Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Are Hair Loss Drugs Safe?

Friday, 05 Apr 2013 04:29 PM

By Peter Hibberd, M.D.

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Question: My 28-year-old has been using Propecia for hair loss for several years, which he orders online from a company in India. It is cheaper than Rogaine, but I am worried about the safety of long-term use. He assures me that he does not have any sexual side effects. Your thoughts?

Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
 
Propecia is an oral tablet taken daily for male hair loss. This drug is actually a reduced dose of Proscar (an oral tablet), which used to help reduce prostate size in men with enlarged prostate glands (called BPH). There are generic forms of this drug made overseas, but it is difficult to know details of its quality if you cannot identify the manufacturer.
 
It may be that this is a generic version made by the original manufacturer, or not. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates and evaluates quality, chemical content, and consistency of drugs sold in the U.S. When you buy from a supplier from India, you can’t be sure about the quality or content. It’s sort of a potluck guessing game and not worth of risking your health. Bogus drugs are common overseas, so beware.
 
Also, Rogaine (topical minoxidil) is a topical solution that works differently than Propecia. Rogaine is available as a generic in the U.S. at considerable savings, and is also available in a 2 percent (reduced from 5 percent) formulation for use in women with hair loss.

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Dr. Hibberd's advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital work in emergency medicine and surgery.
 
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