What are finasteride and minoxidil?
Can hair loss drugs finasteride and minoxidil treat female hair loss?
Minoxidil and finasteride are the two hair loss drugs that have been approved for treating androgenetic alopecia. Minoxidil is available under the brand name Propecia and is sold over-the-counter as a lotion or foam to be applied topically.
It was first used as medication to treat high blood pressure, until it was seen to also encourage hair regrowth in patients. It works by widening the hair follicle, meaning a thicker hair strand is produced which seems to remain longer in the hair growth stage. Minoxidil is thought to actually be more effective for female hair loss than treating male pattern baldness.
Finasteride is a prescription drug that is taken orally to treat male pattern baldness, but it is not generally advised to treat female hair loss as it can affect male foetuses. It works by preventing testosterone from converting into dihydrotestosterone or DHT that attacks the hair follicles.