Androgenetic Alopecia Medication

Updated: Jan 11, 2022
  • Author: Robert P Feinstein, MD, FAAD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Medication Summary

Only 2 medications have been shown to be effective in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: minoxidil and finasteride. Minoxidil is applied topically and available as 2% or 5% solutions. Finasteride is taken orally.



Class Summary

This drug is indicated to improve hair growth by stimulating vasodilation.

Minoxidil topical (Rogaine)

Minoxidil topical relaxes arteriolar smooth muscle, causing vasodilation. Hair growth effects are secondary to vasodilation. It is available as 2% and 5% solutions.



Class Summary

Finasteride is the agent in this category known to promote hair growth.

Finasteride (Propecia)

Finasteride inhibits the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, causing serum dihydrotestosterone levels to decrease. However, effects in hair growth are not clearly understood.