There are a limited number of FDA-approved, medical & non-surgical hair restoration treatments – finasteride (Propecia® or Proscar®), minoxidil (Rogaine®) and low level laser hair therapy. Nizoral® Shampoo is at this point not FDA approved.
The importance of medical therapy is to add thickness to your existing hair and to slow the hair loss process. Both are considered treatment successes as without the medications the hair loss is virtually certain to proceed faster than if you were not on the medications. It is for this reason that medical therapies are always a part of the treatment of hair loss, even if you desire hair restoration surgery.
In the case of surgical treatment, continued hair loss will cause gaps to form between the transplanted area and the receding natural hair in the area. The use of medications will help delay the need for additional surgery. The hair loss process can also affect the donor hair, that is, it can cause thinning of the transplanted hair over the course of 10-30 years. The medical therapies will help protect your investment in the transplanted hair. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Harris today to learn more.
Available only by prescription the medication is for men and is orally administered.
Call the clinic, 303-694-9371, to order a 3-month, 6-month or 12 month supply. We will charge your credit card and ship the medication directly to your home or, if you prefer, you can pick up your order directly at our clinic.
For an in-depth overview of this topic, please visit our finasteride page.
This over-the-counter medication is applied topically. Minoxidil, sold under the brand name Rogaine®, has been on the market for a long time and has no reported drug interactions. Research has indicated that approximately 50% of men, who apply this medication consistently, will experience some reduction in hair loss and possible re-growth of miniaturized hairs.
For an in-depth overview of this topic, please visit our minoxidil/Rogaine® page.
Available only by prescription for men and is topically applied. This product was originally developed as a treatment for dandruff. During the clinical trials they found that about 40% of men who used the product on a daily basis experienced some re-growth of hair. It is thought that this shampoo works as an androgen (male hormone) blocker and simply replaces the shampoo you might currently be using. Lather up with a small amount, typically a drop the size of a half dollar is sufficient, and rub it in and leave it in contact with your scalp for 3-5 minutes. Then rinse the shampoo and finish your shower as usual. You can use conditioners or styling products as you have before, they key is the 3-5 minutes of contact with your scalp. As with any new product that comes in contact with your skin, on rare occasions some minor skin irritation has been reported. No drug interactions are reported for Nizoral®.
You can either fill the prescription at a local pharmacy and it’s usually covered by insurance because it’s a dandruff treatment not a hair growth medication (if you have to pay out of pocket it will cost about $55 for a 4-6 week supply) or go online and buy it from a Canadian pharmacy (for example www.canadapharmacy.com) for about $15/bottle.
NOTE: Prescriptions for either form of finasteride and Nizoral® are typically written for a 12 month period and can be filled at most pharmacies. In the case where a prescription runs out, the pharmacy will contact us directly and we can renew it for another 12 month period via phone or fax.
There has been some recent evidence that shampoo products that contain caffeine may also help hair thicken by creating larger follicles. One product is Nioxin Diamax and another product is Hair Surge that contains both caffeine and ketoconazole (the active ingredient in Nizoral shampoo mentioned above). Both can be purchased online and from some hair styling salons.
There are several variations on the low level laser therapy treatments. The most common is for the patient to purchase a Laser comb or brush from a medical supply store or via the internet. The majority of these products work the same way and vary only in what “bells and whistles” they have. The number of laser diodes will vary with price; however, the use is the same for all whether they cost $85 or over $1,000. Typically, for a period of 15-20 minutes every other day slowly move the brush/comb across thinning areas on the scalp. The scientific literature has some recent studies to support its use in male and female pattern hair loss.
There are helmet or baseball cap-like devices available that can cost anywhere from $650 to $3500. Two examples are the Theradome helmet (available for purchase through this office) and the LaserCap (www.lasercap.com) available with a doctor’s prescription. A good review can be seen at www.LaserHairDevices.com.
I do offer a clinical version of the low level laser therapy treatments in our office and it requires you to start off by visiting our office twice a week for three weeks, then slowly we decrease the number of visits to where you may only come in once a month. During these visits you will be comfortably seated under a hood that contains over 100 laser diodes. The treatment lasts for 15-20 minutes and you can watch TV or read a book, magazine or listen to your iPod®.
Platelet rich plasma treatment involves drawing blood from your arm and spinning it in a special centrifuge to create plasma that has about three times the normal concentration of platelets. Platelets contain approximately 35 growth factors that can potentially promote hair growth in cases of male and female pattern hair loss. A non-cellular matrix (connective tissue) made from porcine bladder called ACell is added to the PRP as it may stimulate stem cells. There are no controlled studies to indicate the chances of success with this therapy, how successful it is at slowing hair loss, or the amount of new hair growth one may expect. There are case reports and anecdotal information that in some individuals the therapy can both grow hair and slow hair loss.
The procedure is performed in the office under local anesthesia, take approximately one hour and the only possible side effect noted is mild scalp soreness for a day and possible forehead swelling (only seen in one patient out of hundreds).
There are a several “natural” treatments for hairs loss but their effectiveness is not well studied. Saw palmetto is one option and some and has been used for prostate enlargement issues. Because DHT 2is thought to be one of the primary causes of prostate enlargement it was theorized that saw palmetto is a DHT 2 blocker. The dosage used is typically 160-200mg twice a day.
A second option, with limited testing, is pumpkin seed oil which has been shown to block the formation of DHT. The dose would be 200mg twice a day.
There are some reported side effects of gastrointestinal issues and body itching with these treatments.
There are no studies to support the use of any dietary supplements to promote hair growth however there are some anecdotal observations that suggest a product called “HELP HAIR Whey Protein” from www.helphair.com/shake.php may promote faster growth of transplanted hair. It is suggested that patient begin using this product two weeks prior to surgery and then continue its use.
If you are considering non-surgical approaches to hair loss schedule an appointment with Dr. Harris to discuss your options.