The most prominent drugs used in hair loss prevention, were discovered by accident when working in other areas:
1. Minoxidil: A drug used to control high blood pressure. It is a vasodilator, which means that it opens the smaller capillaries to reduce the blood pressure in the larger vessels. The original drug was taken orally and showed some hair re-growth potential. It was then experimented with topically (applied to the skin) and again showed hair re-growth potential. A stronger strength Minoxidil has recently been introduced to the market.
2. Finasteride: Discovered when work was being carried out to reduce enlarged pro- states in men that were having difficulty urinating. It is a five alpha reductase (5AR) inhibitor. This, as explained earlier, is a key enzyme in the production of DHT, which is implicated in prostatic problems and in hair loss. A weaker version has been develop- ed for hair loss known as Propecia. It would appear from the above that some other action is going on when you increase local bloodflow. When that action is understood, a new type of drug or nutritional approach is likely to be developed to focus specifically on that area.
My reason for saying this is as follows: When you apply Minoxidil topically, blood flow is increased locally. More blood should mean more DHT locally (DHT and testosterone which converts to DHT can be carried in the blood) and therefore more hair loss should result. However increasing blood flow actually improves the situation. Many people argue that Minoxidil may have another action, for example it may be ha- ving an influence over the local immune system, however other studies have shown that just increasing blood flow to the scalp helps retard hair loss. Drugs are not a usual constituent of our diets and therefore they can cause side effects. Both of the above do have side affects which are well documented because of their extensive trialling. Two more drugs have shown an action on hair loss:
3) Dianette (a brand of cyproterone) is used on women and stops the production of androgens (male type hormones).
4) Drugs that suppress the auto-immune system exert an influence over hair loss. This would imply that the hormonal affect is to create a localised immune reaction.
Drugs with four different actions have shown promise in hair loss: Drugs that sup- press the immune system may benefit hair but the risk of side effects is too great. They are mentioned to highlight the auto-immune connection. Minoxidil increases bloodflow and may influence the immune system locally. Propecia blocks DHT pro- duction & Dianette blocks the production of testosterone. As with all drugs the risk of side effects exist. Vasodilators such as Minoxidil and DHT inhibitors such as Propecia / Finasteride are used. Usually a vasodilator like Minoxidil is used or a drug that stops the production of male hormonesuch as Dianette Drugs enhanced by nutrition. A scientific study in Britain on women with hair loss outlined an interesting fact: When women were taking drugs for hair loss, they could enhance its effect by supplementing with specific combination of nutrients.