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J Dermatolog Treat. 2014 Apr;25(2):156-61. doi: 10.3109/09546634.2013.813011. Epub 2013 Jul 5.

The efficacy and safety of 5α-reductase inhibitors in androgenetic alopecia: a network meta-analysis and benefit-risk assessment of finasteride and dutasteride.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology, University of Toronto , Toronto , Canada.



In the light of post-marketing reports of persistent sexual dysfunction with the use of finasteride, analysis of the extent of risk associated with 5α-reductase inhibitor treatment for androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is warranted. This study sought to evaluate the efficacy of 5α-reductase inhibitors using the outcomes hair count, global photographic assessment and patient self-assessment and evaluate the benefits of treatment versus the risk of global sexual dysfunction.


A systematic review identified all relevant randomized controlled trials of finasteride 1 mg, 5 mg and dutasteride 0.5 mg. The efficacy outcome hair count was analyzed using pair-wise meta-analysis, while the efficacy outcomes global photographic assessment and patient self-assessment as well as the safety outcome global sexual dysfunction were analyzed through network meta-analyses. A benefit-risk assessment was also performed.


The active interventions were not significantly different than each other in efficacy and were not significantly different from placebo in eliciting sexual dysfunction. Benefit-risk analysis resulted in an arbitrary ranking due to the lack of statistically significant difference between active treatments.


Analysis results reiterate the efficacy and safety of 5α-reductase inhibitors for the treatment of AGA and may support the approval of dutasteride 0.5 mg as an additional treatment option, following further study.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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