There are two medications currently available that have been scientifically proven to be effective for the medical treatment of androgenic alopecia or male pattern hair loss. They do not stop the process of hair loss completely but will many times slow the process of hair loss and potentially revive failing hair follicles that have stopped producing hair. Fenasteride (Propecia) is a prescription medication available for use by men only. It works by blocking the enzyme that converts Testosterone to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is the naturally occurring hormone that is responsible for male pattern baldness. By blocking the production of DHT with Fenasteride, hair loss can be slowed and some re-growth of lost hair can be seen. It does not effect the production or function of Testosterone, the primary male hormone, so it does not typically effect male sexual function or muscle development. Sexual side effects have been shown to be mild and in less than 2% of men using the drug. It has been available for over 10 years and has been shown to be safe and effective. Fenasteride seems to work best for early to moderate hair loss and can be used in combination with topical Minoxidil (Rogaine).
Topical Minoxidil (Rogaine) is available in 2% and 5% concentrations. Typically, the 5% concentration is used for men and the 2% concentration for women. Recently, I have been recommending the 5% concentration for both men and women. Topical Minoxidil works similarly to Fenasteride by blocking the production of DHT from Testosterone. However, since it is a topical solution, and is applied directly to the scalp, it does not have the potential for distant side effects as with Fenasteride. It has been available for over 15 years and is helpful in slowing down hair loss but less effective in restoring follicles that have stopped producing hair. It is generally applied to the areas of the scalp that are balding or have thinning hair once or twice per day.
Unfortunately, both of these medications must be used continuously in order to maintain their effect. Once these medications are discontinued, hair loss will resume and rapidly catch up to where it would have been if the medications had not been used. They do not work for everyone but have been scientifically shown to work for many patients. They can also be used in combination with each other and using them together may provide additional benefit for men with male pattern hair loss.
Hair transplantation at Advanced Hair Restoration of Oklahoma is the most cost effective option leading to a permanent solution to hair loss in men and women. Although medical treatment can help slow the process of hair loss, it will not stop it completely and is not a cost effective or satisfying method of hair restoration. Using these medications to preserve your natural hair combined with an affordable hair transplant at Advanced Hair Restoration of Oklahoma will give you the look you want and help restore your self confidence.