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Can Doctors Prescribe Medication For Hair Loss

Medical Treatments For Balding In Men

Are Your Prescription Medications Causing Hair Loss?| Hair Loss Treatment for Men & Women

DEAN THOMAS SCOW, M.D., ROBERT S. NOLTE, D.O., and ALLEN F. SHAUGHNESSY, PHARM.D., Harrisburg Family Practice Residency, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Am Fam Physician. 1999 Apr 15 59:2189-2194.

See related patient information handout on male pattern baldness, written by the authors of this article.

Two drugs are available for the treatment of balding in men. Minoxidil, a topical product, is available without a prescription in two strengths. Finasteride is a prescription drug taken orally once daily. Both agents are modestly effective in maintaining hair that is lost as a result of androgenic alopecia. The vertex of the scalp is the area that is most likely to respond to treatment, with little or no hair regrowth occurring on the anterior scalp or at the hairline. Side effects of these medications are minimal, making them suitable treatments for this benign but psychologically disruptive condition.

Hair plays a large role in defining one’s self-image. From the snake oils of the past to high-tech microsurgical hair plugs, men have been willing to try almost anything and to spend large amounts of money in search of a cure for male pattern baldness.

Take Folic Acid To Help Prevent Hair Loss From Methotrexate

Methotrexate also affects the absorption of the B vitamin folic acid, or folate in its natural form, which impacts cell division as well as hair growth. Patients on methotrexate should be taking folic acid at the same time to help mitigate methotrexate side effects, such as nausea. We can increase the folic acid dose if hair loss is occurring, says Dr. Domingues. Your doctor may also recommend a different version of folic acid called folinic acid, which is available by prescription. Its a little stronger, says Dr. Domingues.

I have had hair loss directly as a result of taking methotrexate the hair loss was immediate but I added extra folic acid and biotin , and those helped, Christina A. told us. Studies have shown taking folic acid doesnt alter the effectiveness of MTX.

What Can You Do About Hair Loss

Hair loss caused by hormonal changes, like pregnancy or menopause, or stress may not require any treatment. Instead, the loss will likely stop on its own after the body adjusts.

Nutrient deficiencies can usually be addressed through changes in diet, the use of supplements, and the guidance of a doctor or registered dietitian. The guidance of a doctor is necessary if the deficiency is caused by an underlying medical condition.

Any medical conditions that lead to hair loss should be treated directly to address the full condition, not just its symptoms.

That said, there are a number of possible medications and treatments for hair loss caused by female pattern baldness and other alopecias. You may need to use one or a combination of treatments for months or years to see the full results.

Also Check: What To Eat For Thinning Hair

How To Stop Thinning Hair: Hair Loss Treatment For Women

Medications are the most common treatment for hair loss in women. They include the following:

Minoxidil . This drug was initially introduced as a treatment for high blood pressure, but people who took it noticed that they were growing hair in places where they had lost it. Research studies confirmed that minoxidil applied directly to the scalp could stimulate hair growth. As a result of the studies, the FDA originally approved over-the-counter 2% minoxidil to treat hair loss in women. Since then a 5% solution has also become available when a stronger solution is need for a woman’s hair loss.

Clearly, minoxidil is not a miracle drug. While it can produce some new growth of fine hair in some not all women, it can’t restore the full density of the lost hair. It’s not a quick fix, either for hair loss in women . You won’t see results until you use the drug for at least two months. The effect often peaks at around four months, but it could take longer, so plan on a trial of six to 12 months. If minoxidil works for you, you’ll need to keep using it to maintain those results. If you stop, you’ll start to lose hair again.

Some women find that the minoxidil solution leaves a deposit that dries and irritates their scalp. This irritation, called contact dermatitis, is probably caused not by the minoxidil itself, but rather by the alcohol that is included to facilitate drying.

Other Hair Loss Treatments

Hair Loss due to Medication
  • Steroid injection – injections given into bald patches
  • Steroid creams – cream applied to bald patches
  • Immunotherapy – chemical applied to bald patches
  • Light treatment – shining ultraviolet light on bald patches
  • Tattooing – tattoo used to look like short hair and eyebrows
  • Hair transplant – hair cells are moved to thinning patches
  • Scalp reduction surgery – sections of scalp with hair are stretched and stitched together
  • Artificial hair transplant – surgery to implant artificial hairs

Recommended Reading: How To Fix Thinning Hair Naturally

Complications Of Hair Transplantation Surgery

Complications of hair transplant surgery can include:

  • Infection this can occur because the skin is broken to perform the procedure. It can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Bleeding this is usually controlled through careful post-operative care.
  • Scarring this may occur at the site of removal of the donor follicles.
  • Temporary, operation-induced hair loss known as telogen effluvium, can occur with hair transplantation, as well as some other operations. It occurs in approximately five per cent of people.
  • Unacceptable cosmetic results scarring and poor cosmetic results are more common when hair transplants are carried out by inexperienced practitioners.

Many hair clinics offer hair transplantation. Specialist dermatologists are best qualified to properly advise about this surgery and have the most knowledge about hair in health and disease.

Introducing: Minoxidil & Finasteride

Hair loss is a complex issue caused by a variety of lifestyle, medical and genetic factors. In some cases, prescription treatments for hair loss can stimulate growth. There are two FDA-approved treatments in the United States for hair loss: Minoxidil and Finasteride. Both solutions have pros and cons and aren’t suitable or safe for everyone. First, consult with your doctor to see if you are a candidate for hair loss medication.

Also Check: How Much Biotin Should I Take For Thinning Hair

Patterns Of Female Hair Loss

Clinicians use the Ludwig Classification to describe female pattern hair loss. Type I is minimal thinning that can be camouflaged with hair styling techniques. Type II is characterized by decreased volume and noticeable widening of the mid-line part. Type III describes diffuse thinning, with a see-through appearance on the top of the scalp.

What Are The Risks Of Not Using These Medicines

Unboxing Traya’s Customized Hair loss Treatment | Doctor prescribed hair loss treatment at home

There are no risks to your health if you decide not to use medicine for hair loss. But some people may be bothered by hair loss that they feel has affected their appearance.

If you don’t use medicine, your hair loss will probably continue. But medicine doesn’t always work, and hair loss may continue despite treatment with medicine.

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Why Consider Prescription Hair Loss Treatments

Prescription treatments for hair loss can boost confidence, self-esteem and stimulate hair growth. Many women are reticent to take Minoxidil because of its association as a men’s solution to hair loss. However, it’s an especially effective solution for women with Female Pattern Hair Loss . Depending on your age, hair loss condition and receptiveness to other treatment options, prescription hair loss treatments have the potential to stimulate regrowth.

How Homeopathy Can Treat Hair Loss

Hair growth is a natural process that can also take place with assisted treatments. There are quite a few solutions and treatments available. Quite a lot of these are fads while some can be genuine. Homeopathy is an option which is effective for regrowth of hair and curing baldness. This is often the last stop of treatment for people who have failed at restoring their previous state of hair. These are a few well known remedies that homeopathy prescribes for baldness.

  • Silicea: It is very commonly used and is processed from sandstones and human tissues. It strengthens the hair and reduces dryness by giving essential nourishment to the hair follicles. It is a very good growth enhancer.
  • Kalium Carbonicum: It is made from compounds which the Egyptians used in glass preparation and is another effective homeopathic medicine. It stops the thinning of hair and reduces its brittleness as well. This in turn increases hair growth.
  • Lycopodium: Premature baldness shows a dramatically marked response on the use of this miracle homeopathic drug. Women suffering from post-partum hair loss also benefit a lot from using Lycopodium. It is formed from the distillation of evergreen plant spores, such as club moss.
  • Also Check: How Many Chemo Treatments Before Hair Loss

    What Do Doctors Prescribe For Hair Loss

    Everybody loses hair, however, if the thinning of hair or a bald patch is observed, the person might be experiencing hair loss. There are numerous treatments related to hair loss, but doctors often prescribe finasteride because it is FDA approved. Finasteride is an oral prescription recommended for men, but sometimes doctors use this medication for women. The risk of taking the drugs for women is really high, pregnant women or women who are of childbearing age are not supposed to take or touch the drug for fear of birth defects for their unborn child/ren.


    Finasteride is a medication that should be used by male adults only. The medication works by reducing the amount of a natural body hormone . By decreasing the DHT, there is an increased hair growth and slower hair loss.

    This medication is often taken once daily, or as prescribed by the doctor. To maintain a booming hair growth, the drug should be taken continuously otherwise, a stop in the dosage might cause any hair gain to be lost within 12months.

    However, for men who are above 60, finasteride might not work well for them.


    There are lots of ads in the magazines and various commercials on the radio promoting either one hair loss treatment or the other, but the truth is, most of them do not have any positive effect on hair loss. If the medication is not FDA approved, do not waste your money on its purchase.


    Doses Of Oral Minoxidil

    Hair loss drugs

    Minoxidil is available in 2.5mg, 5mg and 10mg tablets. We use the Loniten brand . A common starting dose is 0.625mg per day for women and 1.25mg per day for men. You should get a tablet cutter from your pharmacy and cut a 2.5mg tablet into quarters or halves to get this dose.

    The optimum dose for hair loss is not entirely clear. It may be in the region of 0.625mg to 2.5 mg per day. For men, a slightly higher dose may sometimes be required. You may be asked to take the medication daily or every other day.

    Doses of minoxidil for hair loss are considered low dose. This is because the doses uses for hair loss are a lot lower than the doses which are used for conditions such as hypertension. The doses used for hypertension are 10-40mg per day.

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    How To Treat Hair Loss

    If your hair loss is causing you distress, there are a number of treatments available.

    Medicines for hair loss focus on retaining the hair you have and slow hair loss, rather than increasing the amount of hair you have. These treatments are not available on the NHS, though they are available from pharmacies or via a private prescription service, such as Prescription Doctor.

    Before taking any medicine for hair loss, it’s important to speak to your doctor to ensure it’s suitable for you.

    If medicines aren’t suitable, there are other ways of treating the appearance of hair loss for both men and women.

    How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Hair Loss

    Because so many things can cause hair loss, a dermatologist acts like a detective and begins by asking questions. The dermatologist will want to know whether your hair loss happened suddenly or gradually. Knowing this helps to determine the cause.

    A dermatologist also will ask what medicines you take, what allergies you have, and whether you have been dieting. It is important to give the dermatologist accurate information. Like a murder mystery, the slightest clue can solve the case. Women may be asked about their menstrual cycles, pregnancies, and menopause.

    The dermatologist also will carefully look at your scalp and hair. During an exam, the dermatologist may pull on your hair. Sometimes a dermatologist needs to pull out a hair to get the necessary evidence. And sometimes a dermatologist needs to look at the hair on the rest of your body to see whether there is too little or too much hair in other areas.

    Sometimes the evidence lies in your scalp. The dermatologist may remove a small piece of the scalp. This is called a scalp biopsy. A dermatologist can quickly and safely perform a scalp biopsy during an office visit. A scalp biopsy can be essential to solving the case. Sometimes, a blood test is necessary.

    Because so many things can cause hair loss, it can take time to find the cause.

    Read Also: How To Handle Hair Loss

    To Bald Or Not To Bald

    We like to mull this question over. But if you think a full head of hair will contribute to your overall quality of life, then itâs good to be decisive. Start with an online consultation to qualify for Health Canada authorized hair loss treatment.

    Learn more about finasteride and the important safety information.

    • Male pattern baldness?Also known as âandrogenic alopecia,â it appears in the form of a receding hairline, complemented by progressive thinning at the crown of the head.
    • More than just genesGenetics, along with the DHT hormone, is believed to affect how sensitive hair follicles are, which makes them shrink, leading to thinning hair.
    • Youâve got options!Aside from simply accepting hair loss âa perfectly good choice, we might add! Felix offers doctor prescribed treatments tailored to you.
    • One pill at a timeThe treatment we offer is a daily pill that functions by preventing the conversion of testosterone to DHT in various tissues, including the scalp, to lessen hair loss.

    Ways To Head Off Hair Loss

    3 Guaranteed Ways To Stop Hair Loss | Time-Tested & Proven Hair Loss Treatment | Dr. Sajjad Khan

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    The more you know about hair loss as a possible side effect of prescription medications for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, migraine, high blood pressure, and multiple sclerosis, the more you can take steps to prepare for or mitigate it.

  • Educate yourself. Find out a prescription’s side effects profile to determine the incidence of hair loss. Ask your neurologist how a diagnosis, treatment, medication, procedure, or therapy may affect your hair. Will it change the thickness or texture? Will it make it fall out? Kelly Baker, an epilepsy patient, started losing her hair soon after she was prescribed antiseizure medication. Her doctor expressed little surprise, and she wished he had mentioned it as a possible side effect. “I was totally unprepared,” she says. After her doctor adjusted the dose, her hair stopped falling out.
  • Report hair loss. Talk to your prescribing doctor as soon as you notice signs of hair changes, says Patricia A. Gibson, MSSW, associate professor in the neurology department of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. “Many patients don’t mention hair loss to their doctors because they don’t think it’s related to medication, and doctors don’t always ask about it.”
  • Eat a balanced diet. Protein is crucial, says Dr. Khetarpal, who advises consuming one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. For a 150-pound person, that translates into 68 grams of protein daily.
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