Dutasteride is a synthetic 4-azasteroid compound that is a selective inhibitor of both the type 1 and type 2 isoforms of steroid 5 alpha-reductase (5AR), intracellular enzymes that convert testosterone to 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Type I 5a-reductase is predominant in the sebaceous glands of most regions of skin, including scalp, and liver. Type I 5a-reductase is responsible for approximately one-third of circulating DHT. The Type II 5a-reductase isozyme is primarily found in prostate, seminal vesicles, epididymides, and hair follicles as well as liver, and is responsible for two-thirds of circulating DHT. Dutasteride inhibits the conversion of testosterone to 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is the androgen primarily responsible for the initial development and subsequent enlargement of the prostate gland. Testosterone is converted to DHT by the enzyme 5 alpha-reductase, which exists as 2 isoforms, type 1 and type 2. Dutasteride is a competitive and specific inhibitor of both type 1 and type 2 5 alpha-reductase isoenzymes, with which it forms a stable enzyme complex. Dissociation from this complex has been evaluated under in vitro and in vivo conditions and is extremely slow. Used for the treatment of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men with an enlarged prostate gland to improve symptoms, and reduce the risk of acute urinary retention and the need for surgery. Marketed under the brand name Avodart. NCATS
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