Non-Surgical Hair Loss Treatments
Medication - Oral Enzyme Blockade
The best enzyme blocker is an oral medical option available by prescription only. Scientific studies over the last 15 years have shown that it can re-grow hair in up to 66% of men (of which 36% would be regarded as significant re-growth) and that it can stop hair loss in over 80% of cases. It is an enzyme-blocking agent that is able to reduce the conversion of testosterone (the principal male sex hormone) to dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
The amount of the enzyme 5 alpha reductase that occurs deep within the hair follicles in the scalp seems to be genetically determined and influences both the amount of hair loss and the age at which this occurs. It is well tested and remarkably safe having been used on men with enlarged prostate glands for over 15 years with no serious side effects. Less than 2% of patients report any sexual performance side effects which are mild, often only transient, and can be reduced by taking the drug on a less regular basis (e.g. taking the tablet every 2nd or 3rd day).
The medication works best for early or moderate hair loss with all the scalp hair responding to preventing baldness. Reversal of hair loss works best in the crown, probably because hair is lost earlier in the frontal region and is more advanced here by the time hair loss treatment begins. Recently a new stronger blocker has been made available which may be useful in patients who don't fully respond to the existing blocker.
All patients who may benefit from this treatment are offered an enzyme blocker at their first consultation. A combination of this medicine and hair replacement surgery may provide the best outcome in many patients.
External Treatments - Rogaine / Regaine / Hair Again
Minoxidil (Rogaine/Regaine/Hair Again) solution applied to the scalp has been available for over 20 years without prescription from a Chemist. It is available in two strengths - 2% solution and 5% solution. It acts as a hair stimulant (the growth phase of the hair follicle is lengthened) and is mildly effective in the early stages of male pattern (and female pattern) hair loss to stop or retard further hair loss. It also is more effective on the top and back of the scalp than at the frontal hairline. The higher concentration (5% solution) has been shown to produce both an earlier and better response than the 2% solution.