Studies compare hair loss remedies

People's Pharmacy

Health & Fitness

October 12, 2003|By Joe Graedon & Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon & Teresa Graedon,King Features Syndicate

My 28-year-old son has a receding hairline. I hate to see him look middle-aged before he is in his 30s.

Which baldness medicine works better, Rogaine or Prope-cia? Would they work better together than either alone? He can't afford either drug, but I could subsidize a six-month trial.

A small study recently appeared in the Archives of Derma-tology comparing topical minoxidil (Rogaine) with oral finasteride (Propecia). Initially, minoxidil seemed more effective. But after two years, the two medications were "equally effective."

Italian dermatologists report in the same journal that the combination of Propecia and Rogaine might promote more hair growth than either drug alone, though the data is anecdotal. Stopping just the Rogaine, however, led to rapid hair loss despite continuing Propecia treatment.

My doctor told me to stop taking Prempro last spring. Within weeks of giving it up, I started having hot flashes and night sweats.

I read that black cohosh is supposed to be helpful, but it didn't do a thing for me. My doctor wrote me a prescription for Paxil but warned that there might be side effects. A friend suggested St. John's wort instead. I am confused, frustrated and flashing. I'd appreciate any information you can offer.

Though some herbal authorities recommend St. John's wort for the emotional ups and downs that have traditionally been associated with menopause, there is little data to support its use for hot flashes. A small study found this herb helpful in easing menopausal symptoms, including sexual difficulties.

A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that paroxetine (Paxil) helped alleviate hot flashes and night sweats. Similar antidepressants such as Prozac or Zoloft might also be helpful. Sexual side effects are not uncommon with such drugs, however.

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