Medication for Hair Loss and Their Side Effects

Hair loss is a common issue now-a-days. It is not an age, race or gender bound problem. You can see its sufferers all across the world. But thanks to the medical advancements that today we have some excellent products available to treat hair loss. Medicines are often used as the very first solution for hair loss. They stop hair loss and initiate new hair growth. Some of the medications for hair loss are topical, others are available in the form of oral pills and some are for systematic administration (through injections).


Medicines have long been used for addressing hair loss issues. Some medicines for hair loss treatment are easily available over-the-counter while others need doctor’s prescription. But what makes medicines the least preferred choice nowadays are the temporary results offered by them and the series of side effects that come along. Let’s have an overview of some of the most commonly used medications for hair loss and their side effects.

  1. Minoxidil: It is an FDA approved topical application for hair loss patients. It not only helps stop hair shedding but also stimulates hair regrowth. Available in varying strengths of 2%, 3% and 5%, Minoxidil can be used for treating hair loss in both men and women. It was originally manufactured for dealing with hair fall issues and hair growth was actually its side effect.

Side Effects of Minoxidil: Some potential side effects of Minoxidil include itching and irritation at the treated areas, severe allergic reaction, dizziness, faintness, chest pain, sudden weight gain, hair growth in the areas of contact, and swelling of hands and feet.

  1. Finasteride: It is another FDA approved hair loss medication available in the form of oral pills. It is a prescription medicine that cannot be bought over-the-counter. It is a relatively stronger medicine and is not recommended for women.

Side Effects of Finasteride: In women, it can cause permanent birth defects in fetus. In men, its potential side effects include itchy skin, irritation and redness of skin, dizziness, depression, anxiety, cancer and gynecomastia.

  1. Spironolactone: It is an anti-androgen that is not for every hair loss patient. However, it can be used to effectively treat female pattern baldness. The medicine helps hold back hair loss by reducing the effects of androgens on hair tissues. It can be used topically and systematically.

Side Effects of Spironolactone: Common side effects of spironolactone include vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, headache and Irregular menstrual periods. It increases estrogen level in blood. Because of the feminizing side effects, it cannot be used for male hair loss patients.

  1. Flutamide: It is found to be more effective than spironolactone. It is also an anti-androgen drug used for treating hair loss in women suffering from pattern baldness. But nowadays it is rarely prescribed for treating hair loss, courtesy numerous side effects that it brings along.

Side Effects of Flutamide: Flutamide is not recommended for men as it can instill feminist traits in them, enlarged breasts (Gynecomastia) being at the top. There is a significant chance of developing liver problems with continuous use of Flutamide over long period of time.

While medicines are the easiest treatment for hair loss, they are losing their share from the hair loss market. A noticeable decline in its customer ship is due to the fact that they do not offer a permanent solution for hair fall issues. In fact, medicines show results only as long as you use them and ceasing their use causes you to lose all the hair that you have grown with their use. Their fearsome side effects are also deterring hair loss patients from opting for medicines.

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