Rogaine and Propecia are the only two FDA-approved medications for the treatment of hair loss. If you are considering using either of these hair loss medications, it is important to understand how they work best and their potential side effects.
Benefits and Side Effects of Rogaine and Propecia
When combatting hair loss and thinning, using different treatment options simultaneously tends to be the most successful approach. Both Rogaine and Propecia increase the size of vellus hair causing them to revert back to a terminal (healthy) hair state, thus increasing the density of hair that has become thin from miniaturization. However, once you stop taking the medication, the improved hair reverts back to the vellus state it was in before the medication was started.
While taking Rogaine, patients commonly see regrowth or thickening in the crown of the head where hair has receded, but Rogaine also typically benefits the hair on the entire scalp. A negative side effect of using Rogaine occasionally occurs in the form of increased facial hair in women who typically already have unwanted facial hair. Rogaine is topically applied after washing the hair, once a day for women and twice a day for men.
Propecia is taken once a day and effectively treats hair loss all over the scalp by blocking dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that that shortens the growing phase of a hair follicle. Propecia has a longer list of side effects including rare sexual dysfunction in men and potential birth defects in male babies. It also causes an increase in PSA, so the patient should alert their primary care doctor that they are on Propecia. Propecia should not be taken by women of childbearing age, and most post-menopause women do not see any results. Propecia is now generic but still requires a prescription.
Using Rogaine and Propecia in Combination with Other Treatments
Every modality that can be combined to treat hair loss should be considered by the patient. Rogaine and Propecia have a beneficial effect on most patients. Furthermore, using Rogaine and Propecia in combination with other non-surgical solutions like Low Level Laser Treatment (LLLT) often results in very successful hair regrowth and thickening. LLLT is FDA-approved for hair loss and works in most patients.
Contact Dr. Gray today to schedule a hair loss consultation and discuss a comprehensive treatment plan.