Therapeutic Medications That Stop Hair Loss in Men

Is your hair thinning?  Maybe you’re in the early stages of male pattern baldness, also known as androgenic alopecia.  There are therapeutic medications that could be the best first step in preventing further hair loss, rather than starting with a surgical procedure.

Dr. Abraham Armani is a nationally recognized surgeon and expert in hair restoration for men.  He has received “The Patients’ Choice Award” for six consecutive years and numerous nods in global publications. Call his Dallas office today at (972) 2- ARMANI to find out if a therapeutic medication or other course of action is right for you.

FDA Approved Medication Options

If you are a teenager or are a very young man in early stages of male pattern baldness hair transplant surgery is likely not the best first step.  However, there are two medications that are approved by the FDA that have been proven to slow or even stop hair loss:  finasteride (Propecia®) and minoxidil (Rogaine®).  Finasteride requires a prescription, while minoxidil does not.  They can be used separately or together, depending on a physician’s recommendation.

Finasteride (Propecia®)

Finasteride is considered one of the most effective hair loss products for men with male pattern baldness in preventing further hair loss, and in many cases even growing new hair.  Taken daily in the form of a pill, it works by upsetting the naturally occurring chemical process that miniaturizes and shortens the life span of hair follicles that are genetically predetermined to be susceptible to dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

The testosterone derivative DHT causes androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness.  DHT forms when testosterone comes into contact with the type II enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which is found in hair follicles.  Once DHT is formed it binds to genetically susceptible hair follicles, causing longer hair growth rest periods and hair shaft miniaturization, and baldness.  To learn more about this process and the genetics behind it, click here.

Finasteride, when used for hair loss treatment, blocks the conversion of testosterone into DHT by inhibiting the type II 5-alpha reductase enzyme.  The reduction in DHT is dramatic, and can prevent the further miniaturization of hair follicles and help restore the ability of miniaturized hair follicles to regrow hair.

Studies have shown that for most men the longer they take finasteride, the more follicles are restored, and the more hair produced.  After one year of taking finasteride 48% of men reported improvement in hair growth, which after two years increased to 66%.  After five years of treatment, clinical studies have shown that 90 percent of men who take finasteride either maintained their hair or continued to experience regrowth.

You will need to be patient as it will take at least a year, possibly two, for the full effects of finasteride to develop.  If you cease taking finasteride, the hair loss that was present before taking the medication will return within two to six months.

Finasteride is not for everyone.  For the rare few, there are possible negative side effects, such as loss of libido, and decreased sexual function, among others.  In your consultation with Dr. Armani, he will listen to your concerns about the loss of your hair and objectively explain the benefits and risks of therapies and treatments that are appropriate for your condition, situation, and desired results.

Dr. Armani takes great pride in being personally available to his patients.  Because of the risks of possible side-effects, he will want to remain in personal contact to monitor your progress as well as ensure that you attain the results your desire.

To receive a thorough consultation, call Dr. Armani’s office at (972) 2- ARMANI and make an appointment to find out if a therapeutic medication or another course of action is right for you.

Minoxidil (Rogaine®)

Minoxidil is the most widely used FDA approved hair loss treatment for male pattern baldness, and compared with finasteride it is considered to be moderately effective.  Men usually use a 5 percent solution, which is available without prescription, either as a liquid or a foam mouse, and is applied twice daily directly on to the scalp.

Minoxidil likely works by increasing the duration of the hair follicle growth cycle, and has been found to be most effective in the crown area of the scalp.  This medication can improve the quality of hair by increasing the diameter and length of fine hair. Studies have also shown that because minoxidil stimulates follicular growth, renewed hair growth is also very common.  To understand more about how hair grows and the effects of androgenetic alopecia, please click here.

One study has shown that almost 71 percent of men using the 5 percent minoxidil foam for 16 weeks reported improvement in the quality and the amount of hair in a treated area.  The most common side effects related with minoxidil use are blood pressure changes and scalp irritation.

If you discontinue using minoxidil the effects of the drug wear off within three months and the previous hair loss pattern returns. Unfortunately if you decide to restart minoxidil, any hair that was lost after the initial discontinuation will usually not return.  So if you start using minoxidil, it is best to not stop.

Thinning hair and male pattern baldness are not trivial events in a man’s life.  Some men even suffer from depression and anxiety because of hair loss.  Dr. Armani has been successfully treating male pattern baldness for many years and is considered a top expert in the field of hair restoration.  If you want to know the options available to you that fit your long-term goals, make an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Armani by calling his Dallas office today at (972) 2- ARMANI.