|Type of medicine||5-alpha reductase inhibitor|
|Used for||Enlargement of the prostate gland in men|
Also Combodart® (this contains dutasteride in combination with tamsulosin)
The prostate gland commonly becomes larger in older men. Prostate gland enlargement is also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The prostate is situated close to the bladder, so its enlargement can cause problems with passing urine. Common symptoms that are experienced are having to wait before your urine starts to flow, taking longer at the toilet, dribbling, and a feeling that your bladder is not quite empty.
Dutasteride works by blocking the conversion of the hormone testosterone to dihydrotestosterone in the prostate. It does this by blocking an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. Dihydrotestosterone is partly responsible for making the prostate enlarge. Therefore, a reduced amount of dihydrotestosterone in the prostate causes it to shrink. This helps you to pass urine more easily.
Sometimes, more than one type of medicine is needed to control the symptoms of prostate enlargement. Dutasteride is available in combination with another medicine for prostate enlargement, called tamsulosin .
Before taking dutasteride
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking dutasteride it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
- If you have liver problems.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
How to take dutasteride
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the specific brand of dutasteride you have been given, and a full list of possible side-effects from taking it. Take dutasteride exactly as your doctor has told you.
- Take one capsule each day. Swallow the capsules whole - do not chew or open the capsules.
- You can take the capsules before or after your meals.
- Try to take your doses at the same time of day, as this will help you to remember to take them.
- If you forget to take a dose on time, take it when you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Your symptoms may start to improve within a few weeks, although it can take up to six months for you to notice the full benefit, as it takes time for the prostate to gradually shrink. Because of this, it is important that you continue to take the capsules even if you don't feel a benefit straight away. Also, remember to keep your regular appointments with your doctor who will review your progress.
- Consider reducing or stopping the amount of caffeine you drink (commonly found in tea, coffee and cola) and alcohol. These can make your symptoms worse, so drinking less of these things may benefit you.
- If you are a smoker, stopping smoking may significantly improve your symptoms. This is because nicotine irritates the bladder. Ask your doctor for advice on quitting.
- Dutasteride may cause harm to an unborn male baby. Because of this, women who are pregnant should not handle these capsules if they are damaged or leaking. Also, small amounts of dutasteride will be in your semen while you are taking this medicine, and it is therefore recommended that you use a barrier method of contraception (such as a condom) if your partner could become pregnant. If you need further advice about this, speak with your pharmacist or doctor.
- If you are having an operation or any medical treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking dutasteride. This is because dutasteride can interfere with a blood test used to detect prostate cancer, so you must tell your doctor about taking dutasteride if you need this test.
Can dutasteride cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common dutasteride side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Reduced desire to have sex, inability to get an erection, breast tenderness||If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor|
Important: if you develop any pain or lumps in your breast area, or any discharge from your nipples, you should tell your doctor. This is because there have been a few rare reports of breast cancer in men taking 5-alpha reductase inhibitors like dutasteride.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store dutasteride
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 63rd Edition (Mar 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Avodart® 0.5 mg soft capsules; Manufacturer's PIL, Avodart® 0.5 mg soft capsules, GlaxoSmithKline UK, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated March 2012.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Dr John Cox|
|Last Checked: 18/05/2012||Document ID: 13883 Version: 1||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.