Medical treatment options for hair loss are many and some with sexual side effects. Here you will find all the available medical treatment options most of them for men and some for women. This article excludes supplements and surgical treatment.
Let’s jump right into these questions:
- How common is hair loss?
- What are the medical treatment options for hair loss?
- Do the medical treatment options depend on anything?
- Which medical treatment is best for my hair loss?
- How is a medical treatment with Dutasteride best for hair loss?
- How does medical treatment with Finasteride score for hair loss?
- How does medical treatment with minoxidil work for hair loss?
- Are there any medicines that cause hair loss?
How common is hair loss?
There are many types of hair loss. According to American Hair Loss Association, male pattern hair loss or baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, is the reason for more than 95% of hair loss in men. They estimate by the age of 35, most American men experience some form of hair loss. By age 25, 25% of men start losing hair. Women are not immune and many women if not most end up having male pattern baldness.
What are the medical treatment options for hair loss?
There are a few options as below:
- Minoxidil spray or foam 5%
- Minoxidil spray of faom 2%
- Minoxidil Oral Pill
- Finasteride Oral Pill
- Dutasteride Oral Pill
Do the medical treatment options depend on anything?
The medical treatment options depend on the following factors:
- Cause of hair loss
- Male or female
- The pattern of hair loss
- Patient preference
- Availability of medicines
- Side effect profile
- Risk-Benefit Ratio
Which medical treatment is best for my hair loss?
A scientific study compared the medical treatment options for hair loss probably for the first time. The study compared the commonly used drugs both that are approved by the US FDA and “off label” use. Based on this study, the medicines have been ranked from best to worst in the following order.
- Dutasteride tablet 0.5 mg
- Finasteride tablet 5 mg
- Minoxidil oral pill 5 mg
- Finasteride tablet 1 mg
- 5% topical minoxidil
- 2% topical minoxidil
- Minoxidil oral pill 0.25 mg
I have explained these medicines in this video. Do check this out. You turn on the closed captions in the video:
How is a medical treatment with Dutasteride best for hair loss?
Dutasteride is a 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor. 5 alpha-reductase is an enzyme present in the body and converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Hence if this enzyme is blocked, then the amount of testosterone goes up. This is beneficial in the treatment of prostate enlargement and hair loss.
Dutasteride is approved for hair loss in Japan and South Korea. In the USA and other countries, this is considered as an “off label” use for hair loss. The “off label” means that this is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for hair loss.
Dutasteride in the dose of 0.5 mg (half mg) was found to be the most effective to prevent hair loss due to male androgenetic alopecia. Dutasteride can be associated with sexual side effects which means this medicine has to be prescribed and monitored by a licensed physician with expertise in the use of this medicine.
How does medical treatment with Finasteride score for hair loss?
Similar to dutasteride, finasteride has the same mechanism of action and inhibits the enzyme 5 alpha-reductase. Dutasteride just does a better job at blocking the enzyme than finasteride.
Finasteride 5 mg scored the next best in the study. However, this dose is generally used for big prostates or prostatic hyperplasia. Most people use finasteride at a dose of 1 mg which is the US FDA-approved dose for hair loss.
The improvement in hair growth was based on assessment at 24 weeks and 50 weeks which is approximately 6 months and 1 year after starting the treatment. Interestingly use of a minoxidil oral pill at a dose of 5 mg was found to be better than the use of finasteride 1 mg dosage. Finasteride similar to dutasteride can have sexual side effects although to a lesser degree.
Older men should be cautious with the use of finasteride or dutasteride since although this may have a protective effect against prostate cancer, patients who are diagnosed tend to have a more aggressive form of cancer.
How does medical treatment with minoxidil work for hair loss?
Minoxidil is available as an oral pill and as a foam/drop that is topically applied to the head. The use of a 5 mg minoxidil oral pill was considered the third-best. The use of minoxidil resulted in more mature hair than baby hair. The mature hair on the head gives the appearance of a head full of hair. The use of the oral minoxidil pill is considered an “off label” use and to my knowledge is not presently approved by any country for hair loss.
Topical minoxidil is approved for hair loss by the US FDA. This is perhaps the most commonly used hair loss medicine. It is commonly used at 5% in men and 2% in women. Minoxidil is recommended for morning and evening use. However, the use of minoxidil can change the hair texture, resulting in scalp dryness, and hence most people are hesitant to use this during the daytime.
The least effective medicine was minoxidil at a very low dose of 0.25 mg. I am personally unclear about the use of minoxidil tablets and doctors who frequently deal with hair loss patients tend to have more experience with these medicines.
Are there any medicines that cause hair loss?
There are many medicines that can cause thankfully temporary hair loss. This means when the medicine is stopped, the hair should grow back. You probably already know that patients with cancer have hair loss. This is a result of using chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Check out these other videos on healthy hair:
Hair loss in Teenagers | Increase hair volume naturally home remedy | 5 proven ways [Boys & Girls]
One vitamin for health hair
What kind of anesthesia is used for hair transplant
4 Real ways to increase hair volume and thickness [#4 works in 2 minutes]
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