Over the last few years, medicine has certainly made tremendous strides in the treatment of men’s baldness. With the advent of 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors and the evolution of surgical hair restoration, for many, living with visible hair loss is no longer inevitable.
For the very first time in the history of human beings, it is now possible to stop or slow the development of hair loss and to replace lost hair through surgery with completely natural results. However, keeping that said, the vast majority of hair loss treatments being marketed today are still nothing but “snake oils.”
You’ve all noticed the ads in the back of men’s magazines, you’ve heard the commercials on the radio and you’ve seen the infomercials promoting miracle treatments for hair loss. The bottom line is that the vast majority of advertised “treatments” do not work for the prevention and treatment of baldness. Assuming that a hair loss treatment is not approved by the FDA or recommended by The American Hair Loss Association, odds are you are wasting your precious resource.
Remember, successful treatment of hair loss is greatly dependent on early intervention. It is critical to begin treatment with a reliable product as soon as you notice the onset of hair loss. The following two treatments have been clinically proven to effectively treat hair loss in men to varying degrees.
1. Finasteride, Proscar/Propecia
Finasteride is the common name for the brand drugs Proscar and Propecia. Finasteride was originally established by Merck as a drug to treat enlarged prostate glands (Proscar). During the trials on men with prostate problems an intriguing side effect of hair growth was recognized.
Since finasteride had already been approved by the FDA to treat enlarged prostates in men, Merck and Company figured out to pursue the possibility of developing finasteride as the first pill to treat male pattern hair loss.
On December 22, 1997 the FDA approved a 1mg dose of finasteride for the treatment of androgenic alopecia in men (male pattern hair loss). Propecia is actually the first drug in history to successfully treat male pattern hair loss in the vast majority of men who use it.
How Propecia/Finasteride Works:
Finasteride’s hair-raising success is because of its ability to specifically inhibit Type II 5-alpha-reductace, the enzyme that transforms testosterone into a more potent androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Propecia’s 1 mg dose of finasteride can effectively lower DHT levels by as much as 60% when taken daily.
It is DHT that shrinks or miniaturizes the hair follicle, which eventually results in baldness. This 60% reduction in DHT has proven to prevent the progression of hair loss in 86% of men taking the drug during clinical trials. 65% of trial participants experienced precisely what was regarded a considerable increase in hair growth.
At this point, the only truly effective medically proven way to seize the hair loss process is to lower DHT levels. The United States Hair Loss Association recommends finasteride as the first line of attack for all men attracted to treating their male pattern hair loss. While Propecia is typically well endured, several side effects may happen:
– loss of interest in sex;
– trouble having an orgasm;
– abnormal ejaculation;
– swelling in your hands or feet;
– swelling or tenderness in your breasts;
– feeling like you might pass out;
– runny nose; or
– skin rash.
The sexual side effects of Propecia may continue after you stop taking it. Consult your doctor whenever you have worries about these side effects. Propecia may also cause decrease in blood prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels, and can affect the PSA blood test.
2. Minoxidil (loniten)
Minoxidil (loniten) was the first medicine approved by the FDA for the treatment of male pattern hair loss. For years, minoxidil, in pill form, was widely used to treat high blood pressure. Similar to finasteride researchers uncovered a very fascinating side effect of the medicine. People taking the drug were growing hair in unexpected places as if on their cheeks and the back of their hands, some even grew hair on their foreheads.
Some enterprising researchers had the notion that applying minoxidil topically, such as Rogaine, directly on the head, could grow hair on hair thinning areas. Well it accomplished this to varying degrees depending upon the extent of the baldness. For it’s time, this treatment was revolutionary.
While minoxidil has been clinically proven to slow the development of hair loss and regrow some hair, most informed experts experience it as a relatively marginally effective drug in the fight against baldness. Ever since minoxidil has absolutely no impact on the hormonal process of hair loss its positive effects are at best temporary and typically yield somewhat unsatisfying long-term results.
With that said, The American Hair Loss Association still suggests the drug for those who have certainly not responded favorably to finasteride treatment or for those who would love to add in another product to their regimen. The AHLA does not recommend minoxidil as the first line of attack for men suffering with male pattern baldness, but does acknowledge it as an effective treatment for a small percentage of its consumers.
Click here for our recommended natural hair loss treatment.
Hair loss – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hair loss: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
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