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Medicine

Rogaine (topical minoxidil) and Propecia (finasteride) are the only drugs approved by the FDA to treat pattern baldness (hair loss resulting from hereditary causes). Rogaine is a topical solution that is applied by directly rubbing it onto the scalp where hair growth is desired.
Medications are available to treat pattern baldness. Two medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat hair loss are:

  • Minoxidil (Rogaine) Minoxidil is an over-the-counter liquid or foam that you rub into your scalp twice a day to grow hair and to prevent further hair loss. It may be used by men and women. With this treatment, some people experience hair regrowth, a slower rate of hair loss or both. The effect peaks at 16 weeks and you need to keep applying the medication to retain benefits.
    Possible side effects include scalp irritation, unwanted hair growth on the adjacent skin of the face and hands, and rapid heart rate (tachycardia).
  • Finasteride (Propecia) This prescription drug is available only to men. It's taken daily in pill form. Many men taking finasteride experience a slowing of hair loss, and some may show some new hair growth. You need to keep taking it to retain benefits.
    Rare side effects of finasteride include diminished sex drive and sexual function and an increased risk of prostate cancer. Women who are or may be pregnant need to avoid touching crushed or broken tablets.