Medications play a vital role in reversing hair loss and treating baldness. They are used both as a preventive measure and treatment of hair fall in the initial stages of baldness. There are FDA approved oral medications which are used widely to treat androgenetic alopecia. These are Propecia (which contains finasteride 1mg) and the topical medication Rogaine (that contains minoxidil).
With time, the hair follicles start shrinking and eventually disappear which leads to baldness. The major function of these two medications is slowing down or reversing this miniaturization of hair follicles. Although both Propecia and Rogaine are useful in treating male pattern hair loss, finasteride is known to give better results than minoxidil.
Finasteride shows a direct effect on the dihydrotestosterone (DHT)- the hormone which is responsible for hair miniaturization that eventually leads to baldness. Finasteride inhibits DHT and at the same time increases the length as well as the thickness of the miniaturized hair. The patient can take the medication in a generic 1 mg dose and get the benefits. It is also available in generic 5 mg dose.
Minoxidil assists in enhancing the anagen phase which is the growth cycle of the hair follicle. Moreover, it also induces a new anagen phase so that new and healthy hair follicle emerges and thereby combats hair loss. This medication also works in enhancing the quality of hair by increasing their length and thickness. The standard dose of minoxidil is 5% solution, 5% foam (men and women), and 2% solution for women.
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