Drugs by Condition – Baldness

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drugs by condition baldness

Introduction

Baldness or hair loss can be described as a condition of excessive loss of hair from scalp. Hair loss can affect anybody – men, women and children. The condition can occur due to genetics, hormonal changes, medications and medical conditions.
Hair loss is commonly seen in aging individuals and is considered completely normal. However, many individuals in younger ages may experience hair loss due to one or the other reason. If left untreated, hair loss can lead to baldness.
Hair loss can be treated as well as prevented if the condition is diagnosed and cared for promptly. Various treatment methods and medications are available to treat hair loss and many of them show promising results in affected individuals. Natural remedies and healthy practices can also help in preventing hair loss.

Symptoms of Baldness

You can experience hair loss in different ways, depending on the underlying cause. It might come suddenly or gradually. Some of the common signs and symptoms of baldnesa are:

  • Gradual thinning of hair on top of head or around your parting
  • Circular or patchy bald spots
  • Sudden loosening of hair
  • Full body hair loss
  • Patches of scaling that spread over the scalp
  • Receding hairline
  • General hair thinning, especially at the crown of the head
  • Patches of broken hair and incomplete hair loss on scalp and/or eyebrows
  • Excessive hair loss but not complete baldness after illness, anemia, rapid weight loss, stress or drug treatments

Types of Baldness

There are six common types of hair loss:

  • Androgenetic Alopecia: This type of hair loss is generally acquired genetically. It is more common in males and occurs when the hair follicles become hyper sensitive to DHT (Dihydrotestosterone).
  • Telogen Effluvium: Telogen Effluvium is caused when the body incurs physical or emotional stress. Sickness, pregnancy, weight loss and many other physical and mental stresses can cause Telogen Effluvium.
  • Alopecia Areata: Alopecia Areata is a type of hair loss characterized by patchy bald spots on scalp and/or body. Alopecia Areata is also categorized under auto-immune diseases.
  • Involutional Alopecia: Involutional Alopecia occurs when a person starts ageing. It is generally seen in people above the age of 50.
  • Traction Alopecia: Hair loss occurred due to mechanical stress on the hair is called Traction Alopecia. Over-styling or wearing hair tightly increase the risk of Traction Alopecia.
  • Tinea Capitis: Occurrence of hair loss due to fungal, bacterial or viral infections is termed Tinea Capitis.

Drugs Used to Treat Baldness

Listed below are various drugs that hair loss experts prescribe to patients:

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5 Alpha-Reductase Inhibitors

5 alpha-reductase inhibitors prevent conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is responsible for increasing hair loss. Patients affected by male pattern baldness or Androgenetic Alopecia can use this drug to prevent hair loss. However, hair loss recurs upon discontinuation of the drug. This drug should only be used by males.

Available as: Oral administration.

Generic Name: finasteride
Brand Name: Propecia

Vasodilators

Minoxidil, a vasodilator, is known to help people with pattern baldness. It works well in both females and males. The drug dilates the blood vessels and increases the flow of blood to the scalp. Minoxidil can be useful to treat baldness occurring due to genetic reasons, age or hormonal changes.
Discontinuing the use of Minoxidil can lead to recurrence of hair loss. Minoxidil is available in concentration of 2% and 5%. Minoxidil with 5% concentration is slightly better.

Available as: Topical and Oral administration.

Generic Name: minoxidil 2% (For men and women), minoxidil 5% (Only for men)
Brand Name: Rogaine (2%), Avacor (5%), Good Sense (5%), Rogaine Extra Strength (5%)

Androgen Inhibitors

Though spironolactone is not approved to treat conditions of androgenetic alopecia, it is still used by some patients dealing with hair loss. Spironolactone prevents the production of androgens as well as stops the existing androgens from binding with androgen receptors in the body. This drug is recommended only for women. It should not be taken during pregnancy.

Available as: Oral administration.

Generic Name: spironolactone
Brand Name: Aldactone

Antihistamine

Histamines are released in our immune system when our body is exposed to allergens. Histamines attach to our body cells and cause symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes as a response to these allergens. Cimetidine, an antihistamine, has however shown properties of hair regrowth in female patients affected with androgenetic alopecia. The result shown by this drug has been promising. However, the use of this drug is strictly limited to females only.

Available as: Oral administration

Generic Name: cimetidine
Brand Name: Tagamet

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Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are the class of drugs that act similar to how the hormones of adrenal glands do. These drugs are known to suppress inflammation in the body.
Corticosteroids work directly on the immune system and are used for managing auto-immune diseases. Alopecia areata being an auto-immune disease, can be managed effectively by prescribing corticosteroids. However, corticosteroids do not assure that new bald patches will not occur.

Available as: Locally injected, oral and topically applied

Locally Injected Corticosteroids
Generic Name: triamcinolone
Brand Name: Kenalog

Orally Taken Corticosteroids
Generic Name: predinosone
Brand Name: Predinosone

Topically Applied Corticosteroids
Generic Name: triamcinolone 0.1%, betamethasone 0.05%, fluocinolone 0.2%, clobetasol 0.05%
Brand Name: Kenalog, Triderm; Diprolene; Sylanar-HP; Clobex, Cormax, Embeline, Temovate, in respect to generic names.

Antipsoriatic Drugs

Antipsoriactis are the drugs that help fighting against psoriasis. Anthralin, a well-known antipsoriatic, is an antimitotic substance that can be topically applied to bald patches of skin and scalp. It produces mild irritation at the site of application, promoting hair growth. However, it does not alter the course of disease.
Available as: Topical application

Generic Name: anthralin
Brand Name: Dritho-Crème 1%, Dritho-Scalp 0.5%, Zithranol-RR 1.2%

Antibiotic

A. Sulfasalazine

In severe cases of alopecia areata, doctors may recommend the administration of sulfasalazine, an antibiotic, which has been recently found to have immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory actions. It is being prescribed for treating baldness that is showing no effect to cortecosterois, minoxidil or psoralen plus ultraviolet-A therapy (PUVA). It works directly on immune system by inhibiting the release of cytokines, proteins released by different cells, and other such factors. By regulating the factors, sulphasalazine is able to stop the progression of alopecia areata.

Available as: Oral administration

Generic Name: sulfasalazine
Brand Name: Azulfidine, Azulfidine EN-TABS

Immunosuppressants

Immunosuppressants are the drugs that depress immune system so that it does not attack its own cells. These drugs can be used to treat alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune condition. Drugs belonging to this group decrease the production of lymphocytes from the hair follicles, which are responsible for causing hair loss.

Available as: Oral administration.

Generic Name: cyclosporine
Brand Name: Gengraf, Neoral, Restasis, Sandimmune

Natural Ways to Treat Baldness

While the above-mentioned drugs and therapy help with hair loss but they also bring with them some side effects. Mentioned below are some natural to treat hair loss:

  • Coconut Oil: Coconut oil contains fatty acids that when applied to hair prevents the loss of protein from the hair. This in turn helps in strengthening the hair.
  • Fish Oil: Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely good for your hair. They help in increasing hair thickness and hair diameter. Omega-3 fatty acids are rich in amino acids and nutrients; hence they help maintain healthy hair.
  • Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera gel is often times considered a natural hair conditioner. Aloe Vera helps in soothing the scalp and treating dandruffs. Aloe Vera gels can be used few times a week.
  • Ginseng: Ginseng has proven to show positive effect on hair growth. Ginseng works by stimulating hair follicles and thereby promoting hair growth.
  • Rosemary Oil: Rosemary oil is an essential oil that helps both in promoting hair growth and preventing hair loss. A few drops of Rosemary oil can be mixed with coconut oil or any carrier oil and applied to the scalp.
  • Geranium Oil: Geranium oil is often mixed with a carrier oil and applied to the hair as hair mask. Geranium oil helps in restoring hair strength, hydrating the hair and restoring lost hair.
  • Eggs: Eggs are rich in protein and wearing egg hair mask helps in enhancing hair growth.
  • Massage: While massage brings various benefits r like relief from stress and tension , a head massage stimulates hair follicles by increasing blood circulation in the scalp.

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