This drug was initially introduced as an oral medication for hypertension. It was observed that it produced hypertrichosis (excessive hair). A topical solution was prepared which could achieve similar benefits.
Minoxidil is applied to the scalp is used to stimulate hair growth in adult men and women with a certain type of baldness. Despite much research over 20 years we still have only a limited understanding of how minoxidil stimulates hair growth. It tends to prolong the growth phase of the hair follicle and thereby reduces hair fall.
A 5% solution of minoxidil is available and clinical investigators have reported it to be considerably more effective than the 2% solution in halting hair loss and stimulating new hair growth in both men and women. At all formulations, women have been shown to have a better response than men to topical minoxidil.
- Redness, Irritation and Itching at the site of application
- Unusual hair growth, on the face, arm, and back
Males: 2% and 5% can be used on twice daily basis 1ml in the morning and 1ml in the evening.
Females: Only 2% is approved for use in females and it has to be used similarly on twice daily basis 1ml in the morning and 1ml in the evening.
Finasteride: Finasteride belongs to the group of medicines called enzyme inhibitors. Finasteride works at the molecular level to halt hair loss and stimulate new hair growth. It is a medication that selectively inhibits the activity of an enzyme that converts the “male hormone” testosterone into a form that is active in hair follicles. Testosterone is the most potent of the androgenic hormones. Its actions on hair follicles, skin and prostate tissue is not direct however; these tissues are responsive to a form of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT); testosterone is converted to DHT by the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. Finasteride acts by inhibiting the action of 5-alpha-reductase and thus inhibiting the conversion of testosterone into DHT.
Following the lead of finasteride’s effectiveness in treating benign prostate enlargement, investigators studied its use in treating MPHL. These studies confirmed that at a dose of 1 milligram per day, finasteride is effective in treating MPHL in some but not all men. The 5-year study showed that 9 out of 10 men treated with finasteride either had gained or at least had not lost hair.
It is important to note that Finasteride for treatment of hair loss should be prescribed only after examination by a doctor/ hair restoration specialist. Finasteride is not approved the use in women, and particularly in women who are pregnant or who become pregnant. The drug has potential for interfering with sexual development of a fetus.