Medical treatments to stop or slow down hair loss are effective, but they have their limitations. Propecia and Rogaine are the only medications that are FDA-approved to treat hair loss although there are some supplements that may also be of benefit.
- Rogaine, or minoxidil, was originally a medication designed to treat high blood pressure, but it was found to grow hair in some individuals. It is a topical product that must be applied to the scalp twice a day in order to be effective. It is more effective in the crown area than on other parts of the scalp and it must be used continuously, for a lifetime, or the hair that Rogaine was saving will be lost.
- Propecia is a pill that must be taken daily, and it also must be taken forever. Like Rogaine, Propecia is more effective on the crown and it is very effective in stopping hair loss on the crown in most men. In fact, the hair on some men may actually become thicker. Propecia acts by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to DHT, thus decreasing the amount of DHT in the bloodstream.
How effective are these drugs?
Propecia is effective in slowing down hair loss in the crown in ninety percent of men, and in sixty-five percent of men studied, the hair in the crown actually appeared thicker. The individual response to both Rogaine and Propecia varies. Both medications are most effective when started early, ideally at the first sign of hair loss as neither medication will grow hair where there is none.
It is important to consult with a physician in order to completely understand the risks and benefits of these medications. Although both drugs are considered very safe, there are potential side effects that need to be discussed with your physician. If you meet with Dr. Siporin, he will review all the pertinent data and together you will determine if these medications are right for you.