Hair Loss Medication
A common type of hair loss medication is finasteride, which blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT by reducing the effectiveness of the enzyme responsible for this chemical change – 5-alpha reductase.
This medication is prescribed in more than 60% of men experiencing male pattern hair loss. More than 85% of men show improvement in hair thickness and reduction in hair fall. The most common dosage prescribed for this condition is 1mg daily.
Finasteride can also be prescribed to female sufferers of hair loss but this is not as commonly done. While previously it was only thought to benefit post-menopausal women, there is now an increasing number of practitioners using higher doses of finasteride to treat younger female patients with hair loss.
Minoxidil was initially developed as a medication to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients. It was observed that these patients had increased hair growth.
Minoxidil used as a topical spray or foam causes an increase in blood vessel size and blood flow to the scalp, and with that change, better delivery of vital nutrients to the hair follicles. Minoxidil can also be taken orally as hair loss medication for patients who cannot tolerate the topical version due to cosmetic reasons or scalp irritation.
Topical minoxidil is available as at 5% concentration for men, and a 2% concentration for women. In certain circumstances, 5% minoxidil will be prescribed for female patterned hair loss as well. Topical minoxidil is usually prescribed for use twice a day.
Dutasteride is a close relative of finasteride but is much more potent. It has been approved by the Korean Food and Drug Administration for use in male pattern hair loss. Research done by European hair restoration practitioners have shown the safety and effectiveness of dutasteride as hair loss medication, injected into the scalp for a direct anti-DHT effect.
Dutasteride can be prescribed off-label for the treatment of finasteride-resistant male pattern hair loss. This treatment regimen has to be closely monitored by a physician experienced in treating hair loss conditions.
Spironolactone is a commonly used medication to treat heart failure and high blood pressure. One of the effects of spironolactone is that it blocks androgen receptors, the same receptors that DHT acts on. Because of the importance of androgen receptors in men, spironolactone is used to treat female pattern hair loss only.
Spironolactone is prescribed as a daily dosage and blood tests have to be done to monitor treatment. Spironolactone treatment for hair loss should be closely monitored by a physician experienced in treating hair loss conditions.
This commonly-used medication blocks the body’s immune response. When used appropriately, injected corticosteroids block the abnormal immune response responsible for alopecia areata, a condition that results in patches of complete baldness.
This medication will usually be prescribed as a direct injection into the patch of baldness once a month until hair regrows. Some practitioners also prescribe it as a cream or as tablets for the same condition.
This new medication has been shown to effectively treat alopecia areata, a condition of patchy baldness. They are used only for severe cases of alopecia areata.
This medication acts by blocking a receptor that has been implicated in hair loss, the CRTH2 receptor. The receptor is activated by prostaglandin D2, a compound normally involved in the inflammatory process in the human body. Prostaglandin D2 levels are elevated in areas of balding scalp and this drug was developed to stop that process.
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