Hair Loss affects millions of people worldwide. Hair loss can profoundly affect the lives of those afflicted. Severe hair loss evokes not only cosmetic concerns but may also evoke feelings of vulnerability, low self-esteem, changes in self-image, and even self-identity.
Androgenetic alopecia (also called androgenic alopecia, androgen-dependent alopecia or genetic hair loss) is the largest recognizable alopecia, accounting for up to 95% of all hair loss. Hair loss can also be refererred to as baldness, diffuse hair loss, male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness. Male Pattern Baldness is characterized by a receding hairline and and a moderate to severe loss of hair (particulary on the crown). Female Pattern Baldness can result in general thinning of the hair all over the head and slight to moderate hair loss on the crown.
One of the main causes of hair loss is a high concentration of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). If concentrations of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) are abnoramlly high, the hair follicle can degrade and the active phase of the hair is shortened. As a result, the hair shafts narrow producing progressively finer hairs with each new growth cycle until eventually the hairs become transparent and stop emerging. Individuals with androgenetic alopecia generally have normal overall levels of testosterone, however the activity of 5-alpha-reductase is greater than normal. 5-alpha-reductase in as enzyme that converts testosterone to dihysrotestosterone (DHT). The increased amounts of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the in the hair follicle the cause the hair loss.
Hair Loss Treatments
Life Pharmacy supplies a wide range of oral treatments for and topical treatments for androgenetic alopecia. Oral hair loss treatments include Propecia, Proscar, Generic Finasteride (Generic Propecia and Generic Proscar), Avodart (Dutasteride) and Generic Dutasteride. Topical hair loss treatments include Minoxidil(Regaine and Headway), Ketoconazole (Nizoral Shampoo and Nizoral Cream), Tretinoin (Retin-A and Retinova), Azelaic Acid (Azelex or Skinoren) and Pregaine Shampoo.
Oral Treatments for Androgenetic Alopecia
Propecia (Finasteride 1mg)
Propecia (Finasteride) is the the first and only pill approved by the FDA to treat male pattern baldness, hair loss or androgenetic alopecia. Propecia maintains or increases hair counts by inhibiting 5-alpha-reductase and decreasing the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
In addition to brand-name Propecia (by Merck), two versions of Generic Propecia, manufactured by India's largest and most well-known pharmaceutical companies, are also available:
- Finpecia by Cipla
- Finax by Dr. Reddy's
Finpecia and Finax both contain 1mg of Finasteride per tablet, the same as Propecia.
Avodart (Dutasteride), is another 5-alpha-reducatase inhibitor. Like Proscar (Finasteride), Dutasteride is approved for treating Beneign Prostatic Hyperplasia), but has shown very good results in treating hairloss. Dutasteride shows much greater DHT supression than Finasteride.
Life Pharmacy also carries three brands of Generic Dutasteride:
- Dutas by Dr. Reddy's
- Duprost by Cipla
- Dutagen by Ranbaxy
Generic Avodart also contains 0.5mg of dutasteride and provides the same results as Avodart at a fraction of the cost.
Proscar (Finasteride 5mg)
Proscar (5mg dosage of Finasteride) is used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate). Becasue Prosar and Propecia are the same active ingredient, Proscar pills can be split as a cost-effective way to take finasteride to treat hair loss.
Prosmin (Generic Proscar)
Prosmin is another version of Proscar (5mg of Finasteride) manufactured in Argentina by Biotenk.
In addition to brand-name Proscar (by Merck) and Prosmin (by Biotenk), several Indian brands of Generic Proscar are also available:
- Fincar by Cipla
- Finast by Dr. Reddy's
- Fistide by Samarth Pharma
Fincar, Finast and Fistide all contain 5mg of Finasteride per tablet, the same active ingredient as Proscar.
Topical Treatments for Androgenetic Alopecia
Minoxidil is the most widely recommended treatment for androgenetic alopecia. Topical Minoxidil is marketed as Rogaine in the United States and Regaine in the United Kingdom and Europe. Generic Minoxidil is also avilable under the brand name of Headway.
Ketoconazole is known to have anti-androgenic effects and can cause a reduction in the production of testosterone and other androgens by the adrenal gland and by the male and female reproductive organs. Nizoral Shampoo and Nizoral Cream both contain 2% Ketoconazole. While often prescribed for the treatment of fungal infections of the scalp, Ketoconazole's anti-androgenic properties make it useful in combination with other treatments in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. Nizoral is also safe for use by women suffering from hair loss.
Tretinoin - Retin-A (0.025% Tretinoin) and Retinova (0.05% Tretinoin)
Topical Tretinoin has minimal anti-adrogenetic effects when used alone, however when used in combination with Minoxidil significant hair regrowth has resulted. Retin-A helps shed outer layers of skin, and this can increase the absorption of Minoxidil. As a result, the effectiveness of Minoxidil is greater than when used alone. Retin-A cream contains 0.025% Tretinoin, while Retinova has a higher concentraion of 0.05% Tretinoin.
Generic Tretinoin (Retinova)
Pregaine Gel Shampoo is formulated to add body, volume and manageability to hair by gently cleaning thinning hair. Pregaine Shampoo works very well in combination with Minoxidil, as it does not impede the absorption of Minoxidil or damage new hair growth.
Treatments for Female Hair Loss
The treatments used to treat male pattern baldness are not safe for use by women. Women suffering from hair loss can use the following treatments.
Diane-35 is a birth control pill containing ethinylestradiol and cyproterorone acetate (CPA). CPA inhibits the influence of androgens which can have positive effects on preventing further hairloss.
Spironolactone (marketed as Aldactone or Spirotone) may be used to treat female hair loss hair loss. Sprionolactone decreases the production of testosterone from the adrenal glands.
Nizoral Shampoo contains 2% Ketoconazole and is often prescribed for the treatment of fungal infections of the scalp. Ketoconazole is used as an anti-fungal agent which reduces the production of testosterone and other androgens.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.
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