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Currently, there are two Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-cleared treatments for hair loss: Finasteride (Propecia) and Minoxidil (Rogaine).
Finasteride (Propecia) for Male Hair Loss
- Finasteride is a prescription oral medication that works as a DHT blocker, preventing hair loss associated with excess levels of the hormone DHT. It has been proven to treat male pattern hair loss, with studies indicating that over 80 percent of men taking the medication do not experience further hair loss (Leffell, 2000). The medication has not yet been cleared for use in women.
Minoxidil (Rogaine) for Male and Female Hair Loss
- Minoxidil is a topical solution that is applied to the scalp twice daily. It is the only hair loss medication that is approved and effective for both men and women. It works by stopping hair loss and promoting hair growth. Minoxidil is sold over the counter in varying concentrations (2%, 5%). Side effects of the drug include itching and scaling of the scalp.
Which Medication is Better for My Hair Loss?
- Both treatments work best for younger men who are beginning to lose their hair.
- Both treatments treat the crown area (top of the head) best.
- Minoxidil has been shown to effectively treat hairline thinning in women. It is also effective for treatment of hair loss in menopausal women (Leffell, 2000).
Leffell, D. J. (2000). Total Skin: The Definitive Guide to Whole Skin Care For Life. New York: Hyperion.