Medication for hair loss
Today there are only a few medications for hair loss, Finesteride and Minoxidil, and they only work in 70 percent of all patients. Despite research and development during over 25 years no one has been able to solve the issue of hair loss.
Vitamins, conditioners and special shampoos that some companies advertise have not given any considerable results.
Finasteride is the substance in the pharmaceutical Propecia. This preparation is only for men, as the substance can cause severe harm to the fetal in pregnant women.
Propecia acts by inhibiting the enzyme, 5-alpha reductase, that makes testosterone create dihydrotestosterone, DHT. DHT is the substance that causes heredity hair loss in males and to some degree also causes female heredity hair loss – namely genetic hair loss.
It is one’s individual sensitivity to the enzyme that determine how powerful the hair loss will be. With genetic hair loss, the growth of new hair is inhibited at the same time as the existing hairs shrink and eventually disappear. Finasteride slows this process down by decreasing the sensitivity to the enzyme and thus the development of DHT.
Minoxidil is the substance that has been allowed the longest as a preparation for hair loss. American scientists worked towards developing new heart medications and discovered that after few tests on animals, increased hair growth was seen. The pharmaceutical’s efficiency against hair loss was thus discovered by a coincidence.
Minoxidil increased the blood vessels diameter which results in increased blood flow through the arteries. Exactly how the preparation affects the hair growth is unknown, but the theory is that expanded vessels at the hair follicles results in increased oxygen and nutrients to the area.
There are some side effects to consider when it comes to Minoxidil. Severe irritations on scalp can develop as alcohol dries the skin. Furthermore, alcohol can make the hair brittle and very weak, resulting in damaged hair and hair fall.
The primary side effect is that the preparation results in increased blood pressure, which is why people suffering from high blood pressure should not take this medication. It is not necessarily dangerous, but an elevated heart rate can be perceived as unpleasant.
Minoxidil is in Sweden offered as a 2-percent solution for women and as a 5-percent solution for men. It is sold in Sweden under brand names as Rogaine, Recrea and Orifarm.
There are a number of different vitamins on the market today – most of them without any effect.
During 12 years in our clinic we have not met anyone saying that they developed improved hair growth from any of today’s expensive vitamins or mineral preparations.