The solution landscape for baldness in men and women continues to evolve. Regardless of the cause of the hair loss, there were few solutions for many years. Hair transplantation was the first and last solution.
Medical discoveries led to topical treatments that have had some significant success. At first, it was only Minoxidil. Now there are many more options on the market like Azelaic Acid. Today, compounding pharmacists are adding to the list of solutions available for both men and women suffering from hair loss.
The medical term for the major cause of hair loss is Alopecia. Androgenetic Alopecia is a common form of hair loss. While traditionally referred to as male pattern baldness when found in men, it is also the most common form of hair loss among women. This type of hair loss in men follows a pattern, beginning above both temples. In time the hairline recedes to form an “M” shape, while also thinning at the crown. The pattern of hair loss in women differs from men, with the hair becoming thinner all over the head. While men can suffer complete baldness, androgenetic alopecia in women does not usually lead to total baldness. Other forms of alopecia include telogen effluvium, anagen effluvium, alopecia areata and cicatricial alopecia.
The first topical treatment for hair loss that showed any real effectiveness was Minoxidil. First discovered in the 1960’s its initial uses were expected to be as a treatment for stomach ulcers, and then high blood pressure. It wasn’t until 1988 that minoxidil under the brand name Rogaine received FDA approval for use as a treatment for hair loss. Since that time other drugs have been brought to bear on the issue:
- Azelaic Acid
- Saw Palmetto
- And others
A number of studies have shown that these standard medications, when used in combination are more effective than when used separately. One study showed a topical cream made out of Minoxidil, Finasteride, Biotin and Caffeine Citrate (10%/0.1%/0.2%/0.05%) was a safe and effective treatment for androgenetic alopecia. Another study compared a Finasteride/Minoxidil combination (.25%/3%) to using a minoxidil-only solution (3%). It showed the combination to be “significantly more effective” than Minoxidil by itself.
Beyond traditional medications, a compounding pharmacist working with a physician can bring some additional solutions for medications considered “off-label” in the treatment of alopecia. There are early indications that topical metformin (10%) is effective in treating centrifugal cicatricial alopecia. The on-label use of metformin is for treating high blood sugar levels. It is commercially available in pill form. A compounding pharmacist would be able to help with this treatment plan by providing metformin in a topical cream.
People no longer have to live with hair loss. A partnership between a healthcare professional and a compounding pharmacist means the best possible medical treatments are not only expanded but could potentially be more effective.
Health Dimensions Clinical Pharmacy has been providing pharmaceutical solutions to healthcare professionals and their patients since 1996. Health Dimensions is located in Michigan and serves states in the Great Lakes region. Health Dimensions Clinical Pharmacy was among the nation’s first compounding pharmacies to earn accreditation by the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board (PCAB) of the Accreditation for Healthcare Commission (2006). Our mission is to partner with healthcare providers to provide service excellence, accuracy, and rapid response for improved patient outcomes. To learn more about building a partnership, call Health Dimensions Clinical Pharmacy at (800) 836-2303.