There have been several types of treatment suggested for loss of hair since the early history of the human race.
These include the use of herbs, oils, ashes, electric shocks, massage, laser, wigs, etc. However, the results obtained have never been satisfactory. The basis of the medical treatment consists of reducing the DHT (dihydrotestosterone) and that of the androgenetic receptors against the effects of DHT.
Normally, the benefits obtained are by means of reducing the speed that baldness spreads, and they become apparent only after six to eight months of continual medication. So far there is no short term medical treatment available.
In order to achieve good results, patients will therefore require treatment continually between the ages of 20 and 50 years and eventually suffering the consequences of constantly taking medication.
In spite of there being numerous medicines on the market, Dr. Cruz Dinis suggests only two that are felt to be more common and have some effect, namely:
This is a powerful inhibitor of type II 5-alpha reductase, and was approved in 1997 by the FDA for the treatment of Androgenetic Alopecia under the name of Propecia®. It acts by blocking the conversion of testosterone into DHT. During the first stage of testing with 933 men aged between 18 and 41 with slight to moderate balding, they were divided into groups who randomly received a 1-mg daily dose of Finasteride or a placebo (inactive pill) over one year. Standardised photographs taken after the year revealed that loss of hair in 1% of the men tested had spread.
In 51% of them the baldness had stabilised, without increasing.
In 48% there was a reversal of the miniaturisation process and an increase in the density of the hair follicles.
The same analysis was carried out two years later, with 60% of the men showing improvements in the volume and number of hairs, and in 88% the balding process had stabilised although it had spread previously. The reaction of Finasteride can be observed after six to eight months of a daily 1-mg treatment.
Finasteride is a good remedy for individuals who are in the early stages of adrogenetic alopecia, however, if alopecia already exists in any area it is extremely difficult to solve the problem with this medication alone.
- Monoxidil 5%
Some patients who are treated with Minoxidil orally suffered from the side effect of body hair growth, leading the scientists to believe that topical use of the product could cause hair to grow.
Initially, the recommended dosage was 2% and it was to be massaged into the scalp twice daily non-stop to avoid losing any of the benefits by interrupting the treatment.
After years of testing, a consensus was reached that less than 15% of men treated wih Minoxidil 2% obtained slight increases in scalp hair quantity, but without apparent improvement in hair appearance.
Currently, Minoxidil 5% is used but it is not felt that its use on its own produces great benefits for androgenetic alopecia.
The use of laser with low intensity has been proved that it can be a good solution for some cases of hair loss.
Hair growth stimulation drugs