Hair Loss Medication

In a free consultation we can discuss the approved medications for treating hair loss and thinning. 

MINOXIDIL

Minoxidil was originally developed as an oral medication for treating high blood pressure, but one of its side effects was increased hair growth, leading to its use in hair loss treatment.

Topical minoxidil is a medication that is widely used for treating hair loss, particularly male and female pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia). It comes in liquid or foam formulations that are applied directly to the scalp once or twice daily. The most common concentrations are 2% minoxidil for women and 5% for men, but it is also available in high strength prescription formulations in 6% and 12.5%

Oral minoxidil is the pill/tablet form of the medication minoxidil that is sometimes prescribed off-label for treating hair loss. Some doctors or prescribers may prescribe low doses of oral minoxidil (around 2.5-5mg per day) off-label for patients who don’t respond well to the topical formulations. Oral minoxidil gets minoxidil into the bloodstream, which then circulates and potentially reaches more hair follicles than just applying it topically. Studies show oral minoxidil can be more effective than topical minoxidil for promoting new hair growth in some patients.

Minoxidil works by shortening the resting/shedding phase of the hair growth cycle and allowing more hairs to enter and remain in the growth phase. Initially upon starting hair loss treatment with minoxidil a shedding phase may occur in the first 3 months. It will usually take 4-6 months before seeing a noticeable stabilisation of hair loss and any protentional regrowth of some miniaturised hairs.

The effects of minoxidil are temporary. If a patient discontinues treatment with minoxidil any regrown hair will eventually shed, usually within 3-6 months of discontinuing treatment.

Potential side effects can include scalp irritation, unwanted hair growth on the face/hands/body, rapid heart rate, lowering of blood pressure and weight gain. All of which can be discussed in a free consultation.

Patients should attend the clinic every 3-6 months to track progress and review their treatment plan.

FINASTERIDE

Finasteride is an antiandrogen medication. It inhibits the enzyme 5α-reductase, which converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). As high levels of DHT are a primary cause of hair follicle miniaturisation and eventual baldness in men, finasteride can be an effective hair loss treatment. By reducing DHT levels, finasteride helps stop or slow down the hair loss process and promote regrowth of some lost hair in many men.

Oral finasteride is commonly prescribed for treating male pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) as well as benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate). It is typically prescribed at a 1mg daily dose for hair loss treatment. It generally takes 6-12 months of continuous use before seeing stabilisation of hair loss and increased hair regrowth. The effects are not permanent, if a patient stops taking finasteride, any regrown hair will eventually be lost again within 6-12 months as DHT levels rise.

Topical finasteride is a formulation of the hair loss medication finasteride that is applied directly to the scalp rather than being taken orally as a pill. While oral finasteride is an FDA-approved treatment for male pattern baldness, topical finasteride is not currently an approved drug. However, some compounding pharmacies can make customized topical finasteride solutions or sprays for off-label use.

Potential side effects can include erectile dysfunction, gynecomastia (male breast tissue), depression and others related to lowering DHT levels. All of which can be discussed in a free consultation.