There are multiple drugs that can be used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate. Two of the more common drugs used are Finasteride and Dutasteride. There are a few differences between these drugs although they treat similar conditions.
Finasteride doubles as a treatment for male pattern baldness and for an enlarged prostate. The mechanism for their treatment of BPH is somewhat different. Finasteride is an enzyme blocker, and it actually modifies the makeup of testosterone to deal with these medical problems.
Dutasteride is also an enzyme inhibitor, but instead of modifying testosterone, it blocks the production of dihydrotestosterone, which the prostate requires in order to grow.
Finasteride has no known drug interactions. An interaction refers to the way one drug has an effect on the mechanism of another drug, causing it to react in a different manner than it usually does or to create side effects that it would not usually create.
Dutasteride can interact with several different drugs, including some antibiotics, some HIV medications and some blood pressure drugs. There is no evidence that it will make your side effects worse, but it has been shown to slow down the liver’s processes and stays in the bloodstream longer when it interacts with these other drugs.
Both drugs are equally as effective, and you will have to take both of them long term to continue producing the desired effect. In most cases, this treatment is expected to continue for the rest of your life as these drugs control the prostate growth process and keep it at manageable levels.
These two drugs also share many of the same side effects. As far as serious side effects go, they both may increase your chances of developing certain kinds of cancer, specifically prostate cancer.
Milder side effects are shared as well. Both Finasteride and Dutasteride can cause a decrease in sex drive, and this is a problem that can continue even after you stop taking the drugs. They may also give males some of the characteristics of females over time by causing gynecomastia (enlargement of the breast area). These drugs may cause impotence and problems with ejaculation.
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