Medical Treatment

Medical Solutions

  • Minoxidil

    There are a variety of products available in pharmacies which claim to stop or reduce hair loss, some more successful than others. Probably the most popular product is Minoxidil.

    Originally used in tablet form as a medicine to treat high blood pressure, it was noticed that some patients being treated with Minoxidil experienced excessive hair growth as a side-effect. Further research showed that by applying Minoxidil in solution form directly to the Scalp, it could prove to be beneficial to those experiencing topical hair loss.

  • Propecia

    Propecia is an oral medication. Propecia acts by blocking the conversion of the male sex hormone testosterone to a metabolite called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a hormone responsible for male pattern baldness. Propecia acts by inhibiting the action of an enzyme called 5 alphareductase. Studies have shown that men who suffer hair loss have high Levels of 5 alphareductase in and around the follicles.

    Propecia causes a significant drop in both scalp and blood concentrations of DHT. Studies have shown that DHT Levels decrease by up to 68.8% and testosterone Levels increase by up to 9.1% in men who take 1mg of Propecia a day.

    Propecia was initially marketed for prostate enlargement as Proscar whis is 5mg of Finasteride (the active molecule in Propecia). In 1998 the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) approved 1mg Finasteride for use in male pattern baldness. Studies have shown that 80% of men taking 1mg Finasteride either kept their hair or grew more.

    In the crown more that 30% showed moderate improvement and 5% showed significant improvement in hair quality. However only 4% of men showed moderate improvement to the hair in front. Also hair counts were increased mostly in the crown.

SIDE EFFECTS OF PROPECIA

  • Sexual Dysfunction

    Studies have shown that men taking 1mg a day dose of Finasteride reported slight decrease in libido (1.8%) and impotence (1.3%). Although it is interesting to know there was a small incidence of sexual dysfunction in men on placebo.

    Most reported cases of sexual dysfunction occured soon after the medication was started. Sexual side effects reversed in all men who stopped in medication and in 58% of those who continued treatment.

  • Gynecomastia

    Adverse effects related to breasts including tenderness and enlargement occured in 0.4% of men taking Finasteride 1mg a day.

  • Effects on Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)

    Propecia causes approximately 1/3 decrease in serum PSA in men with no prostate problems. It may also blunt the rise of PSA Levels in men with Prostate enlargement and in those who have developed cancer of the prostate.

    With this in mind it is extremely important that you physician is aware that you are taking Propecia so that your doctor can take in to account any effects that Propecia may have on your PSA.

    Propecia is contraindicated in women of child bearing age since birth defects in males can occur if the drug is absorbed into the body during fetal development. It is advised that women should never handle crushed tablets whilst pregnant. There is no evidence that exposure of pregnant women through semen is a risk to the fetus. However it is advisable to use condoms if you are concerned.

  • Effects in Females

    Propecia is contraindicated in women of child bearing age since birth defects in males can occur if the drug is absorbed into the body during fetal development. It is advised that women should never handle crushed tablets whilst pregnant. There is no evidence that exposure of pregnant women through semen is a risk to the fetus. However it is advisable to use condoms if you are concerned.

  • Dutasteride

    Dutasteride has a similar mode of action to Finasteride but it also inhibits both the type1 and type 2 of 5 alphareductase enzymes. It does not have FDA approval for use in hairloss.

  • Patient monitoring

    Men over 40 should consult their GP or urologist before taking either Propecia or Dutasteride.