Avodart (Dutasteride) - Oral

What Is Avodart?

Avodart (dutasteride) is a once-daily drug used to treat signs of an enlarged prostate gland in people designated male at birth. It may be used alone or with Flomax (tamsulosin). Dutasteride belongs to a drug class called 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. It is available as a 0.5 milligram (mg) capsule.

Dutasteride prevents the body from producing a kind of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), causing a decrease in the growth of the prostate.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Dutasteride
Brand Name: Avodart
Drug Availability: Prescription
Administration Route: Oral
Therapeutic Classification: 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors
Available Generically: Yes
Controlled Substance: No
Active Ingredient: Dutasteride
Dosage Form(s): Capsule

What Is Avodart Used For?

Avodart (dutasteride) is used to treat the signs of an enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It lowers the risk of acute urinary retention and BPH-related surgery.

How to Take Avodart

Take Avodart capsules with or without food. Swallow whole. Do not open, break, or chew Avodart. Taking broken capsules can cause oropharyngeal (mouth and pharynx) irritation. Do not touch it if the capsule leaks, is deformed, or has changed color. Do not handle this drug if you are pregnant. If you touch a leaking capsule, wash the area right away with water and soap.

Note: Do not donate blood while on Avodart and for six months after stopping this drug.

Storage

Store at room temperature (77 Fahrenheit (F)) in a dry place, and keep it away from children and pets. During trips, you may store dutasteride between cool and mildly hot temperatures (59 to 86 Fahrenheit (F)). Do not store it in your bathroom.

Discard all unused or expired drugs. Do not toss them down the drain, sink, or toilet. Ask your pharmacist about the best ways to dispose of your medication. Check out drug take-back programs in your area.

Off-Label Uses

Avodart is used off-label to treat male pattern baldness.

How Long Does Avodart Take to Work?

It takes two to three hours for Avodart to peak in your system. However, it may take months to see its full effects.

What Are the Side Effects of Avodart?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at fda.gov/medwatch or 800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

Any medication may cause side effects. However, some people taking Avodart may experience some or no adverse effects. Contact your healthcare provider or get medical treatment if any side effects concern you or do not go away.

 These are only a few of the drug's possible side effects. If you have any concerns about side effects, contact your healthcare provider.

Severe Side Effects

Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you have any severe side effects. Dial 911 if you have a medical emergency or your symptoms appear to be life-threatening. Serious side effects of Avodart are:

  • Depression
  • Nipple discharge
  • Enlarged breasts
  • A breast lump
  • Breast pain or soreness
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like wheezing

Report Side Effects

Avodart may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program online or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Avodart Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (capsules):
    • For benign prostatic hyperplasia:
      • Adults—0.5 milligram (mg) once a day.
      • Children—Use is not recommended.

Modifications

The following modifications (changes) should be kept in mind when using Avodart:

Severe allergic reaction: Avoid using Avodart if you have a known allergy to it or its ingredients. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider for a complete list of the ingredients if you're unsure.

Females: People designated female at birth should not use this medicine.

Pregnancy: People who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not handle or touch the capsules.

Children should not use this medicine.

Missed Dose

Take the missed dose once you remember. If your next dose is too close, skip the missed dose. Return to your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the amount or take extra doses.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Avodart?

There is limited information available about Avodart overdose. If you think you're experiencing an overdose or life-threatening symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

What Happens If I Overdose on Avodart

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Avodart, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Avodart, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

It is very important that your doctor check you at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly and to check for any unwanted effects that may be caused by this medicine.

Women and children should not use this medicine. Pregnant women or women who may become pregnant should not handle or touch the capsules. Dutasteride can be absorbed through the skin and can cause birth defects in male fetuses. If a pregnant woman does come in contact with this medicine, the affected area should be washed right away with soap and water, especially if the capsule is broken.

Men who have taken this medicine should not donate blood until 6 months have passed since the last dose. Dutasteride can remain in your blood for a long time and be passed on to a pregnant woman who receives a blood transfusion.

This medicine may increase your risk of developing high-grade prostate cancer. Tell your doctor if you have concerns about this risk.

This medicine may affect the results of the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, which may be used to detect prostate cancer. Make sure you tell all of your doctors that you are using this medicine.

This medicine does not usually affect normal sexual abilities for most men. You may notice that you ejaculate less fluid when you have sex.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn't Take Avodart?

Do not take or touch Avodart if you have:

  • A positive pregnancy test (it can harm your baby)
  • Allergy to dutasteride or any component of the formulation
  • Allergy to other 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors (e.g., Propecia (finasteride))

What Other Medications Interact With Avodart?

There are no drugs contraindicated with Avodart.

What Medications Are Similar?

Medications similar to Avodart that may be used to treat the signs of an enlarged prostate are:

Dutasteride and finasteride have similar side effect profiles, especially sexual dysfunction. However, dutasteride may work better than finasteride in some people.

Saw palmetto is a plant used to treat BPH.

This list contains drugs and plant-based medicines also used to treat signs of an enlarged prostate gland in people designated male at birth. It is NOT a list of medicines recommended to take with Avodart. Do not take these drugs together unless your healthcare provider tells you to. If you have any problems, talk to your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Avodart used to treat?

    Avodart treats benign prostatic hyperplasia or signs of an enlarged prostate gland in males.

  • What are the common side effects of Avodart?

    The common side effects of Avodart are:

    • Low sex drive
    • Dizziness
    • Sexual dysfunction
  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Avodart?

    Take the missed dose once you think of it. Skip the missed dose if it is close to your next dose. Then return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take extra doses or double the amount.

  • How soon does Avodart begin to work?

    After taking Avodart, it takes two to three hours for the medicine to peak in your system.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Avodart?

Although dutasteride peaks within two to three hours after taking it, it may take several months to see its full effects. Do not stop taking Avodart even if you feel better. Tell your healthcare provider if you think this medicine is not working for you.

 Remember: Do not donate blood while using this drug and for six months after stopping.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Food and Drug Administration. Avodart.

  2. Zhou Z, Song S, Gao Z, Wu J, Ma J, Cui Y. The efficacy and safety of dutasteride compared with finasteride in treating men with androgenetic alopecia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Interv Aging. 2019;14:399-406. doi:10.2147/CIA.S192435

By Queen Buyalos, PharmD
Queen Buyalos is a pharmacist and freelance medical writer. She takes pride in advocating for cancer prevention, overall health, and mental health education. Queen enjoys counseling and educating patients about drug therapy and translating complex ideas into simple language.