You’ve probably seen or heard a bunch of ads, emails and other pitches, all claiming to have a treatment or cure for hair loss or thinning hair. You’ll hear about drugs, vitamins, oils and creams, all purporting to allow you to restore your hair without having to undergo any type of procedure. You may be confused or even overwhelmed by the amount of noise out there and you want to be able to separate fact from fiction.
At RHRLI, we believe you should never seek treatment that isn’t approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). When you come to RHRLI, you’ll consult with a medical doctor who can tell you your options. We’re the only hair restoration center on Long Island that offers the state-of-the-art ARTAS® system, an FDA-cleared hair transplant procedure. We’d also like to give you information on FDA cleared non-surgical options, so you can have all of the information to decide which treatment is right for you.
There are only two medications that have received FDA approval for hair loss treatment. They are minoxidil, often recognized by the brand name Rogaine and finasteride, commonly known by the brand name Propecia.
The Story Behind Minoxidil
Minoxidil, was the first drug approved by the FDA for treatment of male pattern hair loss, according to the American Hair Loss Association (AHLA). It was initially manufactured as a pill to treat high blood pressure. But researchers discovered that hair growth was a side effect of taking the drug. Further tests revealed that applying minoxidil in a topical form on the top of the head grew hair back in places where there had been hair loss.
But the regrowth of hair was only successful in varying degrees. According to the Mayo Clinic, the effects peak at 16 weeks. Minoxidil can be taken by women with the maker of the drug recommending that women only take a 2 percent concentration compared to the 5 percent concentration men take, according to the AHLA. The FDA has not approved the 5 percent formula for women.
The Benefits and Side Effects of Finasteride
Finasteride was originally developed as a treatment for enlarged prostate. Like minoxidil it was discovered that there was a side effect of hair growth, according to AHLA. In 1997 the FDA approved it as the first pill to treat male pattern hair loss. It works by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It can reduce DHT, which is a prime factor in causing hair loss, by 60 percent resulting in stopping the progression of hair loss by 86 percent according to men who took part in clinical trials.
One of the biggest issues for men who take finasteride (the drug is not FDA approved for women) are its side effects. Among them are impotence, loss of interest in sex, swelling of hands or feet, dizziness, weakness, headache, runny nose or skin rash. The sexual side effects can also occur after you stop taking the drug. A consideration involving both finasteride and minoxidil is that your hair will begin to thin again after you stop taking it.
RHRLI Offers a Permanent Solution to Hair Loss
If you’re looking for a permanent solution to hair loss or thinning hair, a hair transplant procedure doesn’t require you to continually take medication for the rest of your life. Unlike other hair transplant techniques, like strip surgery or transplants done by doctors using hand-held devices, the ARTAS® System is more accurate. It will leave you with a healthier head of hair. To learn more, contact RHRLI today.
Please note that the author of this piece is not a doctor and the information in this material is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your doctor or medical professional for specific information regarding your individual situation.