Doctors can prescribe several anti-alopecia medications to normalize hair loss (also called androgenetic alopecia). The main disadvantage is that no medication currently cures the causes of androgenetic alopecia and the treatments must be taken for life.
Minoxidil is a medicated lotion that is applied directly to the scalp. Also known as Regaine®, Aminexil® or Alostil®, Minoxidil stimulates hair growth by extending the length of the hair cycle and increasing hair thickness.
Who should consider Minoxidil?
Minoxidil is prescribed to people who suffer from pathological hair loss or whose hair growth is considerably slowed down. It is often recommended in addition to a hair transplant. There is a formula for men (Minoxidil 5%) and another for women (Minoxidil 2%). In some cases, Minoxidil 5% may be recommended for women.
Many scientific studies have shown that Minoxidil can:
- improve scalp vascularization;
- stimulate hair growth by extending the length of the hair cycle;
- restore thickness to hair that has become miniaturized under the effect of DHT.
- It takes four to five months to see the first results. In 30% of cases, Minoxidil normalizes hair loss, and in 10% of patients suffering from baldness, a slight hair regrowth is observed.
Minoxidil is for adults only and is prescribed by prescription.
It is applied once or twice a day to a dry scalp. The patient applies the lotion to the center of the affected area and spreads the product with the fingertips.
The total daily dose should not exceed 2 ml.
The disadvantages of Minoxidil
The effects stop as soon as the patient stops the treatment. In addition, some side effects may occur. For example: irritation and itching of the scalp, redness and dryness, decrease in blood pressure, headaches, acne on the area where it is applied, hypertrichosis, tachycardia, dizziness, mild vision problems.
Finasteride, also known as Propecia®, inhibits the 5-alphareductase enzyme that converts male hormones into DHT. This slows down hair cycles and allows hair to grow back.
Who can use Finasteride?
Finasteride is only recommended for adult males in the early stages of androgenetic alopecia.
Finasteride’s effectiveness, especially in cases of early-stage alopecia, has been demonstrated by several scientific studies. A normalization of hair loss can be observed after three months of treatment. The hair starts to grow back after six months. Some patients even experience a 65% increase in the number of hairs after five years of treatment. However, its effectiveness on the recession of the bi-temporal gulfs and on an advanced stage of hair loss has not been established.
Finasteride must be prescribed by a doctor. One milligram is taken orally every day.
Its effects on hair stop as soon as the patient stops taking it. In addition, Finasteride has some side effects, mainly sexual and psychological (e.g., erectile dysfunction or depression).
Birth control pills
Birth control pills contain synthetic estrogen. The best known ones are Jasmine® or Diane 35®.
Who should consider the contraceptive pill?
The contraceptive pill is recommended only for menstruating women who are sensitive to male hormones. The contraceptive pill is not recommended for patients with certain health problems, such as a personal or family history of venous thrombosis.
Contraceptive pill results
Synthetic estrogens can stimulate hair vitality and, in some cases, slow down hair cycles.
Contraceptive pill dosage
The contraceptive pill can be prescribed by a gynecologist to patients suffering from baldness. One pill should be taken every day at the same time of the day, starting on the first day of the period, for 21 consecutive days.
Disadvantages of the contraceptive pill
Its effects on the hair stop as soon as the patient stops taking it. In addition, there can be a number of side effects on the body: weight gain, increased risk of thromboembolism, cycle disorders.
Better known as Androcur®, cyproterone acetate is an oral anti-androgen. It neutralizes the effects of testosterone and promotes hair growth. It is being prescribed less frequently nowadays because of the increased risk of meningioma when used for more than six months.
Who should consider Cyproterone Acetate?
Cyproterone acetate is prescribed for women who are menstruating or who have had menopause. It is not recommended in the following cases: phlebitis, severe depression, diabetes and meningioma.
Cyproterone acetate results
It takes six to twelve months for the first results to be visible. Cyproterone acetate slows down the secretion of androgens by the adrenal glands and ovaries, while preventing DHT from binding to hair follicles. It slows down hair loss while promoting hair growth.
Cyproterone acetate dosage
Androcur® is taken in tablet form with a dosage of 25 or 50 mg and must always be combined with a progestogen pill for non-menopausal women. It is not recommended in the following cases: phlebitis, severe depression and diabetes.
Disadvantages of cyproterone acetate
The effects stop as soon as the patient stops taking it. Most importantly, Androcur® increases the risk of meningioma, a brain tumor that is generally benign but can cause significant effects in some women. Finally, Androcur can cause weight gain and menstrual disorders.
Also known as Aldactone®, Spirinolactone was originally a blood pressure medication that has an anti-androgenic effect. It inhibits the enzyme 5-alphareductase which transforms testosterone into DHT.
Who should consider spirinolactone?
Spirinolactone is prescribed to adult women who suffer from androgenetic alopecia.
Spirinolactone has been shown to be effective in normalizing hair loss in women. It can sometimes be an alternative to Androcur®.
100 mg is taken orally every day. Spirinolactone is often combined with a progestogen pill.
Disadvantages of spirinolactone
The effects stop as soon as the patient stops the treatment. In addition, taking spirinolactone can cause side effects, such as: excessive breast development, diarrhea, cramps, drowsiness, rash, irregular periods.
Are dietary supplements effective in fighting baldness?
As such, dietary supplements are not sufficient to treat androgenetic alopecia. However, they can help improve hair health by providing the vitamins and nutrients that the hair needs. Doctors will tend to prescribe dietary supplements when the patient suffers from nutritional deficiencies such as iron, protein and vitamins.