Drugs that reverse hair loss and drugs that cause hair loss.
There are several different causes of hair loss but the two most common causes are hormonal related and autoimmune related where the body attacks the hair follicles and kill it. Baldness is seen in both women and men and the drugs used are the same, even though most work best in men who are <40 years of age in the beginning stages of baldness.
Finasteride: also known as Propecia is a pill available on prescription.
Most people don’t realize that there is a pill to treat baldness. But there is and it is used in hormone-related baldness. Originally it was used to treat prostate problems, but they found out it improved baldness. It is used mainly in men but sometimes it is used in women with variable results. In men, finasteride generally works better than drugs applied to the scalp. Loss of libido is a side effect and treatment is usually well tolerated.
It is not clear with women who is likely to respond to therapy. Optimal dosing in women is unknown; higher doses than in men may be necessary. Noticeable results may take six months or longer, and like men, effects are not sustained without continued treatment. Women of child-bearing age should not use finasteride, or must use effective contraception during treatment.
Minoxidil also known as Rogaine is an alternative therapy for patients who can not take the pills. This drug was originally a blood pressure med and is now used in a solution or foam on the scalp. It comes in 2 percent and 5 percent. Five percent solutions works the best, 2 percent solution is usually used by people who get irritation from the 5 percent.
The response to treatment with both agents is variable. People treated with finasteride or minoxidil must continue treatment to maintain efficacy. If treatment is discontinued, hair loss will occur within several months after the cessation of therapy. Scalp irritation is the most common adverse effect of minoxidil. Continuing treatment with minoxidil or finasteride after hair transplantation may help to minimize additional loss of preexisting terminal hairs.
Tretinoin, also known as retin a, is used to increase the absorption of Minoxidil into the scalp.
Biotin 5mg (sometimes expressed as 5,000 micrograms) every day is used by women to grow their scalp hair longer. The testimonials are amazing and it has been studied in a genetic medical condition called tangeled or uncombable hair syndrome in children and baldness in children with variable results. This is the drug that restored my hair. It is once again long, shiny, healthy, strong and straight.
Antharalin cream was tested in men with resistant baldness and did not yield good results.
Spironolactone occasionally used in the treatment of hormonal baldness in women.
Dermatologis specializing in hair restoration also use injections of various chemicals into the scalp.
Combinations are better than single agents alone. There is one reported case of a man using topical 3 percent Minoxidil in 0.01 percent Tretinoin plus oral Finasteride. He was 32-year-old male with androgenic alopecia of 10 year’s duration. Each application was 1 mL; dose of Finasteride was not mentioned. Hair regrowth was noted within the first 3 months. Complete cosmetic goals were reached in 8 months, at which time Finasteride was discontinued, but topical treatment continued.
Rogain $16.32 – $27.36 for a one month’s supply
Finasteride Oral 1 mg (30): $81.38, 5 mg (30): $93.80
It’s also important to know that certain medications can cause hair loss. The most common offenders are:
• Antibiotics and antifungal drugs
• Birth Control pills (even though sometimes they are used to treat hair loss)
• Anticlotting drugs
• Cholesterol-lowering drugs
• Drugs that suppress the immune system
• Drugs that treat breast cancer
• Epilepsy drugs (anticonvulsants)
• High blood pressure medications (anti-hypertensives), such as beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics
• Hormone replacement therapy
• Mood stabilizers
• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
• Parkinson’s drugs
• Thyroid medications
• Weight loss drugs
Some of these drugs are life sustaining and should never be discontinued without a doctors approval.