Dermatologist Says FDA-Approved Drug May Prevent Hair Loss in Men

A medicine normally used to treat high blood pressure can help patients with Male androgenetic alopecia (MAA), says the dermatologist.

Male androgenetic alopecia (MAA) is one of the most common forms of male hair loss, affecting 30-50% of men by age 50.

MAA occurs in a highly reproducible pattern, preferentially affecting the temples, vertex, and mid-frontal scalp. Although AMA is often considered a relatively minor skin condition, hair loss takes a toll on self-image and is a big cause of anxiety and depression in some men.

A number of reviews have shown the effectiveness of minoxidil and increased hair regrowth.

Minoxidil was originally on the market as a blood pressure medication.

However, it quickly became an open secret that the drug stimulated hair growth, and a letter from the New England Journal of Medicine made these claims scientific.

Anthony Chu, professor of dermatology at Buckingham University, consulting dermatologist and honorary lecturer at Imperial College London, explains that before minoxidil, bald men were willing to do anything to regrow their hair.

He added:

Studies have shown that 40% of men who use minoxidil achieve reasonable hair growth, and in 40% the drug prevents them from losing more hair.

In a study published in the National Library of Health, the use of minoxidil for hair loss was investigated.

The study noted:

While many men choose not to take treatment, topical minoxidil is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (USA) for the treatment of MAA.

The drug prevents further hair loss, but only partially reverses baldness and requires continued use to maintain the effect.

Topical minoxidil is well tolerated as a 5% solution.

Minor side effects include itchy scalp, dandruff, and erythema.

Topical minoxidil and finasteride (5 alpha reductase type II inhibitor) are the only FDA approved treatments for AMA.

Both agents stop the progression of hair loss and stimulate partial hair regrowth.

In another study, the effects of minoxidil in helping to increase hair regrowth were investigated.

In the one-year observational study, 62% of 984 men using 5% minoxidil reported reduced hair loss.

As for hair regrowth, the drug was rated “very effective” in 16 percent of participants, “effective” in 48 percent, “moderately effective” in 21 percent and “ineffective” in 16 percent.

Image Credit: iStock

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