Medical Therapies for Hair Loss
Hair loss can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, hormonal changes, and medical conditions. There are several medical therapies available for hair loss, including topical minoxidil and oral finasteride, which are approved by the FDA for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia, or male and female pattern hair loss.
Lets discuss some options here in detail-
1. Topical Minoxidil-
Minoxidil is a topical medication approved by the FDA for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia, or male and female pattern hair loss. It is believed to work by widening blood vessels in the scalp, which increases blood flow to hair follicles and stimulates hair growth. Minoxidil is available over-the-counter in strengths ranging from 2% to 5%, and it is typically applied twice daily to the scalp. It can take several months of consistent use to see results, and hair loss may resume if treatment is discontinued.
2. Oral minoxidil -
Oral Minoxidil is a medication that is FDA-approved for the treatment of high blood pressure, but it is ofetn prescribed off-label at low doses for the treatment of hair loss. Studies have shown that oral minoxidil can be an effective treatment option for androgenetic alopecia, although it may have a higher risk of side effects compared to topical minoxidil.
3. Propecia- Finasteride-
Propecia (finasteride) is a medication that is FDA-approved for the treatment of male pattern hair loss. It works by inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that contributes to the development of male pattern hair loss. Studies have shown that Propecia can be an effective treatment option for male pattern hair loss, with up to 90% of men experiencing a decrease in hair loss or visible hair regrowth. However, it is important to note that Propecia is not a cure for hair loss and must be taken continuously to maintain its effects. Common side effects of Propecia include decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and decreased ejaculate volume.
Spironolactone is a medication that has been used off-label to treat female pattern hair loss caused by androgenic alopecia. Spironolactone works by blocking androgen receptors, which helps protect hair follicles from the androgens. It is now the most commonly prescribed antiandrogen treatment for female pattern hair loss in the United States. However, it is important to note that spironolactone has not been approved by the FDA for the treatment of hair loss, and its use for this purpose is considered off-label 4. Additionally, spironolactone can have side effects, including dizziness, fatigue, and irregular menstrual periods
5. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT),
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a treatment that uses low-power lasers or light-emitting diodes to stimulate hair growth. According to a 2013 study, LLLT appeared to be safe and effective for hair growth in both men and women. It is important to note that LLLT should only be used under the supervision of a healthcare professional and according to their instructions as LLLT can cause side effects, including skin irritation and redness. There are many brands of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) devices on the market. Some popular brands include HairMax, Capillus, iRestore, and Theradome. These devices use low-power lasers or light-emitting diodes to stimulate hair growth and are available for purchase online and in some retail stores.
6. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)-
PRP / PDO therapy involves injecting a concentrated solution of the patient's own platelets into the scalp. The platelets contain growth factors that can stimulate hair growth and improve hair thickness and density. While some studies have shown promising results with PRP therapy for androgenetic alopecia, more research is needed to determine its effectiveness .
7. Vitamins for hair loss-
- Biotin: A B-vitamin that is important for hair growth and overall scalp health. Some studies suggest that biotin supplements may help improve hair growth in people with biotin deficiencies.
- Vitamin D: Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to hair loss, and some studies suggest that taking vitamin D supplements may help improve hair growth.
- Iron: Iron deficiency is a common cause of hair loss, particularly in women. Taking iron supplements may help improve hair growth in people with iron deficiencies.
- Zinc: Zinc is important for overall hair health, and some studies suggest that taking zinc supplements may help improve hair growth in people with zinc deficiencies.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are important for overall health, and some studies suggest that taking omega-3 supplements may help improve hair density and reduce hair loss.
Nutrafol is a brand that offers hair growth supplements. These supplements are designed to relieve mild or moderate hair thinning due to age, stress, or genetics. The company uses only natural botanicals in its 100% drug-free supplements. Nutrafol aims to restore hair growth by naturally rebalancing stress and androgen hormones, neutralizing free radicals, and combating inflammatory molecules that alter hair growth signaling. The ingredients in Nutrafol include biotin, saw palmetto, ashwagandha, curcumin, and marine collagen, among others. While there are some positive reviews of Nutrafol, it is important to note that the effectiveness of this supplement has not been extensively studied in clinical trials.
8. Hair transplant surgery-
Hair Transplant surgery involves taking hair follicles from a donor area of the scalp (usually the back or sides) and transplanting them to the balding areas. This can be an effective option for people with advanced hair loss who have sufficient donor hair available. We will discuss this in detail in our next blog soon.
It is very important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause of hair loss and the most appropriate treatment plan. Excel Medicine can help you diagnose the cause of hair loss along with giving you all the options of medical therapies for hair loss. Most of the times we need to use multiple modalities to get better results.