Androgenic hair loss does not only affect men, but women as well. When it happens in women, it is quite embarrassing and results in low self-esteem. For men, the drug of choice is Finasteride which has been approved to treat the condition. But can this drug be used to treat the same condition in women?
Finasteride has been studied several times for its use in treating hair loss in women. Different studies come up with different conclusions, with some recommending its use while others do not. Some studies have found that the use of Finasteride does not have any significant benefits over placebo used in the same study. Others found up to 60% satisfaction in treating hair loss in women. It is due to these discordant results that the drug has not been approved for use in treating hair loss in women. In these tests, the target condition is female pattern baldness which could be caused by several factors, including androgenic imbalances also responsible for male pattern baldness, which is treated using Finasteride. In order to determine the actual cause of hair loss, women need to consult a dermatologist.
Finasteride works by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone (also known as the male hormone) to dihydrotestosterone. This hormone is mainly found in high levels in men and is responsible for secondary changes in puberty. In women, the quantities are quite low but at times may result in hair loss, when not metabolized correctly. When this is the cause of hair loss in a woman, theoretically Finasteride may work to alleviate the symptoms.
Though Finasteride may seem like a viable solution to hair loss in women, it is not recommended because its use in women of child bearing age is riskier than it is helpful. Most trials were actually carried out in postmenopausal women and those in premenopausal women had strict family planning measures in place. These effects include abnormalities in the external genitalia of male fetuses. It is classified as pregnancy category X, which is made up of drugs that have high risk and are likely to cause permanent damage to fetuses.
To sum it up, Finasteride is not the right drug for use in treating hair loss in women; at least until conclusive evidence of its effectiveness is proven by research. Women suffering from the condition can find relief by using Minoxidil and Spironolactone instead.