Medication plus oral contraceptive may improve female pattern hair loss

March 20, 2006

Finasteride, a medication approved to treat hair loss in men, may also improve the condition in women when combined with oral contraceptives, according to an article in the March issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

As many as half of all women experience female pattern hair loss during their lifetimes, according to background information in the article. Women who are affected often report feelings of embarrassment and social anxiety and the condition often worsens if left untreated. Current treatment generally involves minoxidil, a medication typically applied to the scalp to encourage hair regrowth, which is effective but not always well accepted by patients, the authors report.

Matilde Iorizzo, M.D., and colleagues at the University of Bologna, Italy, evaluated the effectiveness of 2.5 milligrams of finasteride taken by mouth daily and combined with an oral contraceptive in 37 women aged 19 to 50 years who consulted a physician about their hair loss. The contraceptive was necessary to prevent pregnancy in women in the study, because finasteride is known to cause birth defects. The researchers selected a type of contraceptive that reduces levels of male hormones, because that effect may also contribute to the treatment of hair loss. They took photographs of the patients' heads and assessed their hair density with a technique known as computerized light videodermoscopy at the beginning of the study and after they had taken the two medications for 12 months.

At the one-year mark, 23 (62 percent) patients were rated as improved using comparisons of the photographs. Thirteen patients did not improve, and one patient's condition worsened. Hair density scores increased in 12 patients. On a questionnaire, 29 patients reported that their condition improved after 12 months, eight said that it had stabilized and none reported that it had worsened. None of the participants had adverse reactions to the treatment.

"This treatment was well accepted by the patients, who judged the results to be even better than did the investigators," the authors write. "The clinical results using global photography, hair density scores and patient self-assessment provide a basis for future work. Further studies are needed to establish the optimal dosage and mode of administration of finasteride in premenopausal women and to definitively assess the efficacy of this drug compared with oral antiandrogens."
-end-
(Arch Dermatol. 2006; 142:298-302. Available pre-embargo to the media at www.jamamedia.org.)

The JAMA Network Journals

Related Oral Contraceptive Articles from Brightsurf:

Use of emergency contraceptive pills among Scandinavian women
Use of emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) is common among Scandinavian women, with one-third having used them at least once, according to a study published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.

Providing contraceptive care in the pediatric emergency department
A new study found that two-thirds of female adolescents ages 16-21 seen in a pediatric Emergency Department (ED) were interested in discussing contraception, despite having a high rate of recent visits to a primary care provider.

Once-a-month oral contraceptive could improve patient adherence
Researchers have created a new ingestible drug delivery platform that expands in the stomach and could safely deliver a contraceptive over one month when tested in pigs.

Fertilization discovery could lead to new male contraceptive, help infertile couples
An unexpected discovery about fertilization reveals new insights into how sperm and egg fuse and could have major implications for couples battling infertility -- and may lead to a future male contraceptive.

Contraceptive jewelry could offer a new family planning approach
Family planning for women might one day be as simple as putting on an earring.

Long-acting contraceptive designed to be self-administered via microneedle patch
A new long-acting contraceptive designed to be self-administered by women may provide a new family planning option, particularly in developing nations where access to healthcare can be limited, a recent study suggests.

Role of oral microbiota in the severity of chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis
At the 96th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), held in conjunction with the IADR Pan European Regional (PER) Congress, Kai Soo Tan, National University of Singapore, gave a oral presentation titled 'Role of Oral Microbiota in the Severity of Chemotherapy-Induced Oral Mucositis.'

Overpopulation of free-roaming cats drives hunt for better contraceptive
Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers at the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs embarked on a project to determine if GonaCon™, a nonsurgical contraceptive used in some wildlife species, might provide a solution for overpopulation of free-roaming cats.

New study results from Uganda strengthen the case for contraceptive self-injection
Results from a PATH study in Uganda, now published in the journal Contraception, show that self-injection of subcutaneous DMPA may help women to continue using injectable contraception longer than women who receive traditional intramuscular injections from providers.

Relationship factors affect decisions about contraceptive use among young adults
The dynamics of a couple's relationship, including the exclusivity of the partnership, the level of commitment to the partnership and participation in sexual decision-making with their partner, impact young adults' decisions related to contraceptive use, new research shows.

Read More: Oral Contraceptive News and Oral Contraceptive Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.