HAIR LOSS MEDICATIONS – Edmonton – Sharma Skin & Hair Surgery Clinic

Medications for hair loss, including Propecia® (Finasteride) and Rogaine® (Minoxidil), may stop or slow down the loss of hair and perhaps even restore lost zones of hair. Knowing how such treatments work, how effective they can be and whether they have side effects can help you develop a plan for preventing, stopping and even reversing hair loss. If you decide to use medication for hair restoration, it’s important to know that it’s a major commitment.

The two most popular medications are Propecia® and Minoxidil (Rogaine®). Minoxidil offers some advantages over Propecia®. First, you can get Minoxidil without a prescription. It’s also a topical solution that works locally. It’s systemic effects are minor, while Propecia modifies the male hormonal system directly.

Minoxidil is safe for both sexes to use in its 2% form, whereas Propecia (generically sold as Finasteride) is safe only for men. That said, Propecia is the only medication on the market that systemically adjusts the metabolism of androgens in the scalp, a remarkably effective treatment for hair loss that’s suggested even if you’re considering a Hair Procedure.

Dutasteride is another medication which can be used “off-label” for Male Pattern Hair Loss. In clinical trials, it was shown to be superior to Propecia in treating Male Pattern Baldness. Off Label infers the drug is licensed in a jurisdiction but it’s use is mainly intended for other indications.

If you want to stimulate regrowth while maintaining your existing hair, yet using individual products hasn’t produced the desired results, you may find greater success by using Minoxidil (Rogaine) and Finasteride (Propecia) in combination. It’s always best to obtain the opinion of a Physician who deals with Hair Loss patients daily to discuss your needs.


Contact Us For A Hair Loss Evaluation
Edmonton Hair Loss Treatments
Dr. Anil Sharma MD
Sharma Skin & Hair Surgery Clinic – Edmonton, Canada
Hair Loss Treatment Questions? Contact Dr. Sharma 
780-476-7970
Book a professional consultation with Dr. Sharma


Rogaine® (Minoxidil)

Rogaine® (which contains the active ingredient Minoxidil) is blood pressure medication that has also been found to encourage the growth of new hair. Used as a topical treatment for male and female pattern baldness since the early 1980s, the drug is now available without a prescription. Minoxidil is effective in delaying or preventing hereditary hair loss in four out of five individuals, some of whom are also able to regrow lost hair. Regrowth may occur in the crown at the back of the head and (contrary to cautions employed in advertising) even at the frontal hairline.

We don’t know exactly how Minoxidil promotes hair growth. Perhaps by widening blood vessels and opening potassium channels. The medication allows more oxygen, blood, and nutrients to the follicle.

Minoxidil has not been approved for systemic use in hair loss treatments since it has worrisome side effects when ingested. In particular, the medication may present dangers to the cardiovascular system and result in hair growth in other parts of the body. Unwanted hair growth may occur even when Minoxidil is topically applied, perhaps because of systemic absorption.

Remember, Minoxidil is not a baldness cure. It merely halts or slows down the loss of hair. Its success depends on the status of your hair loss.

Using Minoxidil (Rogaine®)

Minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine®, has gone through rigorous medical tests for effectiveness and safety.The solution is approved and comes in two strengths: regular (2%) and extra strength (5%).

Originally available only by prescription, Rogaine (and generic Minoxidil) can now be purchased over the counter costing around $20 to $30 (for 2 ounces).

The medication is typically applied topically two times a day on the scalp. Regular strength Rogaine® for Men begins to work after four months of use; Extra strength Rogaine® for Men begins to work within two months.

At the beginning of treatment, users may undergo an increase in hair shedding. This is part of the hair growth cycle and indicates the medication is taking effect. After that, approximately 6% of users experience scalp irritation. A mild dandruff shampoo applied a couple times a week can ease irritation and maintain a healthy scalp.

Users with extremely high blood pressure report some issues, including “hypertrichosis,” the growth of hair on the face or elsewhere on the body. This happens to approximately 3% to 5% of females who use the 2% solution, and higher for females who use the 5% solution. Users of regular strength Rogaine report a 30% to 40% success rate, while users of extra strength Rogaine claim success rates of 50% to 60%. Hair loss will resume once the product stops being used, and any regrowth of hair will also go away.

Propecia® (Finasteride)

The most effective hair loss treatments adjust the metabolism of androgens in the scalp. At the moment, Finasteride (Propecia®) is the only medication on the market taking this approach to treating hereditary hair loss in men. In one study of men using Propecia, 83% kept their original follicle count while 64% saw progressive regrowth after 24 months. Studies involving Dutasteride yielded even better results, 94% of men showed regrowth in 24 months.

Known in medical circles as a powerful inhibitor of the type 2 5α-reductase, Propecia systematically decreases levels of DHT in targeted tissues, such as the scalp. DHT is an organic hormone that helps with sexual development in men during puberty and fetal development but can hinder the development of hair follicles when an ageing man starts to experience bodily changes. Follicles at the top, front, upper back of the head in many men are innately conditioned to be vulnerable to DHT at some point in their lifetime. Hair covering the bottom, back and sides of the head generally isn’t susceptible; as a result, many males don’t see hair loss in those areas. This is the whole premise of understanding how Hair Restoration Surgery works. Grafting safe donor hair to areas where a man experiences loss. The donor hair will retain it’s safe characteristics.

Hair loss caused by DHT is quite a lengthy process, as hair growth cycles usually extend three to nine months. Men who lack a DHT inhibitor, either locally in the scalp or systemically in the bloodstream, find that the follicles get shorter and thinner before becoming unable to grow back in at all.
Prior to purchasing Propecia® (or its generic version, Finasteride), consider the following facts.

Propecia® (Finasteride)

The most effective hair loss treatments adjust the metabolism of androgens in the scalp. At the moment, Finasteride (Propecia®) is the only medication on the market taking this approach to treating hereditary hair loss in men. In one study of men using Propecia, 83% kept their original follicle count while 64% saw progressive regrowth after 24 months. Studies involving Dutasteride yielded even better results, 94% of men showed regrowth in 24 months.

Known in medical circles as a powerful inhibitor of the type 2 5α-reductase, Propecia systematically decreases levels of DHT in targeted tissues, such as the scalp. DHT is an organic hormone that helps with sexual development in men during puberty and fetal development but can hinder the development of hair follicles when an ageing man starts to experience bodily changes. Follicles at the top, front, upper back of the head in many men are innately conditioned to be vulnerable to DHT at some point in their lifetime. Hair covering the bottom, back and sides of the head generally isn’t susceptible; as a result, many males don’t see hair loss in those areas. This is the whole premise of understanding how Hair Restoration Surgery works. Grafting safe donor hair to areas where a man experiences loss. The donor hair will retain it’s safe characteristics.

Prior to purchasing Propecia® (or its generic version, Finasteride), consider the following facts:

  • Propecia® is available only by prescription
  • Propecia is for men only
  • Pregnant women (or women who suspect they might be pregnant) should not use Propecia and should refrain from touching broken or crushed Propecia tablets, as the active ingredient in Propecia might induce sex organ abnormalities in a male baby in utero. Propecia tablets have been coated so they can be touched safely, but such protection should not be taken for granted if the tablets are crushed or broken. Pregnant women who make contact with the active ingredient in Propecia should consult a physician immediately.
  • Use of Finasteride at a 1 mg/day dosage was approved by Health Canada, MHRA, U.K, and the F.D.A, U.S.A to treat male pattern baldness.
  • Propecia must be taken every day. Upon doing so, patients may see results as early as a few months, or as long as a year later.
  • During clinical studies, a very small group of men using Propecia reported specific sexual side effects that included a disinterest in sex, trouble obtaining an erection or a reduction in semen quantity. All of those side effects happened to less than 2% of men in the study. Men who ceased using Propecia saw those side effects disappear completely. Men who continued using the medication reverted back to normal sexual dysfunction within 3 months. Thus it is Dr. Sharma’s personal opinion that the benefits far outweigh the potential risks.
  • If you stop using Propecia, results will slowly disappear over a 12-month span.

Research involving Finasteride

In randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind studies, males aged 18 to 41 with hereditary balding were administered either a placebo or 1 mg/day of oral Finasteride. Results were gathered by counting scalp hairs, patient self-examination (guided by an official questionnaire), investigator examinations (using a seven-point standardized scale of baseline hair growth) and professional third-party review of imagery shot every six months.

Finasteride treatment generated a dynamic increase in hair counts at six, 12 and 24 months while placebo treatment resulted in substantial hair loss. At 14 months, a panel of experts considered 66% of Finasteride-treated patients moderately, tremendously or somewhat improved as opposed to only 7% of placebo users. After two years, 72% of patients using the placebo had lost hair, while 83% of patients on Finasteride didn’t endure any additional loss of hair. There was little difference in the side-effects reported by men using Finasteride (4.2%) as opposed to the placebo (2.2%), and those side effects diminished once the product stopped being used.

In another study, Finasteride was orally administered to the stump-tailed macaque, a species that goes partially bald with age. Six months of daily doses substantially lowered circulating DHT levels and increased the weight of the subject’s scalp hair.

In a two-year clinical trial administered by Merck, 1,553 males age 18 to 41 with mild to moderate balding/thinning at the top of the head took Finasteride each day. At the end of the study, 83% of the subjects had kept their hair (based on hair count) and 66% of subjects reported hair regrowth. A separate test conducted by physicians in the study reported 80% improvement in the subjects at the end of the trial.

These results are consistent with our knowledge of the impact of DHT on hair physiology. Even though the molecular details of the means by which androgens impact hair growth aren’t clear, we can see that, in the androgen-sensitive scalp of innately vulnerable people, follicles slowly shrink, changing thick, lengthy pigmented terminal hair into thin, short, unpigmented vellus hair. Stopping androgen-mediated shrinkage should retard or inhibit the loss of hair and perhaps induce growth of new hair strands. Differences in reaction to Finasteride may be since there is conclusive heterogeneity in the 5a-reductase activity in the scalp hair roots of balding patients.

Dr. Anil Sharma’s 360-degree Approach to Hair Restoration Surgery

Dr. Sharma is committed to finding and providing you with the most efficacious result for your hair loss. He is passionate about his work and takes pride in each and every procedure he performs. It is truly his passion.

Naturally, in any type of medical procedure, a Physician must never guarantee success as the entire philosophy about any surgical procedure is about stacking probabilities in the patient’s favour. As such, when a patient agrees to choose Dr. Sharma as their Hair Surgeon, Dr. Sharma will commence the patient on his 360-degree plan. The plan takes the latest clinical research-based treatments and delivers these prior to the surgery to afford the highest chances of satisfaction for his patients.

As prescribing doctors, we at Sharma Skin and Hair Surgery are critically aware that patients who can put up with their current stage of balding may endure stress over potential hair loss down the road. As a result, we work closely with our patients, using our heightened knowledge of regular and pathologic hair growth to recommend the most effective therapeutic plans. Those plans may include the medicated modalities that are proving most effective, whether alone or in combination.

It’s likely that androgen metabolism modulation will halt hair loss in most balding men and stimulate minor hair growth, depending on the extent of their condition and their genetic history. Topical Minoxidil was the first medication to effectively help several of our patients. To that we have now added oral Finasteride. By targeting type 2 5α-reductase in the scalp hair follicle, we believe Finasteride can stop additional hair loss in patients with male pattern baldness. Thus this makes up an integral part of his 360-degree plan.

In addition, all patients who are scheduled for Hair Transplant Surgery are immediately commenced upon either PRP Growth Factor Injections or Stem Cell Injections. This ensures recipient sites are afforded the highest probability possible for growing the donor graft. This service is provided with Dr. Sharma’s compliments since his artistic success is correlated with your treatment success.

MORE INFORMATION: see our Edmonton hair transplant page


Contact Us For A Hair Loss Evaluation
Edmonton Hair Loss Treatments
Dr. Anil Sharma MD
Sharma Skin & Hair Surgery Clinic – Edmonton, Canada
Hair Loss Treatment Questions? Contact Dr. Sharma 
780-476-7970
Book a professional consultation with Dr. Sharma