There are two major medications that are FDA (US Food & Drug Administration) approved. Both underwent double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical tests and these are the only two that have earned the FDA seal of approval. Yet, many products out there promise great hair restoration results, but few have ever been tested in clinical trials for safety and effectiveness.
The Two FDA Approved Medications Are
- Minoxidil (Rogaine®) – an over-the-counter solution which is applied directly to the top of the head and comes in 2% and 5% levels of strength. Rogaine has been known to be highly or moderately effective for some, but has been unsuccessful for others. For those who find it effective, Rogaine can slow down hair loss as well as start new hair. Yet, what makes it successful is not apparent. For optimal efficacy, minoxidil and hair restoration surgery must be used together.
- Finasteride (Propecia®) – as it works to prevent the hormone that causes hair loss, this oral medication aims to reverse male pattern hair loss. Finasteride requires a prescription and is not to be taken by women who are or likely to become pregnant, since it may cause a specific type of birth defect in a fetus. This medication is best recommended for men who have experienced a slight or moderate amount of hair loss. Hence, those with severe hair loss have very little, if any chance of attaining hair growth. Finasteride is more likely to enhance hair growth over the crown of the scalp than it will for a receding forehead hairline. If the patient receives hair transplantation treatment, finasteride can also be used to help stop additional hair loss. At the same time, the transplantation process works to fill in areas like those above the forehead.
Hair Additions and Replacements
For those who’ve been told they are not good candidates for neither surgical nor medical treatments, there is still hope for them. They are advised to try hair additions and/or total hair replacements such as:
- Temporary total hair loss attributed to chemotherapy or radiation for one who may be a candidate for temporary total hair replacement in the form of a wig.
- One who cannot grow hair due to congenital reasons may consider using one or more wigs as a means of permanent total hair replacement.
- Hair additions to act as a temporary solution for one who wishes to have hair loss corrected but is not yet prepared have hair transplantation done.
- A person with insufficient donor dominant hair and thus is not a candidate for hair transplantation may want to consider either one.
So if neither a surgical procedure nor medical hair restoration is feasible for you, a hair restoration specialist may recommend hair additions or replacements that are right for you.