There is a range of treatments for hair loss, such as medications that are known to have varying degrees of efficacy for hair loss problems, which are well known to us at the Harley Street Hair Clinic. There are some medications that have been proven to stop hair loss and thinning hair.
Some medications for hair loss have been proven to stop hair loss and thinning hair. The most well known of which, is called Finasteride or Propecia.
How do hair loss medications work?
Some of the most common hair loss medications work to inhibit the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is the hormone that causes hereditary balding and female pattern hair loss. This hormone can affect hair follicles that are genetically vulnerable by breaking them down and preventing hair growth.
By using medication to inhibit this process, patients can experience renewed hair growth. The medication may halt or slow the process and prevent hair loss, but also it can stimulate regrowth and target different types of hair loss in men and women.
One important thing to note is that hair loss medication is not hair growth medicine. Although it can rejuvenate hair shaft growth and has been proven to be effective on the top of the crown of the head, the front of the hairline is less responsive to these medications.
Other methods of hair growth treatment, such as hair transplants are recommended to replace lost hair. Hair restoration surgeries are long-term solutions that could reshape a hairline more effectively than hair loss tablets.
Finasteride/Propecia is a prescription medicine. It is marketed under many different names including; Proscar, Propecia, Fincar, Finpecia, Finax, Finast, Finara, Finalo, Prosteride, Gefina, Finasterid IVAX. This hair loss medication is an antiandrogen, which acts by inhibiting type II 5-alpha reductase, the enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It is used for medical conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in low doses, and enlarged prostate and prostate cancer in higher doses. Additionally, it is FDA approved as a hair loss treatment for androgenetic alopecia.
In a 5-year study of men taking Finasteride with mild to moderate hair loss, 48% of those experienced some regrowth of hair, and 42% had no further loss. However, Finasteride is effective only for as long as it is taken; the hair gained or maintained is lost within 6-12 months of ceasing therapy. In clinical studies, Finasteride and Minoxidil were shown to work on both the crown area and the hairline but are most successful in the crown area.
How Does Finasteride Hair Loss Medication Work?
Finasteride works to stop hair loss by blocking the enzyme, Type II 5 alpha-reductase. In doing so, it reduces the level of the hormone in the scalp, which shortens the hair growth cycle. This can, in turn, stop hair loss and increase new growth in men with male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) and improve hair density. Continuous use once a day for 3-6 months is required before any results are visible. The effects are reversed 6-12 months after treatment is discontinued, so ongoing use of Finasteride for hair regrowth is recommended.
Does Hair Loss Medication Have Any Side Effects?
When taken at the recommended dose, the possible side effects of Finasteride are usually mild. They are typically only experienced throughout a course of medication.
Side effects may include:
- Decreased libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Decreased volume of ejaculate
- Breast tenderness or enlargement
- Rashes or skin irritation
- Itching and swelling of the lips and face
- Testicular pain
Other things to consider about Finasteride/Propecia hair loss medication?
Women, especially pregnant women, are not advised to take Finasteride. Even in small concentrations, Finasteride can cause congenital disabilities in a developing male foetus. Always consult a professional before taking Finasteride.
Regaine/Minoxidil Hair Growth Medication
Minoxidil is a vasodilator and originally was exclusively used as an oral drug (Loniten®) to treat high blood pressure. However, it was discovered to have the side effect of hair growth and reversing baldness. In the 1980s, a topical solution that contained 2% Minoxidil was created to treat baldness and hair loss. This was made under the brand name Rogaine in the United States and Regaine outside the United States.
Treatments usually include 5% concentration solutions that are designed for men, while the 2% concentration solutions are designed for women. It is unknown how the drug stimulates hair growth. Some experts believe that Minoxidil dilates the blood vessels around hair follicles, increasing the nutrient supply and encouraging increased hair growth.
The key to using Minoxidil to stop hair loss is to begin using it early. Those with a higher density of hair at the beginning of treatment are good candidates. If the hair growth medication is stopped, after prolonged use, hair loss may increase
How To Apply Minoxidil Hair Growth Medication
Two daily applications for up to four months may be required before hair regrowth is visibly noticeable. The onset and degree of hair regrowth may be variable among different patients.
If hair regrowth occurs, two daily applications are necessary for additional and continued hair growth (unless your doctor directs otherwise). The initial hair growth may be soft, downy, colourless hair that is barely visible. After further treatment, the new hair should be the same colour and thickness as other hair on the scalp.
If one or two applications are missed, restart twice-daily applications and return to the usual schedule. Do not attempt to make up for missed doses or use more than 1ml at a time. Do not use on sunburned skin.
It is vital to use Minoxidil as prescribed, even if hair growth does not appear within several months. If the hair growth medication is not visibly effective after four months or more, consult your doctor. It must be used for about six months to see the benefits.
Are There Side Effects Associated With Minoxidil?
Significant complications are rare, but patients who suffer from heart disease or hypertension should consult a doctor before using this medication. The most common problem is irritation and dryness of the skin.
Some side effects reported include:
- Irregular or fast heartbeat
- Blurred vision
- Chest pain
Disadvantages Of Hair Loss Medication
It is essential to remember Finasteride and Propecia medicine for hair loss is not suitable for everyone.
Hair loss medications may have side effects, and for them to be successful, they need to be taken continuously. As soon as hair loss medication is stopped, hair loss will return. This may not be realistic for some individuals due to the costs and potential side effects of the medicine. It is also advisable to consult a doctor if you are taking other medication before using Finasteride.
Alternative long-term solutions that may be suitable include Hair Transplants and Advanced Trico Pigmentation.
If you would like more information on hair loss or hair restoration treatments, please contact us today for a consultation.