Dermatologica Sinica

: 2019  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 237--238

Dual effects of 5α-reductase inhibitor dutasteride on androgenetic alopecia and acne vulgaris

Taisuke Ito1, Yukiko Kito2, Yurika Masuda3, Reiko Kageyama1, Yoshiki Tokura1,  
1 Department of Dermatology, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Hamamatsu, Japan
2 Kito Dermatology Clinic, Hamamatsu, Japan
3 Department of Dermatology, Enshu Hospital, Hamamatsu, Japan

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Taisuke Ito
1-20-1 Handayama 431-3192, Higashi-ku

How to cite this article:
Ito T, Kito Y, Masuda Y, Kageyama R, Tokura Y. Dual effects of 5α-reductase inhibitor dutasteride on androgenetic alopecia and acne vulgaris.Dermatol Sin 2019;37:237-238

How to cite this URL:
Ito T, Kito Y, Masuda Y, Kageyama R, Tokura Y. Dual effects of 5α-reductase inhibitor dutasteride on androgenetic alopecia and acne vulgaris. Dermatol Sin [serial online] 2019 [cited 2022 Dec 2 ];37:237-238
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Full Text

Dear Editor,

Acne vulgaris is a chronic inflammatory disease of the pilosebaceous unit, resulting from androgen-induced production of sebum, disordered keratinization of hair follicles, colonization of Cutibacterium acnes, and subsequent inflammation.[1] The treatment targets of acne vulgaris that have been mainly exploited are keratinized hair follicles and colonized bacteria, which are treated with topical benzoyl peroxide, oral retinoids, and oral/topical antibiotics.[2] Hormonal antiandrogen therapies, including cyproterone acetate, chlormadinone acetate, and ethinylestradiol, are effective for female patients.[2]

In acne vulgaris, excessive secretion of sebum from sebaceous glands is accelerated by conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by type I 5α reductase that is strongly expressed on sebaceous glands.[3] Therefore, inhibitory reagents of type I 5α-reductase have a potential to improve acne vulgaris. Type I 5 α reductase inhibitor (compound A, 25 mg once daily) has been used for the patient with acne vulgaris.[4] In this study, selective type I inhibitor “compound A (25 mg/day)” was ineffective in the treatment of acne vulgaris. However, it might be different from dutasteride because the applied dose was very different between compound A (25 mg/day) and dutasteride (0.5 mg/day). Dutasteride is a potent type I 5α-reductase inhibitor that has recently been approved for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia (AGA) and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).[5] In the pathogenesis of AGA and BPH, DHT is a key androgen, which is downregulated by dutasteride. Here, we show two AGA patients treated with dutasteride. It is noted that dutasteride also exerted a beneficial therapeutic effect on their concomitant acne vulgaris.

 Case Reports

Case 1

A 26-year-old man was referred to our outpatient clinic for hair loss at the vertex of his scalp. He also had small microcomedones, pustules, and papules on his forehead [Figure 1]a (classification of acne severity: moderate).[6] The patient was diagnosed as having AGA by dermoscopic observation with peripilar sign and >20% hair diameter diversity.[7] In addition, he suffered from acne vulgaris. Then, he was treated with dutasteride (0.5 mg/day) for his AGA without any antibiotics and anti-acne cream. Three months later, he noticed improvement of his acne [Figure 1]b (classification of acne severity: mild), although the hair loss was not sufficiently alleviated in this short therapeutic period. Six months after initiation of dutasteride, his hairs regrew with continuously improved acne vulgaris.{Figure 1}

Case 2

A 23-year-old man was referred to our outpatient clinic for hair loss at the vertex and frontal scalp region in early stage (vertex type I). Dermoscopic observation revealed peripilar sign (arrow), and >20% hair diameter diversity was observed in the hair loss lesion (red circle) [Figure 1]c. Since he also had small papules on his face [Figure 1]d (classification of acne severity: moderate), he was diagnosed as having AGA and acne vulgaris and was treated with dutasteride (0.5 mg/day) for his hair loss without any antibiotics and anti-acne cream. Five months later, remarkable improvement was observed not only in the hair loss [Figure 1]e but also in the facial acne [Figure 1]f (classification of acne severity: mild), although global changes of hair loss was very faint. Dermoscopic observation provided evidence for reduction of vellus hair number after treatment with dutasteride.

Dutasteride inhibits both type I and type II 5α-reductase enzymes. It is approximately 100 times and 3 times more potent than finasteride in the activity to inhibit the type I and II 5α-reductase isoenzymes, respectively.[8] Dutasteride can also decrease serum DHT by >90%.[8] BPH is associated with hyperplasia of both the stromal and epithelial compartments of the prostate gland. Because dermal papillae mainly express type II 5α - reductase, type I 5α - reductase is not a target for AGA treatment. In our cases, it seems that dutasteride improved AGA and acne vulgaris by inhibiting type II and type I 5α - reductase, respectively. In this respect, dutasteride could be a novel option for the treatment of male patients with both AGA and acne vulgaris. It should be kept in mind not to treat acne vulgaris with dutasteride or finasteride in female patients, especially before menopause.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest


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