I first published this post on February 26, 2018, but am now updating and republishing it because of an important development.
Yesterday (June 4th, 2018), Ashton Kutcher appeared on Conan and discussed his past 10-year usage of Avodart (Dutasteride) to maintain his hair, prior to quitting several years ago. The video was officially published today and is embedded further below. I was impressed by Mr. Kutcher’s knowledge that a testosterone byproduct (DHT) rather than testosterone itself is the root cause of hair loss. He seems like a true hair geek, although later on he fumbles a bit when he agrees with Conan that less testosterone = usually more hair.
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels and your scalp hair’s genetic sensitivity to the ravaging effects of DHT are together what cause male pattern hair loss. Men with somewhat low testosterone levels can still have sufficiently high enough levels of DHT to end up going completely bald. And men with high testosterone levels can still not go bald at all if their follicles are not genetically susceptible to the attacks from DHT.
In any case, to the best of my knowledge, no major celebrity has ever admitted to using Dutasteride for hair loss in the past. Many have admitted to using the comparatively weaker drug Finasteride, including our sitting US president. What makes this admission from Mr. Kutcher even more striking is the fact that Dutasteride is not yet officially approved to treat hair loss in the US… although tens of thousands of people have surreptitiously been using the drug for that purpose for over 15 years now.
For those who read this blog regularly, you might have noticed that I have an especially keen interest in the drug Avodart (Dutasteride) because for a large number of people it is currently the best option to treat hair loss if willing to tolerate the potential side effects. My post on Dutasteride for hair loss reviews now has close to 300 comments, with a surprising number of people reporting great results. I often say that Avodart (Dutasteride) is like Propecia (Finasteride) on steroids. Buyer beware.
I have been taking the drug for the past year and a half with good results. However, a few months ago I reduced my dosage to 0.5 mg once every other day (half the recommended 0.5 mg per day). I think that I may have gained some body fat while on Dutasteride, and I have definitely seen a sudden appearance of significant forehead acne after starting to take generic pills from a different manufacturer (since my local pharmacy switched suppliers). Dutasteride moderately raises both estrogen and testosterone in those taking it, so the side effects I am getting are not surprising and I therefore cut my intake in half. I also wanted to reduce the daily processing load on my liver.
Celebrities Never Mention Taking Avodart for Hair Loss
We have all heard of 100s of celebrities and athletes who have admitted to using Propecia (Finasteride) to combat their hair loss. The most recent case was US President Donald Trump. I still cannot believe that it now says on one corner of the official White House website that the president uses Propecia for his hair loss. The most powerful man in the world really cares about his hair.
Besides celebrities, we often hear about athletes who get banned from competitions for using Propecia. The reason for this is because Propecia apparently masks the usage of other more serious banned performance enhancing drugs. Edit: Finasteride no longer banned for athletes since 2009 per wikipedia (h/t Scott).
However, you never ever hear of any major celebrity or athlete admitting to taking Avodart (Dutasteride) to tackle his or her hair loss. For one, Avodart has only been approved to treat hair loss in Japan and South Korea. In other countries, you have to figure out a way to get a prescription and convince your doctor that you want it even though you do not have an enlarged prostate (the original approved usage for Avodart). I also think that most people (including doctors) do not know much about using Dutasteride for hair loss.
Ashton Kutcher used Avodart for Hair Loss
This past week, well known actor Ashton Kutcher admitted that he used Avodart for 10 years to tackle his hair loss. I was amazed to read that statement. He might very well be the first ever world renowned celebrity to admit to taking this drug for hair loss. Moreover, he took it for a pretty long time, and seems to have had no major side effects. Some key points from the interview and my thoughts:
- Mr. Kutcher says that he took “the Avodart” from the age of 25-35 and stopped five years ago. He is currently 40 years old. So he took the drug from around early 2003 till early 2013. Considering that Avodart was only approved for treating enlarged prostates in November 2001 and probably not easily available for treating hair loss in 2002, Mr. Kutcher did a great job doing his research and getting a hold of the drug in early 2003. I wonder if he was on the hairsite.com forums in 2002 when they led the worldwide discussion about this new magic drug that would be the cure for hair loss.
- Mr. Kutcher’s two children are currently 3 years old and 14 months old. So he had them both after quitting Avodart. Perhaps that was the reason he originally quit the drug? It is recommended that pregnant women not even handle Avodart. Moreover, many men taking Avodart stop taking the drug when trying to become fathers due to fears that it could lead to some changes in their sperm quality and potential birth defects in their children. However, there are no warnings on Dutasteride bottle labels in relation to men. There are, however, clear warnings for both women and for children regarding never handling the capsules.
- I am curious how Mr. Kutcher got his hands on Avodart in 2003. Did he buy it online, or was there any American doctor who was willing to prescribe it to him for the off-label hair loss use?
- Mr. Kutcher claims that he quit Avodart five years ago, did good for a year, but now (five years after quitting) he is losing his hair again. In his own words: “And I think like, five years ago I stopped and I did really good for a year, and now it’s thinning out”. The half life of Avodart is around five weeks, so it does seem strange that he was not losing any substantial hair for five years after quitting the drug. Or (my interpretation of his quote): not losing his hair at all for a year after quitting the drug, then losing it minimally for the next four years, and now finally losing it much more rapidly.
In any event, even if Mr. Kutcher’s time frames are a bit off or confusing, it is wonderful to get a data point regarding Avodart from a well known celebrity. The majority of hair loss forum members who try Avodart never seem to continue to take it for a decade.