Hair growth medicine that comes in pill form – WCVB Boston

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It’s a condition affecting so many men and women: hair loss or hair thinning.
For years, people have turned to topical treatments to prevent the problem, but now doctors are going off-label with a new option.
You’ve probably heard of minoxidil.
It’s generally used as a cream or shampoo. But doctors say using it in a different way may be better and even cheaper.
Holly Dauray says over the years, she’s seen some changes with her hair.
“It’s hidden, it’s hidden. I used to do the combover, you know, there’s ways to get around it,” Dauray said.
She was diagnosed with female pattern baldness, and after going through a long health battle, even beating cancer, she says he didn’t want to lose anything else.
“Well, for women, it’s, ah, identity, you know, and being a cancer victim for multiple times of breast cancer and other things, it’s all I have left,” Dauray said.
“Your scalp looks awesome,” says Dr. Farah Moustafa, the Director of Laser and Cosmetics at Tufts Dermatology and has been working with Holly to get her hair back using an old treatment in a new way.
“It’s kind of introduced a whole new option for patients in terms of the treatment of hair loss. We really only have two FDA-approved treatments for hair loss, so everything else is off-label, including this medication,” Moustafa said.
Minoxidil has been used in creams and foams for decades. It actually started as a treatment for a different issue entirely: high blood pressure.
“When patients were being given this medication back in the 1970s to control their blood pressure, one of the side effects was excessive hair growth, and that was hair growth everywhere,” Moustafa said.
By 1992, the drug was approved topically for both men and women to treat hair loss, but a growing number of doctors now say taking Minoxidil in pill form is delivering even better results.
“The theory is that their active medication is present in much higher concentrations. When you take the medication orally versus when it’s topically applied,” Moustafa said.
The FDA hasn’t approved the pill form of Minoxidil for hair loss-this is an off-label application. That’s not uncommon, but it’s important to know.
“Generally speaking, we choose patients who don’t have any underlying heart problems or underlying kidney problems,” Moustafa said.
It’s been about a year since Dauray started taking the low-dose pill form of Minoxidil, and she says for her the results have been a game changer.
Dauray says, “I saw a little bit after a month and then gradually it’s been gradual for me because I see my hair every day, And, you know, it makes it feel good that– you know, I’m, you know, getting my hair back and my life back now, you know?
Moustafa says this isn’t one size fits all — they personalize the dosage of minoxidil for each patient.
And if you’re wondering about the side effects, she says you could grow hair in unwanted areas — and rarely, there’s swelling in the hands and legs that can be easily treated.
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