Despite a variety of medications that are available nowadays to treat hair loss, we still do not have a magic pill that will stop it consistently. However, medications serve an important role in both preventing and treating hair loss. Two medications are FDA approved to treat hair loss – minoxidil (Rogaine) which is a topical treatment, and finasteride (Propecia) which is a pill. The positive effect on hair of these two medications was discovered as a side effect when they were used to treat other conditions. They are most effective when used during the early stages of the balding process, and must be taken continuously to maintain results.
There are other medications that are used around the world to treat hair loss or are used off-label (dutasteride, ketoconazole) while FDA approval is either pending or not likely. Another very important set of medications are those applied topically to treat certain skin conditions (such as steroid or antifungal creams) or taken orally to treat certain hormonal or metabolic imbalances (such as thyroid supplements). The importance cannot be overemphasized of treating any medical condition that is causing or contributing to one’s hair loss. It is also quite important to discontinue any medications that may be contributing to hair loss, if possible. This must be conducted under the prescribing doctor’s supervision.