FDA Approved Options
Propecia® (finasteride) is a drug clinically indicated for enlarged prostate gland. It prevents testosterone from being converted into DHT, so it might prevent or improve male-pattern baldness, and it can now be prescribed by doctors in the USA for this purpose. Because Finasteride is am oral medication rather than a solution it is more convenient than Minoxidil. It is most effective if the areas of concern have many fine, thin hairs. Also, younger patients seem to respond slightly better than older subjects. In any case, if your hair loss is extensive, it will likely not give you the desired result. It should be taken indefinitely if hair growth is to continue.
Recognized side-effects, experienced by around 2% of users, include erectile dysfunction. In trial studies, side effects ceased after dosage was discontinued.
Questions? Call and schedule a consultation with Dr. Halaas. We can provide an expert opinion of the most recent developments in hair loss today, what causes it and what is effective today (including FDA approved remedies, surgery and non-surgical options).
Minoxidil is a vasodilator and originally was exclusively used as an oral drug (Loniten®) to treat high blood pressure. It was, however, discovered to have the interesting side effect of hair growth and reversing baldness, and in the 1980s, Upjohn Corporation produced a topical solution that contained 2% minoxidil to be used to treat baldness and hair loss, under the brand name Rogaine in the United States. Treatments usually include a 5% concentration solution designed for men, while the 2% concentration solution is designed for women.
As a drug to combat hair loss, the most common side effect is an itchy scalp.
If a person uses minoxidil to stop hair loss It will work until the product is discontinued.
Treatments That Probably Don't Work
Thousands of products for baldness are advertised on TV and on the Internet. They claim to make hair re-grow, or simply to stop further loss. Most charge high prices and simply use minoxidil which can be purchased over-the-counter in your local pharmacy for approximately $10.
Other products, most likely, are a complete waste of money. Most have not been assessed by proper research studies, and aim to persuade a consumer by a single 'true life' success story. Because hair loss is often noticeable for a month or two and then stops for a few months it is easy to imagine that a product is having an effect. Without proper, recognized research studies, treating hundreds of people with the product and an equal number with a control group version of the treatment, it is impossible to know one way or the other about effectiveness and safety. So before trying a treatment, ask the company for a copy of published evidence and the credentials of the firm testing the product.
Wash your hair daily with a mild shampoo. Dirty hair lies flatter and looks more sparse. Avoid anything that could make the hairs likely to break. After washing don't rub your hair vigorously or use a hot hairdryer. Rather, pat the hair dry with a soft towel or use a low setting on the dryer or, even better, let it dry naturally. Use a brush with soft bristles. Use a creame rinse detangler to undo any tangles, rather than pulling with a comb. Protect bald areas from sun damage.
Propecia® is a registered trademark of Merck Pharmeceuticals, Inc.
Rogaine® is a registered trademark of Pfizer, Inc