What medical options are there to treat hair fall?

As mentioned in our previous article, in cases of moderate to severe hair loss immediate medical attention is warranted. In most cases once the underlying medical problem has been treated, hair growth resumes. This however need not necessarily hold true. Clinical case studies have shown that the incidences of irreversible hair loss in post-management medical cases can be between 8 – 12%. Even though hair recovery is possible in a majority of cases hair thinning may be a persistent problem.
In problematic cases, 2 medications are available:

1) Minoxidil

Developed by Upjohn Company in the US in the 1950s. The drug was initially used for the treatment of ulcers. Subsequently these drugs were found to be powerful vasodilators and were used in the treatment of hypertension. During the initial trials in the early 1960’s a coincidental finding (which was a side effect of the drug) was noticed, unexpected hair growth within the trial group. This led to a topical version of Minoxidil for application over balding areas to help trigger hair growth.
From my personal experience prescribing and recommending Minoxidil, the results are not encouraging. I will agree that in about 35% of cases, hair growth was noted but this “new hair” was short lived and fell off prematurely even though the patients maintained good scalp and hair care. So off hand it is not a medication that I would readily recommend.

2) Finasteride

This is an oral medication that is used to treat male pattern baldness. First patented in 1984 and subsequently used in the early 1990’s. In women however the results have been not encouraging. The side effects for men being sexual dysfunction and gynecomastia (development of male breast tissue).

Stay tuned for coming articles as we dive in each category!

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