Regaine for men and women

Active ingredient: minoxidil

Regaine®, the brand name of minoxidil, was the first medication against hair loss approved in America by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). The therapy with Regaine® is a local application which is applied directly to the scalp. The active ingredient minoxidil starts to provide the hair follicles which are re-intensified with the necessary nutrients and also stimulates the blood flow of the scalp.

Rogaine® is obtainable without prescription in two dosages:

The success rate when taking the 2% solution is 30% to 40%. By contrast, the 5% solution showed a success rate of approx. 60%.

Regaine® was developed from the oral blood pressure medication minoxidil (Loniten®). Minoxidil had extremely severe adverse effects on the heart and circulation when taken orally, and is only employed if other blood pressure medications do not show any success. It was observed that among patients who took minoxidil the body hair began to grow and it was assumed that if minoxidil were to be applied directly to the bald scalp it could also stimulate the growth of hair there. Studies show that this actually happened, even if the growth of hair was rather modest.

The first studies with Regaine® were conducted on the parting, and so the fallacy emerged that it would only have an effect in this area. Although minoxidil works best on the parting, it also stimulates the growth of hair in other areas such as the forehead, as long as fine (miniaturised) hair is found there. Minoxidil has no effect on completely bald areas. The best result is seen between 5 months and 2 years. After that the effect gradually diminishes. Patients who use minoxidil on a long-term basis will still lose hair, but slower.

Furthermore, at first only men with thinning hair were observed. But in the course of studies it turned out that minoxidil is much more effective among women with a thinning hair image.

It is generally presumed that this intensified effect lies in the manner of a woman’s diffuse hair loss. The hair thins out and loses volume but does not fall out. Minoxidil can only bring benefits in this way. Use among men is best recommended after an own hair transplantation. No positive changes of the hair image whatsoever were noticed among women in menopause. As a result, it is omitted as a possible therapy.

Minoxidil prolongs the growth phase of the hair root (anagen phase) and therefore improves hair quality. The diameter and length of fine (miniaturised) hair increases. The simultaneous use of minoxidil and Propecia® that directly inhibits the formation of DHT can have quite a few synergetic advantages in the treatment of hair loss.

Use of minoxidil

Minoxidil must be used on a regular basis (twice daily) over a longer period of time, because the active ingredient for the most part stops the hormonally conditioned destruction of hair follicles. Atrophied hair follicles are reinvigorated and the hairs start to sprout thicker from the scalp again.

The medicinal product functions only during direct contact with the scalp (not with the hair) and only has an effect in the areas where it is applied. If minoxidil is discontinued, the hair loss starts again within 3 months and the former pattern of hair loss sets in again. If minoxidil is applied again, hair that fell out no longer grows again. Therefore it is recommended not to interrupt the application, but to apply minoxidil regularly.

Use among women

For years only men were associated with hair loss. But today we know that hereditary hair loss can affect women to the same extent. In fact, every fourth woman suffers from hair loss today.

A 2% minoxidil preparation is available only in pharmacies as a finished product, but is obtainable without a prescription in Austria. However, 5% minoxidil is only dispensed on prescription. It takes effect quicker, but after a few months the differences in comparison with the 2% solution are often only slight.

Only the 2% concentration is approved for women. By means of a simple application on the scalp every morning and evening the hair follicles are revitalised and the hair growth is stimulated as a result. Minoxidil can be applied on to dyed hair as well as permed hair.

Women generally react more sensitively to the adverse effects of minoxidil such as reduction of blood pressure (hypotension) and dizziness. Occasionally a scalp irritation arises, and an allergy to an ingredient can also come about. It is important that minoxidil only works as long as it is applied. The primary objective is always to stop the progression of hair thinning. But this local reaction vanishes when the application is terminated.

Costs

Many patients opt for minoxidil because it is apparently more cost-effective in comparison with other treatments. But because the effects are limited in terms of time, at the end of therapy it can be more costly than originally intended. Minoxidil is frequently recommended before as well as after an own hair transplantation treatment in order to reduce hair loss.

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Best results are visible between 12 and 24 months

 


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