The Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology has published results from a small scale trial investigating a blended topical hair loss
solution containing both finasteride and minoxidil to treat Male Pattern Baldness
Both these medications are well-established in their own right as the only currently MHRA licensed and FDA approved genetic hair loss treatments
for men. However, this only applies to the oral 1mg/day tablet form of finasteride
In a bid to advance options for treating male pattern hair loss, and to reduce possible side effects, various researchers are now looking into topical finasteride
- a 2020 release date has been estimated - but this is the first significant blended trial we are aware of.
Mixed solution trial
The randomised clinical trial was carried out by doctors from the Division of Dermatology at Ramathibodi Hospital's Faculty of Medicine at Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand. It comprised 40 men diagnosed with Male Pattern Baldness, who were all between 18 and 60 years old.
Their precise level of hairloss when treated was started is not disclosed in the published abstract, though we are told that hair density and hair diameter were measured before treatment began in order to establish baseline data. Photographic assessments were taken as were recordings of fluctuations in DHT levels - DHT
(dihydrotestosterone) being the hormone responsible for causing thinning hair
and/or a receding hairline
in cases of genetic hair loss.
The results from 24 weeks of treatment using a solution of 0.25% finasteride and 3% minoxidil were compared to those from a control group of men who had been using 3% minoxidil on its own.
Key aims for the study were to identify the safety and efficacy of this particular blended solution in comparison to a minoxidil-only hair loss treatment. It is worth noting that minoxidil is a dose-dependent drug and formulations of up to 5% strength are available over-the-counter without prescription. As such, the 3% being tested would be considered 'regular' in strength.
The 24 week findings showed that 'about 90% of patients treated with the combined solution experienced moderate to marked improvement'. Those treated with this finasteride-minoxidil blend also revealed a minimal reduction of approximately 5% to their DHT levels. Although the minoxidil-only group's results were not made available in this abstract, the author states that the combination treatment was 'significantly superior to minoxidil alone in improvements of hair density, hair diameter and global photographic assessment'. No significant side effects were reported for either group of users.
"The results are quite positive with less incidence of side effects due to topical application rather systemic," Belgravia
Superintendent Pharmacist Prescriber and Senior Hair Loss Specialist, Christina Chikaher
commented on this latest study.
"I have seen similar studies and also one with only topical finasteride. In one of these studies the results for topical and systemic formulations were actually very similar. I definitely think that topical applications of finasteride could be an effective and beneficial form of treatment and look forward to seeing the results of larger, more in depth trials for men. I would also welcome seeing the possibility of topical finasteride for women with Female Pattern Hair Loss investigated in the near future.
This is certainly an exciting area of hair loss treatment that deserves more attention, however, given androgenetic alopecia is permanent and progressive in nature, I would advise anyone concerned about losing their hair or seeing a decrease in hair volume now to seek help sooner rather than waiting for the 'next big thing' to be introduced. The existing topical and oral medications can help to stabilise shedding, promote regrowth and prevent baldness with on-going use, and can be paired with hair growth supporting products as part of a well-rounded approach to hair loss and hair care."