What is Avodart&Reg;?

Jacquelyn Gilchrist

Avodart® is a brand name for the generic medication dutasteride. This drug is prescribed to treat men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also called an enlarged prostate. An enlarged prostate can develop when testosterone is converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body. This medication blocks the conversion to treat the condition. By shrinking the prostate, Avodart® may help alleviate symptoms of BPH, such as difficult or frequent urination, bloody urine, or impaired kidney function.

Avodart is prescribed to men with an enlarged prostate.
Avodart is prescribed to men with an enlarged prostate.

The doctor will typically prescribe one capsule of Avodart® daily, which may be taken with or without food. It should not be crushed, split, or otherwise broken, as doing so can cause irritation to the mouth or throat. In addition to this drug, some patients are prescribed another medication to help ease BPH symptoms, called tamsulosin. Patients may typically take both of these drugs at once, however tamsulosin is best taken within half an hour of consuming a meal.

While taking Avodart®, the patient will undergo regular check-ups to ensure the health of his prostate. The doctor will also likely test levels of prostate-specific antigens (PSA) in the body, which is a screening test for prostate cancer. Patients may not notice results from the use of this drug for up to six months.

Some side effects may occur from the use of Avodart®, however, they have been reported infrequently. Some men may experience a decreased libido, problems ejaculating, or an inability to have or maintain an erection. Breast enlargement or tenderness is also possible. Rarely, an allergic reaction may occur, which typically results in facial swelling, hives, and a skin rash. Allergic reactions require immediate medical care, however, other side effects are not urgent and may be reported to the doctor if they are persistent or become severe.

There are a few potential, avoidable complications that patients should be aware of. This medication should never be taken by women. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should be careful never to handle Avodart®, as the medicine can be absorbed through the skin. Avodart® can cause birth defects, such as abnormal sex organs. In addition, men taking this drug cannot donate blood for a minimum of six months following their last dose, because this can cause birth defects if the receiver of the blood is a pregnant woman.

Patients should discuss their other medications with the prescribing physician before taking Avodart®. It may interact with other medicines, such as certain antibiotics, antifungal drugs, and antidepressants. Medications for high blood pressure, heart problems, and human immunodeficiency virus may also interact with it.

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