Alopecia: Unapproved Treatments or Indications

    March 2000 in “ Clinics in Dermatology
    Marty E. Sawaya, Jerry Shapiro
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    TLDR Many treatments for hair loss lack proper testing and FDA approval, so their effectiveness is uncertain.
    The document from 2000 reviews various unapproved treatments for alopecia, particularly androgenetic alopecia (AGA), and emphasizes the lack of rigorous testing and FDA approval for many of these treatments. It discusses the role of 5-alpha-reductase (5a-R) in AGA and mentions off-label drugs like spironolactone and flutamide. The review also covers a range of other treatments, including progesterone, cyproterone acetate, cimetidine, and over-the-counter products like Serenoa repens and Kevis, which lack substantial evidence for efficacy. Clinical trials for new treatments like combination Type I and II 5a-R inhibitors and Extra Strength Rogaine 5% for women are mentioned, as well as the potential of gene therapy and antisense technology. Medical devices like the Tricologic Biowave Helmet, ElectroTrichoGenesis, and Laser Light Therapy are discussed, but the document stresses that FDA approval for devices may not guarantee effectiveness in hair growth. The document concludes with a call for more standardized testing and FDA approval to validate the efficacy of these treatments and advises caution for patients considering unproven products.
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