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Know All The Medicines That Affect Your Hair?

Dr. Aman Dua | April, 27 2015 | 0 Comments

There are certain medications which might be in your medicine cabinet, but there is quite the chance that you might have no idea what it is truly does and how it can affect your crowning glory. In this article, we will look at the three most common medications that can have a severe effect on hair.

Aldactone (Spironolactone)

Normally, Aldactone is prescribed to those people who are suffering from high blood pressure. It is basically a diuretic that prevents the reabsorption of sodium from the kidneys and removes it through the urine.However, the levels of potassium in body are not decreased unlike other diuretics.medicines

In addition, Aldactone also has anti-androgenic affects, which spells good results for women who might be suffering from hair loss. As a matter of fact, this medicine has a chemical composition that works as a weak competing inhibitor of the binding of androgens to the cellular level receptors and also reduces the synthesis of the androgens.

It is thus useful in cases of hormonal and resistant acne, females with excess facial hair (hirsutism) and female androgenetic alopecia, as all these conditions are due to the excessive action of androgenic hormones.

However, this medicine is not the best course of treatment for men, because when the testosterone production is reduced, there is the chance of breasts getting enlarged and the sexual abilities getting hampered. Even with women, there is the chance of hyperkalemia (a condition in which the potassium levels are very high), cramps and even diarrhoea. This is why it is crucial that the medication be taken only after a consultation with a doctor.

Birth control pills

Oral contraceptive pills or birth control pills are usually given for contraceptive effect. These contain estrogens and sometimes progestins. There are newer pills like Diene-35 that contain estrogens plus cyproterone acetate, which is an effective anti-androgen

Oestrogens in the pill can stimulate the growth of hair, because it is able to elongate the anagen phase of the hair’s growth cycle. The anti-androgenic action make them effective in the treatment of hormonal acne, hirsutism and female androgenic alopecia where the excess androgens are always the culprit.

However, these pills should never be self-prescribed as they can produce side effects which can be quite harmful to your body. It is always best that you talk to your doctor first and ensure that the pills you are taking are rightly indicated and suits your body.

Avodart (Dutasteride)

In the year 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Avodart, which is actually Dutasteride 0.5mg. The medicine was originally meant to treat the enlargement of prostrate in men.

Like Finasteride, Dutasteride is also an inhibitor of enzyme 5 alpha-reductase, which is what converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone or DHT. However, while Finasteride inhibits only the Type II form of 5 alpha-reductase, Dutasteride blocks Type I as well as II. It is three times more potent than finasteride at inhibiting type II form of enzyme and 100 times more potent at inhibiting the type I form. So, while for many people, the medicine becomes doubly effective, for many others, it also presents greater side effects.

Studies have shown that the Type II version of the enzyme can be found mostly in the hair follicles, while the Type I form can be found in the scalp as well as the sebaceous glands. Dutasteride decrease the serumsebum DHT by more than 90% and the scalp DHT by almost 55%. However, Finasteride reduces the same factors by only 70 and 40 % respectively.

Dutasteride, however, has not had all positive reviews, because there have been a number of people who have noticed severe side effects. These have ranged from decreased libido, ejaculation disorders and even impotence in certain cases. In certain men, there was also noticed tenderness in breasts and enlargement of the same. The medicine also has an effect on Prostate-Specific Antigen or PSA, which is crucial for the detection of prostate cancer, however like finasteride it is also said to have an overall  preventive effect in the development of prostate cancer. So if you are planning to use Dutasteride, always get the opinion of an experienced dermatologist on when to start and the proper dosage.

Latisse (Bimatoprost)

Latisse is the very first medication that has been approved by FDA and is a topical solution for growing eyelashes. When applied properly, and at least once a day, the medication is known to assist growth of eyelashes. However, the medication can be obtained only through a doctor’s prescription. The initial purpose of prescribing Latisse was to treat eye conditions, especially those associated with glaucoma. Further studies showed that the chemical composition could also assist the darkening and growth of eyelashes.

The main ingredient in Latisse, Bimatoprost, is a compound that is resultant from fatty acids. These are designed with the intention of binding prostaglandin receptors, which are normally present in the outer root sheath as well as the dermal papilla of the hair follicle.

While the exact manner in which Bimatoprost works is still a little hazy, studies have shown that it might work because of its effect on the growth of hair follicles. This takes place because the percentage of hair that are still in the anagen phase are increased. Even the size of the dermal papilla or the hair bulb is known to increase in size, with regular usage of Bimatoprost; hence the thick and lustrous look of eyelashes.

There are however a few side effects, which have been noticed with constant usage of Bimatoprost. These include itchiness around the eyes, redness and sometimes, even pigmentation of the skin.

So, if you have any of these medications in your cabinet, make sure that you have spoken to a doctor beforehand and use them in the proper manner.

Dr. Aman Dua

Dr. Aman Dua

Dr. Aman Dua, Co-Founder & Managing Director at AK Clinics has over 14 years of clinical and teaching experience in the fields of Dermatology and Hair Transplant. Clinically, she has practiced aesthetic dermatology as a Consultant at Dayanand Medical Hospital, Ludhiana where she also served as the Assistant Professor & Skin Specialist for a number of years.

Over the course of her career, she has garnered acclaim as a facial aesthetics expert, with special interest in non-surgical acne scar removal. She practices as a Chief Dermatologist at Ludhiana Clinics.

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