazodone (antidepressant).
  • Alpha blockers (medicines to treat e.g. an enlarged prostate or high blood pressure).

If you are using one of the above-listed medicines, check with your doctor or pharmacist before you start treatment with Dutasteride to make sure that the combination is safe.

Where can I buy Dutasteride?

You can only order Dutasteride from a pharmacy. This medicine is not available over the counter.

Can I buy Dutasteride without a prescription?

Dutasteride is a prescription-only medicine. This means you need a prescription from a registered doctor to buy these capsules.

Sources

Centrafarm BV. (2019, 1 October). Bijsluiter Dutasteride CF 0,5 mg, zachte capsules (Package leaflet Dutasteride CF 0.5mg, soft capsules). Consulted on 22 April 2020 on https://www.geneesmiddeleninformatiebank.nl/ords/f?p=111:3::SEARCH:NO::P0_DOMAIN,P0_LANG,P3_RVG1:H,NL,116062

Debruyne, P.F. (n.d.). Vergrote prostaat – oorzaken en behandeling (Enlarged prostate – causes and treatment). Consulted on 22 April 2020 on https://www.andros.nl/prostaatklachten/vergrote-prostaat/

KNMP (Royal Dutch Pharmaceutical Society) (n.d.). Dutasteride – Apotheek.nl. Consulted on 22 April 2020 on https://www.apotheek.nl/medicijnen/dutasteride#!

Zorginstituut Nederland. (n.d.). Dutasteride – FarmacotherapeutischKompas. Consulted on 22 April 2020 on https://www.farmacotherapeutischkompas.nl/bladeren/preparaatteksten/d/dutasteride#samenstelling