They are various and can be used alone or in combination. We are going to talk about the most used and effective anti-alopecia drugs. But remember that its use must always be indicated by a specialist.
The causes of alopecia are multiple. For this reason there are also different anti-hair loss treatments and expert techniques to tackle the problem in both men and women.
Minoxidil, Finasteride and Dutasteride are the star drugs to stop excessive hair loss that can be used before hair grafting , when alopecia is not yet too advanced.
Minoxidil: the best known of the drugs against alopecia
It is one of the anti-alopecia drugs that works by stimulating hair growth and slowing down hair loss.
There is a curious anecdote about the use of Minoxidil as a medicine against alopecia. Originally, this drug was not born to be used against hair loss. In the beginning it was used in patients with high blood pressure. It was administered orally and had a vasodilator effect.
Patients with this treatment soon began to report a circumstance to their doctors: their hair was growing.
The success of Minoxidil
This side effect that appeared by chance turned Minoxidil into one of the most effective anti-alopecia drugs that exist to date.
To avoid misleading, Minoxidil does not grow new hair. Actually, its action is exerted on hair follicles that are weak and damaged. It revitalizes them, reinforces them and thus manages to stop the fall that, otherwise, would have been inevitable.
These results are due to the vasodilator effect of Minoxidil (the one for which it was administered to hypertensive patients). By improving blood flow, nutrients better reach the hair follicles. In this way, they are better nourished and revitalized. Better stimulated, the hairs are thicker and have greater density. Therefore, at first glance, it may appear that there is new hair, although in reality it is not. It is actually the hair that was there before, but in perfect health.
Originally as a drug for hypertension, Minoxidil was administered orally. However, for alopecia it is used in solution (2 and 5%). The lotion (it can be a spray, gel or foam ) should normally be applied at night, on dry hair, and gently massaging the scalp to promote its penetration. Sometimes, the specialist may recommend that it be applied twice a day, depending on the case.
It can be used in men and women (in different concentrations) and is most effective in young people with recent hair loss. Studies that place its effectiveness in a wide range of between 15 and 60%.
Minoxidil is most effective in the upper area of the head and on the crown , but its action is less in the frontal line and in the entrances.
The Finasteride is a non – hormonal anti – androgen drug derived from steroids used to treat patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland). However, in doses five times lower, it is also prescribed to prevent hair loss.
Based on the active substance finasteride, this drug works by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase. This is an enzyme that is responsible for hair loss, because it is responsible for converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (that is, the genetic trigger for androgenetic alopecia). In doing so, the atrophy of the follicle is stopped and its size is restored. And in this way hair loss is interrupted.
With this anti-hair loss indication, this drug has been used regularly since 1997. Finasteride is taken as 1 mg tablets (one a day) as a lifetime treatment. And its effectiveness has been proven to the point of calculating that it slows the fall in more than 80% of cases.
Finasteride is only effective in patients with mild or moderate loss and its main action occurs in the upper part of the head (central area and crown). Therefore, for patients with hair loss in other areas such as the front line or the entrances, it is usual for the specialist to advise combining its action with that of other drugs, such as Minoxidil.
In this review of the most effective anti-alopecia drugs, it is important to mention that the efficacy of Finasteride in women is not recommended due to the risk of malformations during pregnancy.
Like Finasteride, Dutasteride or Dutasteride is another drug that is within the family of antiandrogens. It also acts as an inhibitor of the 5 alpha reductase enzyme. Remember that it is responsible for transforming testosterone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which causes androgenetic baldness.
For those wondering how the two drugs differ, we explain. Finasteride inhibits type II of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. For its part, Dutasteride , in addition to type II, also manages to inhibit type I of the enzyme. That is why many specialists consider that this drug is even more effective in stopping hair loss. In addition, the response time is also shorter.
Dutasteride favors the thickening of the follicular units. Being stronger and thicker, hair stops falling out and looks thicker and healthier.
Treatment with Dutasteride is usually applied in injectable solution by the surgeon, with the technique of capillary mesotherapy (microinjections).