Medical Hair Treatments

These photographs show the hair growth benefit of finasteride before and after 1 year of treatment. For the results to continue to improve the medication needs to be continued.

There are a lot of Medical Hair Treatments & Medications. So what actually works?

There are two FDA approved Medical Hair Treatments & Medications that seem to prevent or at least reduce hair loss.

Minoxidil (generic), also sold under trade name Rogaine
Minoxidil, also sold under the name Rogaine. Minoxidil was originally used as a medication for people with high blood pressure, but it was discovered that some people who took the drug grew more hair. Experimentation showed that when applied to the scalp, Minoxidil reduced hair loss and could possibly cause hair to re-grow. Minoxidil, in the topical application Rogaine, was originally available only by prescription, but is now sold over-the-counter both as a topical solution and as an added ingredient in some shampoos and hair loss prevention products (Avacor). Rogaine can be used by both men and women.

Only minimal to moderate results should be expected with Minoxidil. It may work on the crown but does not work for receding hairlines. Some people will see reduced hair loss at the crown, but few will see significant re-growth.

Minoxidil must be applied twice a day, every day and must be used continually or hair loss will resume. Generic Minoxidil is the least expensive way to use this FDA approved medication.

Finasteride sold under trade names Propecia and Proscar
In 1992 a drug called Finasteride (Proscar) was FDA approved for treatment of enlarged prostates. Studies showed that men taking Proscar enjoyed more hair growth on their crowns as a result. In 1997 the FDA approved the indication of Finasteride (Propecia) for the treatment of hair loss. Finasteride (Propecia or Proscar) is a pill which must be taken daily. Finasteride blocks the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Finasteride is only available by prescription and can only be taken by men. It is not FDA approved for women. The recommended dose is 1 mg per day as studies have shown that more than that has no improvement on hair growth. Finasteride sold under the brand name Propecia is available in 1 mg dose. Finasteride sold as Proscar is only available in a 5 mg dose so must be divided into quarters to be used. Like Minoxodil (Rogaine), Finasteride has only been shown to be effective against hair loss at the crown. Also, like Minoxidil, Finasteride prevents additional hair loss and must be taken continually or hair loss will resume.

There are some things you should know before deciding to take Finasteride (Propecia). As with any medication there are some uncommon side effects. Occasionally, some men experience rashes and other allergic reactions, a loss of interest in sex, difficulty achieving an erection, testicular pain, and a reduction in the amount of semen. In clinical tests, these side effects went away when the subjects stopped taking the drug. Studies suggest that men experience up to a 25% reduction in developing prostate cancer. Women of child bearing age should not have contact with this medication as it may cause damage to a developing fetus (baby) should she be pregnant.

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