Old, cheap hair loss pill works wonders for baldness

Old, cheap hair loss pill works wonders for baldness

Science is finally ahead of baldness.

There is an old remedy for hair loss that has come back in style – and the effects have been lavish for many men and women.

Minoxidil, a key ingredient in foams like the Rogaine brand, is being popularized in an oral pill form — just as it once was in the late 1980s and early 1990s prior to scalp-rubbing treatments.

Best of all, it’s significantly cheaper than foam treatments, according to Dr. Amanda Doyle, a board-certified dermatologist at the Russak Dermatology Clinic in Manhattan.

“The pill is usually inexpensive compared to other treatment options; it may be more cost-effective for some patients overall,” Doyle told The Post. “I think it’s good that people are becoming a little more aware of it. .”

There are new and inexpensive effective treatments for hair loss, dermatologists claim.
There are new and inexpensive effective treatments for hair loss, dermatologists claim.
Getty Images/EyeEm

While researchers are still investigating exactly how minoxidil — a chemical first used to treat high blood pressure — affects hair growth, Doyle said it’s extremely safe for the way the oral pill is currently administered.

“It has been shown to be effective in certain patients and generally a very safe medication when we use it as such a small dose, as we do for this purpose,” Doyle said. “So when it’s used at a lower dose, it doesn’t really have the effects on blood pressure or cardiovascular measures in most patients like when it’s used at high doses.”

Generic hair loss medications containing minoxidil are gaining in popularity.
Generic hair loss medications containing minoxidil are gaining in popularity.
Minoxidine

However, the treatment is not yet well known, nor has it been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, according to the New York Times. As with many cases in dermatology, minoxidil is prescribed in an unapproved manner known as “off-label.”

But many in the industry are embracing — and succeeding — with the cheap drug and the popularity of off-label practices. “I tell people that most of the things we do are off-label because there’s nothing on-label,” Dr. Robert Swerlick, professor and chair of the department of dermatology at Emory University School of Medicine at the Times.

However, there is a downside. The pill can cause patients to grow hair all over their bodies – unlike foam that is only applied to the scalp.

“It can stimulate hair growth or what is called hypertrichosis on the temples and sideburns… So a woman wouldn’t want to get sideburns or more facial hair, which could happen with this drug,” Doyle told The Post.

Dermatologists are optimistic about new ways to treat hair loss.
Dermatologists are optimistic about new ways to treat hair loss.
Getty Images

But overall, there seems to be more good than harm coming from recent research figures.

A professor of dermatology at the University of Melbourne in Australia, Dr. Rodney Sinclair, reported in 2015 that the low-dose minoxidil saw successful hair growth in 100 women, according to The Times. Since then, he has treated 10,000 similar patients.

Overall, though, Doyle sees optimism about minoxidil for its many ways to deal with baldness, she said.

“We now have a lot of things we can do for hair loss for men and women, which is great,” she said.

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