In late 1997 the FDA approved the drug finasteride to fight androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness) in men. Finasteride is the generic name of the drug (developed by Merck) which is marketed in a 1mg dose as Propecia, and a 5mg dose as Proscar. A single milligram daily is all that is necessary to achieve and maintain the hair stabilization or regrowth benefits of this medication. More recent studies have shown that as long as you get 7 mg per week it is also equally effective to 1 mg daily. The 5mg dose of Finasteride (Proscar) is effective in treating some cases of enlargement of the prostate gland. Although the dose is different, these medications are the same. They are both available in generic form as they are no longer under patent.
The medication works by blocking the enzyme that converts the male hormone Testosterone into its metabolic byproduct, Dihydrotesterone (DHT). In the case of male pattern baldness, DHT is the messenger hormone that directs the hair follicle to stop making hair. Therefore, blocking the formation of DHT has been found to help stabilize hair loss, and to regrow some hair in affected men. Although DHT is felt to be important in a developing male fetus, researchers do not feel it maintains any important beneficial functions in adult males.
The results of two year-long medical trials studying the effects of Propecia in male pattern baldness revealed a greater than 83% response rate in study participants who either maintained their hair pattern and stopped losing hair, or 66% regrew an average of 10% more hair in an area of thinning hair. The medication was not felt to be effective for certain patterns such as temporal recession (hairline). It would not be expected to regrow hair in an area where an absolute loss of follicles had previously occurred.
In addition to Propecia, the only other FDA approved medication treatment for treating hair loss is Rogaine (generic is Minoxidil). For more information regarding Minoxidil and recent studies, click here Minoxidil Studies.
Other over the counter remedies exist but have not gone through the rigorous testing required to receive FDA approval. Often, they are not placebo tested, and the studies that are done may not have statistical significance. Dr. Keene prescribes and recommends only FDA approved medicine for treatment of hair loss.
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Dr. Sharon Keene has two Arizona Locations. One in Tucson at 3940 N Campbell Ave and the other in Paradise Valley at 5410 N Scottsdale Road in Suite E-200. You can reach either location to schedule a hair transplant consultation with Dr. Keene by calling 1-800-840-9761 or 520-600-0553.