Hair Loss Medication

In hair loss medication, USA doctors treat (alopecia) thinning hair with prescription medications Finasteride & Minoxidil. US doctors differ in hair loss treatments & prevention. Read more on *Hair Loss Medications & Risks 

Hair Loss Medication

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Hair loss & thinning hair

Losing hair is common. According to the US Government, sixty percent of all men, or two out of three men, experience some form of hair loss in their life. An estimated 35 million men and 21 million women in the United States have male pattern hair loss.

  • How much hair are you losing?
  • Is there a medical and family history of hair loss?
  • Is your hair falling out in small patches? 
  • Is your hair falling out due to genetics androgenic alopecia?
  • Is your hair falling out in small patches? 
  • Chemicals used on the hair may cause hair to fall out
  • Are you taking a new medicine, steroids, or chemotherapy that may cause excessive hair shedding?
  • Are you going through any physical trauma or a severe illness that may cause your hair loss?

Pattern baldness hair loss appears because of high levels of androgens, such as testosterone and dihydroxy-testosterone (DHT). You are debating on the use of hair growth medications. A doctor’s diagnosis will assess treatment and medication options. You will discuss medications, side effects, or risks that may apply using the hair loss medications. Today, hair loss medications, FDA approved, pose some significant risks to users. Is the risk worth it?

Hair loss medications

In reality, there is currently no medication that cures baldness. Some hair loss products can help slow down the process, but there is no cure for the most common type of hair loss called male pattern baldness. The effectiveness of medications used to treat hair loss depends on the cause of hair loss. There are two drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration that show a positive effect and are most widely used. Finasteride and Minoxidil. They work by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone into five alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Other medications used by doctors to treat hair loss are injections of cortisone into the scalp or ointment of anthralin, usually for extensive alopecia areata conditions. 

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Minoxidil Medication 

Minoxidil (Rogaine)

Minoxidil (Rogaine) is an over-the-counter medication; no prescription is needed. This topical medication is rubbed into the scalp twice daily. Side effects can include irritation of the scalp. Most noteworthy, new hair stops growing soon after the use of the drug is discontinued. Also, upon terminating the use of the drug, any hair re-growth will fall out within six months. According to Pharmacia and Upjohn companies, minoxidil treatment for hair loss works better for younger or those with recent hair loss. 

Minoxidil’s hair loss mediation known possible side effects include an itchy scalp & maybe sudden weight gain, chest pains, fainting, or rapid heartbeat.

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Medications for Hair Loss

Finasteride (Propecia) prescription 

Finasteride (Propecia) Propecia is a 4 AZA steroid compound that is a specific inhibitor of type 2, 5 Alpha Reductase, the enzyme that metabolizes the androgen testosterone into Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This prescription medication to treat male-pattern baldness is taken daily in pill form. People with liver disease or prostate cancer should not be using this drug. Children should avoid any contact with this medication. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Women and children should not use this medicine. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not handle crushed or broken tablets. Finasteride can be absorbed through the skin and cause birth defects in male babies.” In addition, according to Merck, women should avoid handling crushed or broken tablets.

Propecia side effects, according to the National Medical Library: Breast enlargement and tenderness, skin rash, and swelling of lips are more likely to occur with the 5-mg dose. Likewise, abdominal pain, back pain, decreased interest in sex, reduced amount of semen, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, impotence, long-term sexual problems risk (inability to have or keep an erection). Even more, Propecia may skew PSA; blood test results used to screen for prostate cancer, a new study found and published in the medical journal Lancet Oncology.

In a test study by Northwestern University, of more than 11,000 men who took these hair loss medications between 1992 and 2013, only 1.4 percent of them suffered long-term erectile dysfunction. But it lasted more than 3 ½ years after they stopped taking the pills. And 4.5 percent developed shorter-term erectile dysfunction. The younger the men, the bigger the risk.

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Losing Hair from medications

Medication side effect & hair falling out

Prescription drugs, chemo, and radiation therapy cause hair to fall out. Medications, such as blood pressure drugs, intake of blood-thinner medicines, and Beta-Blockers for depression can be why hair falls out. Also, Naproxen Sodium (Nuprin) and others may initiate temporary hair shedding. Likewise, excessive iron or vitamin A intake is toxic and can cause hair loss.


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