Generic Name: dutasteride, Oral capsule

Generic Name:

dutasteride, Oral capsule

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SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for dutasteride

Oral capsule
1

Dutasteride is used to treat enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia [BPH]) in men with an enlarged prostate. It helps decrease your risk of a complete blockage of urine flow (acute urinary retention).

2

This drug can be as an alternative to surgery for men who are uncomfortable with undergoing surgery.

3

Dutasteride is used by men only.

4

The most common side effects of dutasteride include trouble getting or keeping an erection, a decrease in sex drive, ejaculation problems, and enlarged or painful breasts. You may still experience some of these side effects even after you stop taking dutasteride.

5

Dutasteride has been shown to affect sperm. It can lower sperm count, semen volume, and sperm movement. However, it isn’t known if dutasteride actually affects fertility.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Prostate cancer

Dutasteride may increase your risk for prostate cancer. Your doctor will check if you have prostate cancer by doing a blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) before and during your treatment with dutasteride. Dutasteride lowers PSA concentrations in your blood. If there is an increase in your PSA, your doctor may decide to do more tests to check if you have prostate cancer.

Pregnancy

If a woman is pregnant with a male baby and accidently gets enough dutasteride in her body by swallowing or touching dutasteride, the baby may be born with deformed sex organs. If your female partner becomes pregnant or is planning to become pregnant, and her skin comes in contact with leaking dutasteride capsules, she should wash the area of contact with soap and water immediately.

Blood donation

Don’t donate blood for at least 6 months after stopping dutasteride because of the chance of passing dutasteride to a pregnant woman receiving the blood.

Drug Features

Dutasteride is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral capsule.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs.

Why It's Used

Dutasteride is used to treat enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia [BPH]).

More Details

How It Works

Dutasteride belongs to a class of drugs called 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors.

More Details

Why It's Used

Dutasteride is used to treat enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia [BPH]). When the prostate is enlarged, it can pinch or squeeze your urethra and affect your ability to urinate. Dutasteride helps decrease your risk of a complete blockage of urine flow (acute urinary retention) and reduces your need for prostate surgery. 

How It Works

Dutasteride belongs to a class of drugs called 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They’re often used to treat similar conditions. 

There is a hormone in your blood called dihydrotestoterone (DHT), which causes your prostate to grow. Drugs like dutasteride prevent the formation of DHT in your body, causing an enlarged prostate to shrink.

SECTION 2 of 5

dutasteride Side Effects

Oral capsule

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with dutasteride include:

  • trouble getting or keeping an erection (may continue after stopping dutasteride)

  • decrease in sex drive (may continue after stopping dutasteride)

  • ejaculation problems (may continue after stopping dutasteride)

  • enlarged or painful breasts. If you notice breast lumps or nipple discharge, talk to your doctor.

If these effects are mild, they may disappear within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t disappear, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • allergic reactions. Symptoms may include:

    • swelling of your face, tongue, or throat
    • peeling skin
  •  prostate cancer. Symptoms may include:

    • increased prostate-specific antigen (PSA) concentrations
    • increased urination frequency
    • difficulty starting urination
    • weak urine flow
    • painful/burning urination
    • difficulty in having or maintaining an erection
    • painful ejaculation
    • blood in the urine or semen
    • frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Dutasteride doesn’t cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 5

dutasteride May Interact with Other Medications

Oral capsule

Dutasteride can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) drugs
  • protease inhibitors
    • atazanavir
    • darunavir
    • fosemprenavir
    • indinavir
    • lopoinavir
    • nelfinavir
    • ritonavir
    • saquinavir
    • tipranavir

When you take these drugs with dutasteride, they cause more dutasteride to stay in your blood. This puts you at increased risk of side effects.

Fungal infection drugs
  • itraconazole
  • ketoconazole
  • posaconazole
  • voriconazole

When you take these drugs with dutasteride, they cause more dutasteride to stay in your blood. This puts you at increased risk of side effects.

Blood pressure drugs
  • verapamil
  • diltiazem

When you take these drugs with dutasteride, they cause more dutasteride to stay in your blood. This puts you at increased risk of side effects.

Acid reflux drug
  • cimetidine

When you take this drug with dutasteride, it causes more dutasteride to stay in your blood. This puts you at increased risk of side effects.

Antibiotic
  • ciprofloxacin

When you take this drug with dutasteride, it causes more dutasteride to stay in your blood. This puts you at increased risk of side effects.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with liver disease

If you have liver disease, your body may not be able to process dutasteride correctly. This may cause more dutasteride to stay in your blood, putting you at an increased risk of side effects.

Pregnant women

Dutasteride is a pregnancy category X drug. Category X drugs should never be used during pregnancy.

Women who are breast-feeding

Dutasteride should never be used in breastfeeding women. It isn’t known if dutasteride passes through breast milk.

For Children

Dutasteride shouldn’t be used in children. Safety and effectiveness in children haven’t been established. Keep this drug out of the reach of children.

Contact with drug

Pregnancy: If a woman is pregnant with a male baby and accidently gets enough dutasteride in her body by swallowing or touching dutasteride, the baby may be born with deformed sex organs. If your female partner becomes pregnant or is planning to become pregnant, and her skin comes in contact with leaking dutasteride capsules, she should wash the area of contact with soap and water immediately.

Allergies

Dutasteride can cause a severe allergic reaction, causing symptoms such as:

  • swelling of your face, tongue, or throat
  • serious skin reactions such as skin peeling

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it or other 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors. Taking it again could be fatal.

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How to Take dutasteride (Dosage)

Oral capsule

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia
Form: Oral capsule
Strengths: 0.5 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)

Take one 0.5 mg capsule once per day.

Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

Dosage for people younger than 18 years old hasn’t been established.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Dutasteride comes with serious risks if you don't take it as prescribed.

If You Don’t Take It or Stop Taking It

If you don’t take or stop taking dutasteride, you may have increased symptoms such as difficulty starting to urinate, straining while trying to urinate, a weak urine flow, frequent urges to urinate, or more frequent need to wake up during the night to urinate.

If You Take Too Much

What happens when you take too much dutasteride isn’t known. Since there is no antidote for dutasteride, your doctor will treat whatever symptoms you experience. If you suspect that you have taken too much dutasteride, call your doctor or get emergency medical attention right away.

What to Do If You Miss a Dose

If you miss a dose, you make take it later that day. Don’t make up the missed dose by taking 2 doses the next day, because the amount of dutasteride in your body may increase to toxic levels.

How to Tell If the Drug Is Working

You’ll have less difficulty starting to urinate, less frequent urges to urinate, and less straining while trying to urinate.

Dutasteride is a long-term drug treatment.

Important Considerations for Taking Dutasteride

Don’t crush, chew, or open dutasteride capsules

The contents of the capsule may irritate your lips, mouth, or throat. Swallow the capsule whole.

Store dutasteride at room temperature

Keep it at 59–86°F (15–30ºC).

Keep it away from high temperature, because it may become deformed or discolored.

Don’t use dutasteride if the capsule is deformed, discolored, or leaking. 

Safely throw away medicine that’s no longer needed.

Keep your drugs away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store these drugs away from moisture and damp locations. 

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines; they can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to produce your pharmacy’s preprinted label clearly identifying the medication. Keep the original pharmacy prescription-labeled box when traveling with your medication.
  • Don’t put this medicine in your glove compartment or leave it in the car, especially when the temperature is hot or freezing.

Clinical Monitoring

Dutasteride may increase your risk for prostate cancer. Your doctor will check if you have prostate cancer by doing a blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) before and during your treatment with dutasteride to see if there are any changes. Dutasteride lowers PSA concentrations in your blood. If there is an increase in your PSA, your doctor may decide to do more tests to check if you have prostate cancer.

Insurance

Many insurance companies will require a prior authorization before they approve the prescription and pay for dutasteride.

Are There Any Alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

What does the pill look like?

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SECTION 5 of 5

How Much Does dutasteride Cost?

Oral capsule
We've partnered with GoodRX so you can compare prices and save money on your next prescription. Check out the lowest cash prices below and enter your zip code to find the best deal near you.

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Lowest price for dutasteride

Membership warehouse $177.86
Kroger Pharmacy $178.54
Publix $178.60
These represent the lowest cash prices for dutasteride and may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on July 19, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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