Dutasteride (Avodart): Basics, Side Effects & Reviews (2023)

Dutasteride (Avodart) is a medication that works well to bring down prostate size and get rid of symptoms of an enlarged prostate, but it takes a few months to work and can lower sex drive.

COMMON BRANDS

Avodart

DRUG CLASS

5-alpha reductase inhibitor

CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE CLASSIFICATION

Not a controlled medication

GENERIC STATUS

Lower-cost generic available

AVAILABILITY

Prescription only

Reviewed by:

Hope Chang, PharmD, AAHIVP

Allison Barnes, PharmD

Last reviewed on:

July 6, 2020

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What is dutasteride (Avodart)?

How dutasteride (Avodart) works

Dutasteride (Avodart) blocks the body from making a form of testosterone called DHT which slows the prostate from getting larger.

What is dutasteride (Avodart) used for?

  • Enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia - BPH)

Dutasteride (Avodart) dosage forms

Dutasteride (Avodart): Basics, Side Effects & Reviews (1)

capsule

0.5mg

Typical dosing for dutasteride (Avodart)

Dutasteride (Avodart) is typically taken as 0.5 mcg (1 capsule) by mouth once a day.

Frequently asked questions about dutasteride (Avodart)

Dutasteride (Avodart): Basics, Side Effects & Reviews (2)

Does dutasteride (Avodart) shrink the prostate?

Yes, when dutasteride (Avodart) blocks dihydrotestosterone (DHT) it stops your prostate from gettng larger. In several studies, those taking dutasteride (Avodart) saw their prostate shrink more than people taking placebo.

Some studies found that dutasteride (Avodart) can be useful in the treatment of male patterned baldness. It's not FDA approved for this use like another medication in its class, Propecia (finasteride).

Some people can feel improvement in symptoms as soon as 3 months, while for others it may take up to 6 months to see benefits.

Some side effects can last years after stopping the medication. Talk to your doctor before starting this medication if this is a concern for you.

Dutasteride (Avodart) can be taken any time of the day but it works best when taken at the same time each day. If you are also taking other medications for your prostate like Flomax (tamsulosin), it might be a good idea to take these together.

Pros and cons of dutasteride (Avodart)

Pros

Dutasteride (Avodart): Basics, Side Effects & Reviews (7)Dutasteride (Avodart) can get rid of the need for prostate-related surgery by improving symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate.

Dutasteride (Avodart): Basics, Side Effects & Reviews (8)Most side effects go away after your body gets used to dutasteride (Avodart).

Dutasteride (Avodart): Basics, Side Effects & Reviews (9)Dutasteride (Avodart) can be used alone or in combination with Flomax (tamsulosin) to improve symptoms even more.

Dutasteride (Avodart): Basics, Side Effects & Reviews (10)Improving BPH symptoms can make it easier to urinate.

Cons

Dutasteride (Avodart): Basics, Side Effects & Reviews (11)Some men may experience a lower sex drive, trouble keeping an erection, or less sperm which may continue after stopping dutasteride (Avodart).

Dutasteride (Avodart): Basics, Side Effects & Reviews (12)Dutasteride (Avodart) can hide symptoms of prostate cancer and lower prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, which normally helps your doctor screen for prostate cancer.

Dutasteride (Avodart): Basics, Side Effects & Reviews (13)You shouldn't donate blood while taking this medication and for 6 months after last dose. The reason is so that the blood won't be given to a pregnant women because it could harm their baby.

Pharmacist tips for dutasteride (Avodart)

Dutasteride (Avodart): Basics, Side Effects & Reviews (14)Don't take or touch the capsule if it is bent, changes color, or is leaking. Swallow pills whole. Don't chew or open them because the powder can irritate your mouth.

Dutasteride (Avodart): Basics, Side Effects & Reviews (15)Don't donate blood while you are taking dutasteride (Avodart) and within 6 months of your last dose. Medication in the blood can harm the babies of pregnant women who might receive the blood transfusion.

Dutasteride (Avodart): Basics, Side Effects & Reviews (16)Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant must not touch the capsules. Medication absorbed through the skin can harm the unborn baby. If they do come in contact with a leaky capsule, that area of the skin should be washed right away with soap and water.

Dutasteride (Avodart): Basics, Side Effects & Reviews (17)Taking allergy or cold/flu medications (such as antihistamines and decongestants) may make your BPH symptoms worse. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about other options.

Dutasteride (Avodart): Basics, Side Effects & Reviews (18)

Prices for dutasteride (Avodart) start at just $15.22 with a GoodRx coupon. They’re fast, easy-to-use and free!

View Coupon Prices

What are the side effects of dutasteride (Avodart)?

With any medication, there are risks and benefits. Even if the medication is working, you may experience some unwanted side effects.

Dutasteride (Avodart): Basics, Side Effects & Reviews (19) The following side effects may get better over time as your body gets used to the medication. Let your doctor know immediately if you continue to experience these symptoms or if they worsen over time.

Common side effects

  • Trouble getting an erection or orgasm (5%)
  • Lower sex drive (3%)

Other side effects

  • Ejaculation disorders
  • Breast disorders

Source: FDA

The following side effects have also been reported:

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Rare

Chest pain or discomfort

dilated neck veins

extreme fatigue

irregular breathing

irregular heartbeat

swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs

trouble breathing

weight gain

Incidence not known

Blistering, flaking, or peeling of the skin

cough

difficulty with swallowing

dizziness

fast heartbeat

hives or welts, itching skin, rash

large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs

puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue

redness of the skin

tightness in the chest

unusual tiredness or weakness

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common

Abnormal ejaculation

decreased interest in sexual intercourse

decreased sexual performance or desire

impotence

inability to have or keep an erection

loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance

pain, soreness, swelling, or discharge from the breast or breasts

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What are the risks and warnings for dutasteride (Avodart)?

Dutasteride (Avodart) can cause some serious health issues. This risk may be even higher for certain groups. If this worries you, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about other options

BIRTH DEFECTS

Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should never handle dutasteride (Avodart) capsules without gloves because it can cause serious birth defects to the unborn baby.

POOR SCREENING OF MALE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CONDITIONS

Symptoms of an enlarged prostate can be signs of other problems, including prostate cancer. Before starting dutasteride (Avodart) your doctor should check you for other conditions of the male urinary tract system and reproductive system.

PROSTATE-SPECIFIC ANTIGEN (PSA) LEVELS AND USE FOR PROSTATE CANCER DETECTION

  • Risk factors: dutasteride (Avodart) use for 3 months or longer

Dutasteride (Avodart) can lower prostate-specific antigen levels (PSA) in your body, which may affect the results of a prostate cancer test. Your doctor should test your PSA levels at least 6 months after starting treatment to get a new baseline level for you, and watch closely thereafter.

BLOOD DONATION

Men taking dutasteride (Avodart) shouldn't donate blood until at least 6 months after their last dose in order to prevent blood transfusion of dutasteride (Avodart) to a pregnant woman.

CHANGES IN SEMEN

People taking dutasteride (Avodart) after 1 year were found to have lower sperm count, semen volume and sperm motility. It is unknown how these changes affect fertility.

Interactions between dutasteride (Avodart) and other medications

Dutasteride (Avodart) may interact with certain medications or supplements. Always let your doctor and pharmacist know about any other medications or supplements (including prescribed and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and dietary or herbal supplements) that you are currently taking. The list below does not include all possible drug interactions with dutasteride (Avodart). Please note that only the generic name of each medication is listed below.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Ceritinib
  • Clarithromycin

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Cimetidine
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Diltiazem
  • Ketoconazole
  • Ritonavir
  • Verapamil

How much does dutasteride (Avodart) cost?

Dutasteride (Avodart) is available as a generic medication and may be significantly cheaper compared to the brand version. Unless there is a specific reason you need the brand, the generic medication will be a better value. For even more savings, use a GoodRx coupon and pay just a fraction of the retail price.

Lowest GoodRx Price
Avodart (brand)

$271.05

Lowest GoodRx Price
dutasteride (generic)

$15.22

Pricing based on most commonly-filled versions: 30 capsules of dutasteride 0.5mg

What are alternatives to dutasteride (Avodart)?

There are a number of medications that your doctor can prescribe in place of dutasteride (Avodart). Compare a few possible alternatives below.

Dutasteride (Avodart)

Drug Class:5-alpha reductase inhibitor

Used for:

  • Enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia - BPH)

$15.22

lowest GoodRx price

View Prices

Finasteride (Proscar)

Drug Class:5-alpha reductase inhibitor

Used for:

Enlarged prostate (BPH - benign prostatic hyperplasia)

$14.47

lowest GoodRx price

View Prices

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Can an Enlarged Prostate Affect Your Sex Life? Erectile Dysfunction, Orgasms, and More

Can an enlarged prostate affect your sex life? Not really, but BPH treatments might. Explore the link between prostate issues and erectile dysfunction here.

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There are many blood donor eligibility requirements that you should know before trying to donate blood. These are to ensure that blood donations don’t lead to transfusion transmitted infections. Learn if you can donate blood here.

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