There are mainly two FDA approved medications that are used to prevent hair loss.
Propecia is a drug that acts by preventing the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone by preventing an enzyme called 5 alpha reductase. It is taken orally as a 1mg pill. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that it slows down hair loss and stops miniaturisation. The consensus among the medical community is to use 1mg every day. However I do believe that there is room for manipulation with the dose. The average serum half-life of Propecia is 5-8 hours. There is evidence that 1mg Propecia suppresses serum DHT for 7 days – hence the effects of Propecia should last more than 24 hours. Whilst prescribing Propecia, the advice I give my patients is that based on the evidence, the molecule could be equally effective if taken every alternate day.
Minoxidil is a topical solution used for the prevention of hair loss. It acts by increasing the blood supply to the scalp. It is applied topically twice a day. It comes in strengths of 2% and 5%. There are stronger versions of Minoxidil which the manufacturer claims can be used once a day.
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, could prove to be beneficial to those experiencing topical hair loss.
Propecia is an oral medication manufactured by Merck. 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 which 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 than 30% showed moderate improvement and 5% showed significant improvement in hair quality. However only 4% of men showed moderate improvement to the hair in the front. Also, hair counts were increased mostly in the crown.
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Could something as basic as hair loss nutrition really contribute to excess shedding of hair? Does nutrition have an important role to play in helping hair to regrow?
Modern diets can be blamed for a number of nutritional deficiencies that may contribute to hair loss.
These nutritional inadequacies affect all aspects of health and well-being but do they have any relevance to hair loss specifically?
The answer is yes - poor nutrition can cause hair loss because the body will ration out nutrients in the order of vital organs first, and hair last. Improved nutrition will not result in new hair growth, but it will minimize shedding and support other treatments that encourage regrowth.
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Here are a few steps that can help prevent hair loss.
Just thought I would give a breif summary of my recent FUE with Dr Raghu Reddy and his excellent team at the Private Clinic, London. Over the course of two days I had ~2000 grafts implanted by Dr Reddy's 3G FUE technique. I chose Dr Reddy based on his comparative amazing yields and results with relatively few grafts compared to the commonly discussed other 'top FUE surgeons". First off his team are all pro's and have been working together for years to refine this minimally invasive FUE technique. They were personably, relaxed, funny, and above all caring, profession, and meticulous. I always read that people get experience pain, discomfort, and swelling during and post op. I have to say that with Dr Reddy's technique I have experienced zero pain or swelling both during and post op. The operation finished yesterday and I feel absolutely normal. Not a spot of swelling or even a head ache. It's obvious after doing research on the FUE procedures conducted by the regarded 'best FUE doctors', that Dr Reddy's 3G FUE stands out as being both innovative and geared towards optimal results. He uses specialized techniques to create an extremely non invasive yet high yielding technique, which I am sure he would be more than willing to discuss with anyone interested. In regards to my case, I apparently had really strong, healthy, and "big" grafts (so lots with 3 and 4 hairs). We chose a hairline hat reflects my age (31) and the fact that I have never had sharp temple points. Plus I was strongly advised against having points worked on as many cases are seen where transplanting to this region looks very odd in years to come where further recession occurs. Plus I have a big head so had lots of baldy to cover I am very happy with my results thus far and I am predicted to have a great result due to graft condition and density. One thing worth mentioning is that is became obvious that Dr Reddy's skills are not only recognized by international patients (there was talk of people coming in from all over the world during my visit), but also he is held in high esteem by the other 'best' FUE surgeons discussed on this site, and from what I gathered some of these surgeons .Hairloss Patient in UK
"I have just taken a poor photo of myself for you! Don't forget I only had 100 hairs on my head before you came along! It's not a great pic but it will give you an idea of how happy you have made me! "Neil B in UK