Medicine for hair loss
Despite research and development for more than 25 years, no one has succeeded in solving the mystery of hair loss.
Vitamins, conditioners, and special shampoos marketed by certain companies have not generated any noticeable results. There are only two drugs for hair loss available today; Finasteride and Minoxidil. They work on 70 percent of all patients.
Finasteride is the substance included in the drug Propecia. This preparation is only for men as the substance may induce severe fetal damage in pregnant women.
Propecia inhibits the enzyme, 5-alpha reductase, which makes testosterone form dihydrotestosterone, DHT. DHT is the substance that causes male hereditary hair loss and to some extent also female hereditary hair loss – i.e. genetic hair loss.
It is the individual sensitivity for the enzyme that determines the severity of the hair loss. In cases of genetic hair loss, the growth of new hairs is stunted while the existing hairs shrink and eventually disappear. By reducing the sensitivity for the enzyme, and thus the formation of DHT, Finasteride slows this process.
Minoxidil is the substance that has been approved as a preparation for hair loss the longest. American scientists were working on developing new heart medication and noticed an increase in hair growth on some of the laboratory animals. The drug’s efficiency in combatting hair loss was thus discovered by accident.
Minoxidil widens the diameter of blood vessels, which increases blood flow through the arteries. Exactly how the preparation affects hair growth is unknown, but the theory is that dilated blood vessels around the hair follicles cause more oxygen and nutrients to reach the area.
There are some side effects to consider regarding Minoxidil. Severe irritations in the scalp may arise as the alcohol dries out the skin. Furthermore, the alcohol may cause the hairs to become brittle and very brittle hairs may be damaged and break.
The main side effect, however, is that the preparation causes an increase in blood pressure, wherefore individuals suffering from this should not take the drug. A significantly increased heart rhythm is not necessarily dangerous but may be unpleasant.
In Sweden, Minoxidil is sold as a 2% solution for women and as a 5% solution for men. Minoxidil is sold in Sweden under the brand names Rogaine, Recrea and Orifarm.