There are currently two medications approved for andogenetic alopecia.
- Finasteride blocks the conversion of Testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Male Pattern Baldness (MPB) or androgenic alopecia, is caused not by testosterone but by DHT. It is DHT that causes hair follicles to shrink and lose the ability to create new hairs. This is called “miniaturization.” Testosterone is changed into DHT by an enzyme called 5 alpha-reductase. That enzyme comes in different forms and one form of the enzyme converts testosterone into DHT in the prostate and on the scalp.
- Minoxidil: Minoxidil was first released in the 80’s and when used alone never proved to be the miracle cure people anticipated. However, over the years, the use of minoxidil has been shown to slow or stop the progression of hair loss for people suffering from “androgenic alopecia,” which basically is male pattern baldness. The exact mechanism of action in the body is not completely understood. It was initially developed to treat hypertension and, in an early study, hair regrowth was noted in some patients. It tends to work best on younger men who have been experiencing progressive hair loss for fewer than 5 years. Interestingly, in the first few months of using minoxidil loss of fine hairs can occur before they are replaced by thicker, more mature hairs.