A US-headquartered pharmaceutical giant which has started to investigate new treatment options in the field of hair loss
is looking for people to take part in a clinical trial.
Allergan is seeking men with the genetic condition Male Pattern Baldness
for a trial that will take place at multiple centres across the USA and may offer hope to men whose thinning hair is located and visible along the top of their head.
The trial has been ongoing since last summer, but Allergan have recently extended the age range for potential participants from 18-41 to 18-49.
Vertex Hair Growth Study
Clinical trials are abundant and typically go by a rather dry-sounding name that explains their purpose, but when they receive backing from a major corporation they are sometimes given titles that are somewhat grander. Allergan’s trial is no exception, and the company has named its Phase 2a study of setipiprant
tablets on men with Androgenetic Alopecia as the “Vertex Hair Growth Study”.
Vertex, in this case, means “the top of the head”, and it may be inferred from the trial details that the researchers behind it do not, perhaps, see much promise in the drug at restoring a thinning hairline. In men with Male Pattern Baldness, the two places most commonly affected are the crown/vertex and also the hairline, which is why Male Hair Loss treatment
typically involves the use of two separate products to tackle the shedding.
The only oral male pattern hair loss solution currently licensed by the MHRA in the UK and approved by the FDA in the US is finasteride 1mg
. It would appear that Allergan’s setipiprant is being developed to go up against this.
One immediate drawback at least based on current information is that the setipiprant being administered in the Allergan trial appears to be a drug that is taken twice
daily, as opposed to the once-daily finasteride. This automatically puts it at something of a disadvantage, because remembering to take pills is a common issue with any medical regime.
It could be that Allergan is hoping that their product outperforms the already effective finasteride 1mg, or perhaps they are hoping for a more affordable price-point. They will have a clearer idea of the efficacy of their drug by March 2018, by which time the study is due to be completed. Just over 150 people are expected to take part.
Two-pronged attack on hair loss?
What may be driving Allergan’s hair loss ambitions and this is merely speculation is that they are planning a two-pronged attack on Androgenetic Alopecia, including an attempt to reverse thinning around the hairline, to take on the current go-to treatments, finasteride 1mg and high strength minoxidil
Minoxidil is the only other clinically-proven pattern hair loss treatment; it comes in a range of formulations, all of which are applied directly to the scalp, where needed; what may be the company’s long-term goal is to offer an alternative option for men with thinning hair that involves setipiprant alongside another drug they are trialling which is based around bimatoprost
, an ingredient in several glaucoma drugs and which just happens to be a liquid - like minoxidil.
What is certainly true is that demand for clinically-proven hair loss treatment
is extremely high, as around half of all men will be affected by it by the time they are 50. While not all of them will seek out remedies to try and combat a thinning crown
or to regrow a receding hairline
, those many thousands around the world that do ensure there will always be pharmaceutical companies keen to bring new hair loss solutions to the market designed to prevent baldness