Daily finasteride boosts hair growth in men

February 22, 2012

New research suggests that finasteride (Proscar, Propecia; Merck) increases hair growth in all four areas of the scalp affected by male pattern baldness and reduces hair loss in two or more areas.

Durham, N.C. - New research suggests that finasteride (Proscar, Propecia; Merck) increases hair growth in all four areas of the scalp affected by male pattern baldness and reduces hair loss in two or more areas.

A multicenter study led by Elise A. Olsen, M.D., of the Duke University Medical Center, involved men with vertex hair loss who were divided into two age groups - 18 to 41 and 41 to 60 years - and given finasteride (1 mg) or matching placebo daily for 24 months, HealthDay News reports. Researchers used standard global photographic assessment of the vertex, anterior/mid-scalp regions and frontal and temporal hairlines to determine finasteride’s efficacy.

Investigators found that compared with placebo, finasteride resulted in statistically significant hair growth in all four scalp regions after 24 months of treatment. Younger men treated with finasteride experienced less hair loss in all four regions, while older men had less hair loss in the vertex and anterior/mid-scalp regions. Drug-related sexual side effects were reported at a slightly higher rate with finasteride treatment than with placebo in both age groups.

“Treatment with finasteride (1 mg) improves scalp hair growth and decreases hair loss in the four regions of the scalp affected with male pattern hair loss,” the authors wrote. “The greatest effects were seen in the vertex and anterior/mid-scalp regions, with greater efficacy seen in younger compared with older men.”

The abstract notes a limitation based on the fact that the study enrolled men with vertex pattern hair loss: “Therefore, the findings may not be extrapolated to men with predominantly anterior/mid-scalp, frontal or temporal hair loss.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to Merck, which funded the research. The study appears online in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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