Hair Loss Medications
Guide to Hair Loss Medicines in Singapore
What Is Finasteride (Propecia)?
Finasteride is a synthetic drug designed for the treatment of both male-pattern baldness and prostate gland enlargement.
It inhibits the active form of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone, which is responsible for hair growth and male sexual development, amongst others.
Interestingly, excessive dihydrotestosterone leads to the reduced growth and size of hair follicles.
Finasteride may, therefore, be used to treat male-pattern baldness in patients experiencing an overproduction of testosterone and its active form.
Similar to Minoxidil, Finasteride is the main active ingredient in many popular treatment brands such as Propecia and Proscar.
How to take Finasteride?
This is where Finasteride differs greatly from Minoxidil. Finasteride Is generally administered in an oral form and is a prescription or not an over-the-counter medication.
What is the Proper Usage
Finasteride is often prescribed in a 1mg tablet form to be consumed once a day at any time. However, it is generally recommended that users make a habit of consuming the tablet at a given time of day to reduce the chance of forgetting to do so.
Similar to Minoxidil, do not compensate for a missed dosage and simply skip it.
What are the Side-Effects of Finasteride?
There are a number of side and unwanted effects associated with Finasteride use. However, in very rare and severe occurrences, one may experience:
- Decreased sex drive
- Reduced sexual performance
- Breast tenderness
What’s the results of Finasteride?
It is important to know that the results of both drugs are not instantaneous. Do not be discouraged should you not see hair growth after a few treatment cycles.
The treatment may take up to three months or more before new hair growth is observed.
It is not common for users to take up to a year of continued treatment before satisfactory results are observed.
What Is Minoxidil?
Originally intended as treatment for hypertension, Minoxidil was observed to cause increased hair growth in users and discovered as a potent hair growth agent.
Today, Minoxidil is solely used to treat hair loss.
Minoxidil is a non-prescription treatment for androgenic alopecia, or male-pattern baldness.
Popular treatment brands or products use Minoxidil as the main active ingredient, including Rogaine, Loniten, Regain, and Tugain.
How do I Apply Minoxidil?
There are various ways of administrating the drug, Minoxidil. Loniten is administered orally while Rogaine is administered in a foam or solution form.
Male-pattern baldness affects approximately 70% of men and 30% of women. Minoxidil is often administered in the same dosage for both genders.
For example, Rogaine comes in 2% and 5% dosages, with the latter used for more severe cases or if greater effectiveness is desired.
Topically applied or solution-form Minoxidil stimulates hair growth and slows down the balding process by invigorating and increasing the size of the hair follicles at the applied areas. This helps to ensure thicker hair growth.
Upon application, some people experience more hair loss and dropping. However, this is nothing to worry about. Old hair often drops off to make way for newer, thicker hair.
What’s the Proper Usage of Minoxidil?
Prior to applying Minoxidil, ensure that your head and hair are dry.
Apply the prescribed amount twice a day on the bald area of your scalp, starting from the centre of the area while taking care to avoid clothing as Minoxidil may cause stubborn stains.
Side-effects of Minoxidil
Minoxidil is a safe and FDA-approved medication. Side and unwanted effects are generally rare. In an unfortunate event of such occurrences, one may experience the following at the treated area:
- Reddened skin and,
- Allergic reactions
Spironolactone (for Women only)
Spironolactone is a commonly used medication to treat heart failure and high blood pressure.
One of the effects of spironolactone is that it blocks androgen receptors, the same receptors that DHT acts on. Because of the importance of androgen receptors in men, spironolactone is used to treat female pattern hair loss only.
Spironolactone is prescribed as a daily dosage and blood tests have to be done to monitor treatment.
Spironolactone treatment for hair loss should be closely monitored by a physician experienced in treating hair loss conditions.
Cortisteroids (for Alopecia Areata)
Corticosteroid injection blocks the body’s abnormal immune response, which responsible for alopecia areata, a condition that results in patches of complete baldness.
This medication involves a direct injection into the patch of baldness once a month until hair regrows.