Hair Loss Medications
Medications Can Prevent or Stop Hair Loss
But it is important to do your homework before trying any hair loss medication!
Hair loss medications can work. After approximately 15 years of widespread use for each, Propecia (finasteride) and Rogaine (minoxidil) have proven to be somewhat effective at halting and sometimes reversing hair loss. Medications are not for everyone, but for the hundreds of thousands of users of both medications, hair loss was defied -- it was not a fate that had to be accepted.
Propecia in particular, taken orally, is effective for 86 percent of users. About half actually regrow some lost hair, while for the other half the loss is simply stopped from advancing. Rogaine, which is applied topically to the scalp, is effective for only about 50 percent of those who use it. Both medications are more effective when used by individuals under age 40. The earlier in their hair loss experience that either medication is used, the more effective the results.
As with almost all forms of medication, finasteride and minoxidil come with side effects. Some are minor (skin irritation and itchiness, occasional growth of hair in unwanted places), others more significant (male fetuses can suffer significant adverse damage if the mother is exposed to Propecia). The individual user and family members present in the household need to be informed when choosing to use hair loss medications such as Propecia.
With both medications, hair loss resumes with discontinued use. The positive effects of Rogaine, hair counts and thickness, diminish after about five years of use.
And a note to women: Propecia is prescribed to men only, owing to the potential for birth defects (it also does not work in postmenopausal women), but Rogaine can be more effective for you than for men. Rogaine is now available over the counter -- no prescription required.
All of which shows it is essential to do your homework before trying hair loss medications.