Many patients at the Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research often ask about non-surgical treatments when they first begin to experience hair loss. There are currently two FDA approved medications that we recommend to patients – Propecia® (finasteride) and Rogaine® (minoxidil).
Dr. Edmond Griffin, hair restoration specialist of 35 years, knows educating patients about hair loss and restoration is an important part of their treatment plan. Although both medications are proven effective and can be very helpful for individuals experiencing hair loss, Dr. Griffin always discusses the potential side effects that may occur. Continuation of hair loss is expected in both men and women and therefore Dr. Griffin recommends prevention to all, just like you brush your teeth daily to keep teeth healthy.
Propecia® is a prescribed oral medication that’s FDA approved for treatment of male pattern baldness. In previous tests, the use of finasteride has stopped the progression of hair loss in a high percentage of patients, and has actually led to re-growth of hair in some patients while exhibiting a high safety margin. Although uncommon (less than 2% of patients showing signs of side effects for hair loss prevention drugs), they may still occur and are mostly sexual in nature. In addition to sexual side effects, patients considering Propecia® should also be aware that depression has been a reported problem. However, some formulations of this treatment can be topical and provide hair loss prevention without sexual or depressive systemic side effects. It’s important to have an experienced hair loss specialist who is skilled in compounding when considering this option.
If a patient presents sexual side effects with the use of oral finasteride, that patient should have the testosterone levels in their blood checked. Years ago many doctors considered a total testosterone level of 300 to be a normal range for men; however the range of healthy testosterone levels can vary depending on the person. According to an article from Life Extension June 2012 issue, thanks to better testing techniques a more accurate assessment of testosterone blood levels has been developed. In a recent study, researchers identified 2,416 men (aged 69-81) who did not take any kind testosterone treatment and were followed for an average of 5.1 years. Men who had a testosterone level less than 550 had an increased risk of cardiovascular events. Patients with testosterone levels below 550 may also be experiencing sexual symptoms although their testosterone levels are considered normal.
While finasteride does not lower testosterone levels, it does block dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This breakdown product (DHT), which causes male patterned baldness, may also play an unknown role in sexual function. At the present, most doctors view that lack of or decrease of DHT does not affect sexual function. During a hair restoration consultation, Dr. Griffin thoroughly discusses all options available to the patient and any concerns they may have to determine an appropriate treatment plan based on their unique needs.
If you are interested in finding more information about hair loss treatments please call us today to schedule a consultation. Be sure to connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Google + for the latest hair restoration news and technology.