In the fall of 2012, researchers at Johns Hopkins University made a startling discovery: Finasteride, known most commonly by the brand name Propecia®, appeared to cause long term sexual side effects for a number of males who were using the prescription medication to treat hair loss.
Prior to the study, it was well-documented that Finasteride could cause a number of sexual side effects during use. After the study, however, a small body of research indicated that males who take the popular hair loss medication could suffer with sexual side effects long after use was discontinued. The study analyzed only a small number of patients, and many hair loss professionals believe rigorous follow-up studies are needed to better understand the long term side effects of Finasteride. Nevertheless, the study sparked concern among men and women who suffer with hair loss, particularly those who currently use a non-surgical method of restoration.
Most recently, patients have begun to wonder if Minoxidil may cause sexual side effects. A topical solution, Minoxidil is most commonly known by the brand name Rogaine®. As explained by Hairlosslearningcenter.org, there is no data to support such concerns:
While there are a number of cases of men reporting sexual dysfunction from Rogaine (minoxidil), there has been no scientific data gathered to support this as a side effect and it is not listed by the manufacturer as a known side effect.
Things to Know About Rogaine®
Rogaine is a brand name version of Minoxidil, an anti-hypertensive drug that is used to treat pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia). With daily topical application, Minoxidil has demonstrated effectiveness in converting short, fine hairs into fully developed “regular” hair. Though it is unclear exactly how Minoxidil achieves this feat, the drug demonstrates a general ability to increase the “growth phase” of hair, normalizing the hair follicle while promoting wholesome growth. Unlike Propecia, Rogaine can be used by both men and women who suffer with pattern baldness.
Shortcomings of Rogaine
Hair loss is a gradual process for those who suffer with pattern baldness. For these individuals, hair becomes thinner and finer each time it progresses through its natural growth phase– a cycle that dermatologists estimate happens about 10-20 times over a person’s lifetime. Eventually, hair may cease to grow. Because Rogaine may effectively “normalize” the growth process, individuals may slow the progression of pattern baldness and, in many cases, stop it entirely.
For a small percentage of patients, Rogaine may help to grow new hair. Most people who use Rogaine, however, will not be able to achieve this goal. In fact, Rogaine is known best for preventing additional hair loss while nurturing thinning hair.
Advanced Hair Loss Solutions: Alternatives to Rogaine®
For many individuals, it may not be practical to achieve hair restoration goals with Rogaine only. For example, it would be very difficult for an individual to combat hair loss along the hairline and/or crown of the head through topical Rogaine applications. For these individuals, there are a number of other effective treatment options available:
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). FUE hair transplants harvest healthy hair from the patient’s scalp and transplant it to the area that is thinning, shedding, or balding.
Follicular Isolation Technique (FIT). Co-created by Dr. Rose, the FIT procedure implements a small punch instrument to remove individual follicular units without ever creating a linear scar.
ARTAS® Hair Restoration. The ARTAS System is a physician-guided robotic system that enables surgeons at the Hair Transplant Institute to perform Follicullar Unit Extraction (FUE) procedures with unparalleled precision, consistency, and accuracy.
To learn more about these techniques, readers are invited to visit our article on the Evolution of Hair Loss Treatment.
Seek An Evaluation with a Team You Can Trust
At the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami, our team is comprised of South Florida’s finest hair transplant surgeons, nurses, microscopists, and technicians. We understand the challenges that hair loss presents to personal, social, and professional life, and we are here to help.
Learn more about hair loss evaluations online, or call our Institute directly at 1-877-443-9070.