Oral Minoxidil: What Guys With Thinning Hair Should Know About Off-Label Hair Growth Prescriptions

I received a lot of messages this weekend from friends with a link to a New York Times article about the oral drug minoxidil, not approved by the FDA but commonly administered by doctors to treat hair loss. “Should I take this? “ common tune. And if I (a groomer do not have degree) has received a flurry of curious texts, I can only imagine the number of questions dermatologists have searched on this topic. So I reached out to one of my most trusted dermatologists, Dr. Alan J. Bauman of Bauman Medical in Boca Raton, FL, to answer some of the most common questions.

How to treat hair loss?

Before we talk about off-label minoxidil, let’s quickly take a look at the most popular ways to keep your hair in place. Impossible to implant, these are the main medical options for bald guys. (Any extra effort, like shampoos and literal supplements, is exactly that: just supplements.)

Finasteride orally: This is a generic product of Propecia. It’s usually prescribed as a 1mg pill, and it works, but it comes with one big caveat: Some 2-3% of users experience decreased libido or impaired erections. (Less commonly, you’ll see Finasteride topical, which seems to avoid some of the worst sexual side effects.)

Topical minoxidil: This is the generic name of Rogaine. This medication is available over-the-counter and is most commonly applied (as a serum or topical foam) to the site of hair loss with an extremely favorable success rate. Minoxidil works by increasing blood flow (and thus nutrient delivery) to the hair follicles, helping to strengthen them and create stronger hair strands. It also increases the time these hairs spend on the head and minimizes the time they sleep between shedding and regrowth. So it’s stronger hair, over a longer period of time. Minoxidil is particularly useful in treating thinning and fibrous conditions around the crown of the head. And the main complaint with this topical medication is that it leaves a residue on the scalp or hair.

In both cases, these are the treatments thin hair rather than boys who have gone bald, have gone too far to recover.

So what is the deal with oral minoxidil?

Like Times The article explains that many doctors have been prescribing an off-label minoxidil oral pill for years and have found overwhelming success with the oral method — without the mess or irritation of the topical medication. Since these pills are so cheap and commonly available, it doesn’t make sense for anyone to pursue FDA approval for tens of millions of dollars, and therefore they will likely go off-label. The term for this type of customized treatment—where it does not come from a commercial, FDA-approved supplier—is compounding.

“In the US, compounding pharmacies cannot offer off-label drug benefits; that’s the whole reason for FDA approval: to allow marketing,” explains Bauman. “Sometimes pharmaceutical companies will try to suppress information if they have an alternative or competing drug on the market. The effective “lifetime” of a drug’s profitability is the short period of time during which the drug is protected by a patent. “

https://www.gq.com/story/oral-minoxidil Oral Minoxidil: What Guys With Thinning Hair Should Know About Off-Label Hair Growth Prescriptions

Russell Falcon

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