1. Dutasteride oral capsule is available as a brand-name drug and a generic drug. Brand name: Avodart.
  2. Dutasteride comes only as a capsule you take by mouth.
  3. Dutasteride is used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is also called enlarged prostate. Dutasteride is only prescribed for men.

  • Prostate cancer warning: Dutasteride may increase your risk of 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 warning: If a woman is pregnant with a male baby and accidently gets 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 with soap and water immediately.
  • Blood donation warning: Don’t donate blood for at least 6 months after stopping dutasteride. This helps prevent passing dutasteride to a pregnant woman receiving the blood.

Dutasteride is a prescription drug. It comes only as an oral capsule.

Dutasteride is available as the brand-name drug Avodart. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, the brand-name drug and the generic version may be available in different forms and strengths.

Dutasteride 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 benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is also called enlarged prostate.

When the prostate is enlarged, it can pinch or squeeze your urethra and make it harder for you to urinate. Dutasteride helps increase your urine flow and decrease your risk of a complete blockage of urine flow (acute urinary retention).

In some cases, these actions can reduce the need for prostate surgery.

How it works

Dutasteride belongs to a class of drugs called 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

There’s a hormone in your blood called dihydrotestoterone (DHT) that causes your prostate to grow. Dutasteride prevents the formation of DHT in your body, causing an enlarged prostate to shrink.

Dutasteride oral capsule doesn’t cause drowsiness, but can cause other side effects.

More common side effects

The more common side effects that can occur with dutasteride include:

  • trouble getting or keeping an erection
  • decrease in sex drive
  • ejaculation problems
  • decrease in sperm count and activity

These effects may continue after you stop taking dutasteride.

Another common side effect is enlarged or painful breasts. This may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If it’s severe or doesn’t go away, or if you notice breast lumps or nipple discharge, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Allergic reactions. Symptoms can include:
    • swelling of your face, tongue, or throat
    • peeling skin
  • Prostate cancer. Symptoms may include:
    • increased prostate-specific antigen (PSA) concentrations
    • increased urination frequency
    • trouble starting urination
    • weak urine flow
    • painful/burning urination
    • trouble getting or maintaining an erection
    • painful ejaculation
    • blood in your urine or semen
    • frequent pain or stiffness in your lower back, hips, or upper thighs

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.

Dutasteride oral capsule can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with dutasteride are listed below.

HIV drugs

Taking dutasteride with drugs used to treat HIV called protease inhibitors can cause more dutasteride to stay in your blood. This can increase your risk of side effects.

Examples of these drugs include:

  • atazanavir
  • darunavir
  • fosemprenavir
  • indinavir
  • lopinavir
  • nelfinavir
  • ritonavir
  • saquinavir
  • tipranavir

Fungal infection drugs

Taking dutasteride with certain drugs used to treat fungal infections can cause more dutasteride to stay in your blood. This can increase your risk of side effects.

Examples of these drugs include:

  • itraconazole
  • ketoconazole
  • posaconazole
  • voriconazole

Blood pressure drugs

Taking dutasteride with certain drugs used to treat high blood pressure can cause more dutasteride to stay in your blood. This can increase your risk of side effects.

Examples of these drugs include:

  • verapamil
  • diltiazem

Acid reflux drug

Taking cimetidine with dutasteride can cause more dutasteride to stay in your blood. This can increase your risk of side effects.

Antibiotic

Taking ciprofloxacin with dutasteride can cause more dutasteride to stay in your blood.

This can increase your 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.

Dutasteride comes with several warnings.

Allergy warning

Dutasteride can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

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

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

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 (cause death).

Warnings for people with certain health conditions

For people with liver disease: Your body may not be able to process dutasteride correctly. This may cause more dutasteride to stay in your blood, which can increase your risk of side effects.

For pregnant women: Dutasteride is a pregnancy category X drug. Category X drugs should never be used during pregnancy.

If a woman is pregnant with a male baby and accidently gets 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 with soap and water immediately.

For women who are breastfeeding: 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. This drug has not been established as safe or effective in children.

This dosage information is for dutasteride oral capsule. All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug 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

Forms and strengths

Generic: Dutasteride

  • Form: oral capsule
  • Strength: 0.5 mg

Brand: Avodart

  • Form: oral capsule
  • Strength: 0.5 mg

Dosage for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

Adult dosage taken alone and in combination with tamsulosin (ages 18 years and older)

  • Typical dosage: One 0.5-mg capsule 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 speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.

Dutasteride is used for long-term treatment. It comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug or don’t take it at all: 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 miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule: Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much: You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. 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 think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or seek guidance from the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or through their online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose: Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working: You should have less difficulty starting to urinate, urges to urinate that are less frequent, and less straining while trying to urinate.

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes dutasteride for you.

General

  • You can take this drug with or without food. Taking it with food may help to reduce upset stomach.
  • Don’t crush, chew, or open dutasteride capsules. The contents of the capsule may irritate your lips, mouth, or throat. Swallow the capsule whole.

Storage

  • Store dutasteride capsules at room temperature between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C).
  • 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.
  • Keep this drug away from light.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Refills

A prescription for this medication is refillable. You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They won’t damage your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled container with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

Dutasteride may increase your risk of prostate cancer. Before and during your treatment with dutasteride, your doctor will check if you have prostate cancer by doing a blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) 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.

Availability

Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead to make sure your pharmacy carries it.

Prior authorization

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

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.