Hair loss

In the August 2010 issue of Men’s Health there is an article entitled, Can I make my Rogaine Work better? The writer references a Korean study that showed “spiking” Rogaine with Retin-A, the topical cream FDA approved to alleviate fine lines and wrinkles,  made the hair potion 25 % more effective. The article went on to suggest that pharmacies would compound custom the make mixture with the caveat that it would not help you grow hair but keep the hair you have. In order to grow hair, you need finasteride, which is the active ingredient in Propecia, the only FDA drug approved for hair growth.

The article states that in order to save money, ask your doctor for Proscar, which has 5 milligrams of finasteride versus Propecia’s 1 milligram. The FDA only recommends 1 milligram for the treatment of hair loss. Men’s Health writer advices readers to quarter the pill with a pill cutter taking one-fourth a day. Incidentally that would still amount to more than the FDA’s recommendation. The data showes that 3.8% of men taking finasteride 1mg experienced some form of sexual dysfunction verses 2.1% in men treated with a placebo. The five-year side effects profile includes: decreased libido (0.3%), erectile dysfunction (0.3%), and decreased volume of ejaculate (0.0%).

Proscar is FDA approved for the treatment of enlarged prostates or what is referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

Patients often ask me to write them prescriptions for Proscar so that their insurance will cover the cost instead of paying for Propecia out-of-pocket, which is the case, since most insurances don’t cover medications indicated for hair loss since it is considered cosmetic.

My concern is that in writing a prescription for Proscar labels the patient as someone with BPH. This is difficult to explain to pharmacies and insurance companies particularly when prescribed for someone younger than forty years of age. I recall one instance in which a patient was prescribed Proscar by his physician for hair loss but when he applied for life insurance the interpretation was made that he had BPH and thus a pre-existing medical condition.

Hair loss for men is a very sensitive subject. It is as important as erectile dysfunction but splitting ends by utilizing generic brands like Proscar, so you can save money, may cost you more in the end.



  1. mich
    Posted July 11, 2010 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    hair loss … old news! lett’s hear your views on ED treatments and Prilligy.

  2. Posted July 14, 2010 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    I was worried about hair loss at first, but didn’t do much about it and then everyone began shaving their heads…

    The insurance and existing condition information is GOOD to know. Thank you.

    I would have needed medication going on 9 years now if it were not for how successful “Standardized” Saw Palmetto extract has been. I have relieved all of the symptoms (see the pun 🙂 ) and now use on an ‘as needed basis’ when I have urgency.

    It is usually gone within a few days and the symptoms only appear sporadically and and I can specifically control it with the SSP Extract and haven’t had to ask for a prescription…

    …even though the handsome Dr. on the Avodart commercial made me want to run down and have another digital exam 😉 …

    No but seriously…, I was at the point of actually having to pee in the subway (without drinking) and in the gargabe shed outside the building cuz I couldn’t make it home… and getting up 3 times a night…

    I swear sometimes my prostate must be the size of a coconut but the SSPE really works.

    It’s almost like you can train your prostate.

%d bloggers like this: