Dutasteride (Oral)

Overview

Women who are currently of childbearing age, especially those who are not practicing an effective contraceptive method, need to avoid contact with dutasteride. This drug has caused serious birth defects in male fetuses, and all contact, including just touching the medication needs to be avoided at all times.

Men who suffer from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a common condition as they age, will likely be prescribed dutasteride for treatment. This drug can be used effectively on its own, or in combination with tamsulosin. If you are experiencing symptoms such as an increased need to urinate, the culprit may be an enlarged prostate gland. In fact, any issues that are related to difficulty or problems with urination should be discussed with your doctor as soon as possible in order to rule out any more serious issues.

This medication blocks the 5-alpha enzyme thereby preventing the prostate gland from growing. This blockage will also spur the gland to shrink in the event that it has become enlarged. This medication will likely provide relief to the patient after they take just a few doses, and many men are tempted to stop taking their dutasteride prescription. Unfortunately, the results of this drug are temporary and it does need to be taken on a continuous basis to remain effective. This drug is available via prescription and all medical instructions provided by your physician must be followed. It is important that dutasteride is taken for the entire course of treatment in order to remain effective.

Condition(s) Treated:

  • Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

Type of Medicine:

  • 5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitor

Side Effects

Dutasteride has been reported to cause a number of unwanted side effects, some more serious than others, and patients should be aware of the signs of a potentially harmful reaction to their medication. If you experience any of the symptoms listed below, it is important that you notify your doctor immediately to determine if further medical attention is necessary.

Rare Occurrence:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Swelling of the face or any of the body's extremities
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Wheezing
  • Irregular breathing
  • Weight gain
  • Dilated neck veins

Unknown Incidence of Occurrence:

  • Blisters
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Flakey or peeling skin
  • Skin rash
  • Difficulty with swallowing
  • Swollen sex organs
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Enlarged throat
  • Itching skin
  • Wheezing
  • Swollen tongue
  • Enlarged hives or swelling of facial area including lips and eyelids
  • Puffy hands, legs, or feet
  • Hives or welts
  • Redness of the skin
  • Dizziness
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Coughs

There are other likely symptoms that may occur with the use of dutasteride that will likely go away on their own once your body becomes adjusted to the presence of this drug in the system. If you experience any of these side effects and they do not go away after a few days, or they become worse, it is always best practice to inform your doctor to determine if further attention is warranted.

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 Likely:

  • Abnormal ejaculation
  • Inability to have or keep an erection
  • Decreased sexual performance or desire
  • Inability to perform sexually
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Decreased interest in sexual intercourse
  • Pain, soreness, swelling, or discharge from the breast or breasts
  • Impotence

While this list is comprehensive, there are side effects that may occur that are not contained therein. If you experience any symptoms that cause you concern or discomfort, it is always best practice to consult with the prescribing physician for medical advice.

Dosage

In order for dutasteride to be an effective treatment for your condition, it is necessary to have an adequate amount of the drug in your system at all times. It is important that the medication is taken as directed, for as long as your doctor prescribes it, and that it is taken at the prescribed frequency. The dosage information below reflects the most commonly prescribed amounts, but the instructions provided by your doctor should always be followed.

This medication may be taken with food or on an empty stomach depending on the preferences of the patient. If stomach discomfort is experienced when taking this medication it can be taken with bread or other starchy food to ease discomfort.

It is important that the medication is taken as it is manufactured, and no alterations are made. Do not crush or chew the capsule. Do not open the pill and alter the amount of medication in any way. The medication that is contained within the capsule can cause discomfort to the stomach and mouth if it is taken without the protective coating. If you experience any problems with taking this medication consult with your pharmacist or doctor for further guidance.

Remember that your dose may vary from the typical guidelines due to the severity of your condition, your size, or your age. It is important that you take all medications as directed by your doctor and consult with them prior to making any changes to how you take the drug.

Treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH):

The adult male recommended dose is 0.5mgs administered once each day.

This medication is not appropriate for use in children or female patients.

Should you miss a dose of dutasteride it is important that you take it as soon as you remember. If you realize that you missed your dose and it is close to your next scheduled dosage then it is best to skip the missed medication. Do not take a double dose of this medication. If you have missed a dose and are unsure what to do about taking it late, it is always best practice to check with your pharmacist or prescribing physician for further guidance.

Major Drug Interactions:

There are certain medications that may have negative interactions with dutasteride and should be avoided. While it is optimal that none of the listed drugs be taken by patients that are being treated with dutasteride, both medications may be best for the patient's overall treatment. If you are prescribed one of the following medications while you are taking dutasteride be sure to follow the instructions from your physician. Changes may be made to the amount of medication that you receive or to the frequency with which the drugs are administered.

  • Idelalisib
  • Clarithromycin
  • Ceritinib

The use of dutasteride and one of the following drugs concurrently may increase the likelihood of certain side effects and should be taken according to the directions of the prescribing physician.

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

If you experience any side effects that cause you concern or feel as though they may be worsening, it is always best to contact your doctor for further guidance. Take all prescriptions as advised and discuss any changes in how you take them with your doctor prior to altering any course of treatment.

In addition to drug interactions, there are certain other medical conditions that can affect how your system reacts to dutasteride. Be sure to review your entire medical history with your doctor prior to beginning your treatment with dutasteride.

If you suffer from liver disease, it will be more difficult for your body to filter this medication, and your condition should be thoroughly and completely discussed with your doctor and medical team prior to beginning any new medications.

Warnings

Because this medication treats issues related to the prostate, it is important that you inform any doctors that you are seeing about your treatment with dutasteride. This drug can alter screening tests for prostate cancer as it can alter the level of prostate antigens in the system, thus giving inaccurate results to a PSA exam. You may be more at risk for prostate cancer when taking this drug, and your doctor should be informed of any changes that occur in your system and overall health.

There may be changes that occur in your system that will affect your sexual performance and activity. Small changes such as less ejaculate fluid are likely and should not be cause for concern. While taking this medication your doctor will likely conduct regular testing to ensure that the drug is effective and that it is not causing any unwanted side effects.

This medication is not appropriate for use in women and children. Women who are pregnant should avoid any contact with this drug as it can cause serious birth defects in male children. If you are not pregnant but are of childbearing age, it is also strongly recommended that you avoid contact with dutasteride.

Blood donation should be avoided by any patients that are taking this medication or have done so in the past six months. The drug can remain in the bloodstream for that amount of time and can cause serious harm if the donated blood is administered to a pregnant woman.

Storage

All medication is best kept in its original packaging. When storing dutasteride be sure to keep it from direct light. It should not be exposed to extreme heat or cold and should not be frozen. Keep the medication at room temperature and store it in an air-tight container.

Keep this and all medications out of the reach of children.

If you reach the end of your course of treatment with dutasteride and have excess medication it is important to dispose of it properly rather than keeping it on hand. If you have unused or expired medications it is best to confer with your pharmacist or the prescribing physician for guidance on proper disposal methods.

Summary

Women who are currently of childbearing age, especially those who are not practicing an effective contraceptive method, need to avoid contact with dutasteride. This drug has caused serious birth defects in male fetuses, and all contact, including just touching the medication needs to be avoided at all times.

Men who suffer from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a common condition as they age, will likely be prescribed dutasteride for treatment. This drug can be used effectively on its own, or in combination with tamsulosin. If you are experiencing symptoms such as an increased need to urinate, the culprit may be an enlarged prostate gland. In fact, any issues that are related to difficulty or problems with urination should be discussed with your doctor as soon as possible in order to rule out any more serious issues.

This medication blocks the 5-alpha enzyme thereby preventing the prostate gland from growing. This blockage will also spur the gland to shrink in the event that it has become enlarged. This medication will likely provide relief to the patient after they take just a few doses, and many men are tempted to stop taking their dutasteride prescription. Unfortunately, the results of this drug are temporary and it does need to be taken on a continuous basis to remain effective. This drug is available via prescription and all medical instructions provided by your physician must be followed. It is important that dutasteride is taken for the entire course of treatment in order to remain effective.