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Medications for Hair Loss

Both minoxidil topical solution and finasteride tablets can produce a modest increase in hair on the scalps of young men with mild-to-moderate hair loss. Both must be continued indefinitely to maintain the effect. The long-term safety of both drugs remains to be determined. Always check with your physician before using these products.

Finasteride is a prescription hair loss medication prescribed for men only. This tablet originated as a treatment for an enlarged prostate gland. In addition:

  • Hair growth may not be cosmetically acceptable.
  • Finasteride must be taken daily for your life or new hair will be lost.
  • Adverse reactions include impotence (1% to 4%) and decreased libido (1.6 % to 3.3%)
  • The manufacturer warns that women who are or may be pregnant should not take finasteride or handle crushed or broken pills, due to the drug's potential to cause birth defects.

Minoxidil is an over-the-counter treatment available for men and women. It is rubbed directly onto the scalp and is most effective in slowing the hair loss process. Minoxidil is marketed for hair replacement on the top-rear of the scalp only. It has never been proven successful in frontal areas, where most men and women are troubled with hair loss. In addition:

  • Only a relatively small percentage of men and women who have applied Minoxidil have noted any real hair growth.
  • Less than 8 percent of men tested had dense growth after twelve months of twice-daily applications.
  • The hair that grows is often fuzz or “baby-fine” type hair that won't completely obscure a bald spot.
  • Minoxidil must be applied every day for your lifetime. If discontinued, even for a few weeks, your new hair will most likely fall out.


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