Women who suffer from androgenetic alopecia can find it quite complicated to choose which hair loss treatment is the most effective. Many drugs have proven to be effective for some women; however, many doctors are hesitant in prescribing these drugs. The drug companies are not new or testing existing drugs just for treating and preventing hair loss in women.
Doctors prefer not to administer systemic treatment unless they are certain that the loss of hair is the result of androgen. The reason for this is that systemic treatments can lower androgen levels in the body. Doctors prefer to administer a topical hair loss treatment applied to the head.
The most effective results are from treatments that begin when as hair loss is noticeable because prolonged anrogenetic alopecia will destroy hair follicles. Using anti-androgens when hair loss begins will help to prevent additional loss and encourages new hair growth that has been lying dormant and still viable. To discontinue treatment means that hair loss will start again if androgens are not monitored in another way. Taking vitamins helps while you are on these types of medications.
Treatments will always have a higher rate of effectiveness if it is focused on the cause while promoting hair growth.
To date there few treatments that is approved by the FDA for hair loss in women. There are several treatments that are currently used for treating female pattern hair loss. Some of the drugs are not FDA approved for this type of application. However, all of the drugs are approved for other types of applications as well as being used for hair loss.
How effective these drugs and methods are depends on the person, some women have had positive results in both.
Minoxidil 2% Topical Treatment
Minoxidil was originally used in treating high blood pressure. Patients taking minoxidil began to experience extreme hair growth as one of the side effects. Research proved applying minoxidil to the scalp stimulated hair growth. Once the drug was absorbed, it went directly into the bloodstream with no side effects.
Women who had androgenetic alopecia used minoxidil and found it was more effective with women than men. a 2% concentration not a 5% concentration was then recommended. Currently 5% minoxidil has not been approved by the FDA. Dermatologists prescribe minoxdil 5% for women who have androgenetic alopecia when used under supervision. There were clinical trials conducted with 5% minoxidil for women with androgenetic alopecia and it was proven that it was more effective in keeping hiar and promoting hair regrowth.
Clinical studies have revealed that a certain percentage of white women between the ages of 18 to 45 with varying degrees of hair loss had moderate hair regrowth for several months and approximately half had a small amount of hair loss. This was compared to a small percentage of women that had moderate hair regrowth after they used a placebo liquid without active ingredients for several months and the remaining had minimal hair regrowth.
The American Hair Loss Association acknowledges that there are limitations with minoxidil treatments when used on women with androgenic alopecia. It is recommended that you consult a hair loss technician who will provide information on treatments.
Aldactone / Spironolactone
Spironolactone also known as Aldactone is part of a family of drugs known as water pills. They are used to decrease fluid in the body without losing potassium. They are also used in treating high blood pressure, hormonal disorders and swelling.
This drug delays the production of androgen in the adrenal glands as well as the ovaries and also blocks androgens by preventing the dihydrotestosterone from adhering to androgenetic receptors.
Tagamet / Cimetidine
Cimetidine also known as Tagamet is in the same class as histamine blockers which are used in treating ulcers. This drug also blocks excessive stomach acid produced by ulcers. This process starts the healing the ulcers. Cimetidine has also been proven to block dehydrotestosterone from adhering to follicle receptors.
Cimetidine is used in treating excessive hair growth on the face in women. women that have androgenic alopecia and have shown positive results. It is highly recommended that men do not take this drug since it has feminizing effects such as sexual side effects.
Cyproterone Acetate reduces sex drives in men that have high sex drives and also treats sexual aggression. It is also used in treating hirsuitism in women of childbearing years as well as hair loss in women. Cyproterone acetate blocks dihydrotestosterone from adhering to receptors.
Cyproterone acetate is not used in the United States and because of its toxic nature is a last resort for treating hair loss in women.
Any side effects besides those that are listed can occur. It is advised that you should consult your physician if you experience any side effects that are unusual.
This drug is a used in hormone replacement therapy to treat menopause. Creams and pills are used to treat androgenetic alopecia in women in menopause or have low estrogen and/or progesterone.
Oral contraceptives decrease the androgen produced in the ovaries which are used for treating androgenetic alopecia. cautions should be taken with women taking oral contraceptives to prevent conception while taking for treating hair loss. Women who smoke and are 35 years of age who take oral contraceptives may develop blood clots as well as other conditions. Oral contraceptives are available in several forms and your physician will determine the which form is right for you. Only low androgen oral contraceptives can be used for treating hair loss. Oral contraceptives that are high in androgen may result in additional hair loss.
This drug is available by prescription for topical use. Ketoconazole is used to treat fungus infections. The anti-androgenics in this drug will reduce androgens such as testosterone. This is the main reason it is used for treating hair loss. The shampoo Nizoral has Ketoconazole and has been prescribed for treating scalp conditions. It is also used with other applications for hair loss in women. There is a 1 % version which is currently available and can be purchased without a prescription.
This drug stops the body from producing DHT which harms the prostate area and kills follicles and went under the name Proscar. A 1 mg version was introduced in 1998 and went under the name Propecia. This drug is FDA approved for treating hair loss in men. It prevented hair loss in both men and women and has promoted hair regrowth. It does work for some women; however, women that are pregnant or planning on getting pregnant should not take this drug. Approximately 2% of men have experienced side effects such as erectile dysfunction and low sex drive. There have been no side effects found in women.
Cyproterone Acetate with Ethinyloestradiol
This drug is also known as Diane 35 and Diane 50. It is a contraceptive that available by prescription in Europe for hair loss in women. It blocks male hormones found in women. It is possible for this drug to inhibit hair loss and stimulates hair regrowth within one year. For positive results this drug should be used on a routine basis for hair to continue to grow. Some side do exist and include headaches, low sex drive and breast tenderness. One positive side effect is that it prevents osteoporosis. Both contain 2 mg of cyproterone. Diane 35 contains less than 1 mg of estradiol. Diane 50 contains slightly more estradiol. This drug can be more effective than spironolactone.