Topical Finasteride Review

Does Topical Finasteride Work?

Topical finasteride is usually compounded with minoxidil.  According to the experiences of several hair loss clinics, a topical solution with both finasteride and minoxidil offers similar or even better results than taking minoxidil together with an oral finasteride pill (1mg).

 

In the 7th World Congress on Hair Research, a Dutch research group reported the effect of topical and oral administration of finasteride on  DHT levels in the scalp and serum. The results are shown in the Table below. It shows that 1 mg of topical finasteride (once a day) controls DHT level in the scalp more effectively than 1 ml of oral finasteride. It reduces DHT level in the scalp by 71% while the oral finasteride only decreases the level by 51%.  Meanwhile, both administrations decrease DHT level in serum by almost the same degree (~70%). This is understandable, as the topical finasteride is applied to the scalp directly and therefore the finasteride concentration in the scalp is expected to be higher than when the same amount of finasteride is administrated orally. This study also suggests that if you get a side effect from oral finasteride, you will most likely get a side effect from topical finasteride.

  

  DHT level change in the scalp (decreased by) DHT level change in serum (decreased by)
1 mg topical finasteride Once a day (q.d) (N=6) 71% 69.3–74.0%
Twice a day (b.i.d)(each time is 0.5mg) (N=6) 47% 67.6–80.4% 
Finasteride oral pill Once a day (N=6) 51% 69.7–76.1%

 (see the details of this study below, study 1)

 

There are some other studies that show a similar conclusion. In 2012, a Thailand group compared the efficacy and safety of the 24 weeks application of 3% minoxidil lotion (MNX) versus combined 3% minoxidil and 0.1% finasteride lotion (MFX) in men with AGA. Results show the MFX group had significantly greater improvement than the MNX group in the amount of hair regrowth, and no side effect was reported (see the details of this study below, study 2).

 

In 2009, an Iranian group compared the therapeutic effects of topical finasteride gel and tablet in treatment of male pattern hair loss, and found that the therapeutic effects of both finasteride gel and finasteride tablet were relatively similar to each other ( (see the details of this study below, study 3).

 

Interestingly, the results also shows that when you applied 0.5 mg topical finasteride twice a day (total amount is 1mg) it is actually less effective in controlling DHT level in the scalp, compared to applying 1mg of topical finasteride once a day. The former decrease the DHT level in the scalp by 47%, while the latter by 71%. 

Please keep in mind the number of the subjects in the study above is relatively small. So the data may not be very accurate. But it should not affect the conclusion that the topical finasteride works. 

 

Topical Finasteride Results:

You can view the topical finasteride results from our customers on the testimonial page. Apparently, we have a lot of customers who enjoyed great success that they didn't have when not using topical finasteride. As one customer writes in his testimonial "I have tried numerous different hair regrowth products, Minoxidilmax's topical finasteride (Dualgen-15 NO PG plus) is the only product that did stop my hair loss and grew my hair back. Topical finasteride may not be for everyone. But if you have tried minoxidil and din't receive good results, you should definitely put on topical finasteride. It is much more effective than minoxidil alone, and it is more cost effective than taking oral finasteride.". See the testimonial page here.

 

Topical Side Effects:

Based on the data how topical finasteride affects the DHT level in serum compared to oral finasteride above, topical finasteride is expected to have similar side effects as oral finasteride. Several clinical studies have shown that the chance of getting side effects (sexual side effects such as decreased libido) from oral finasteride is extremely low. Read Finasteride Side Effects for more details. 

 

Ready to try topical finasteride? check out our topical finasteride with minoxidil products here

 

✔ STUDY 1:

Pharmacodynamic of P-3074 (finasteride 0.25% topical solution) in subjects with androgenetic alopecia

M Caserini1, R Palmieri1, M Radicioni2 and E Terragni1Polichem S.A., Lugano, Switzerland and 2Cross Research S.A., Arzo, Switzerland

Abstract

A new proprietary topical formulation, P-3074, containing finasteride 0.25% as active ingredient and hydroxypropyl-chitosan (HPCH) as film-forming agent, was developed for androgenetic alopecia. The present study was aimed at investigating the pharmacodynamic profile of finasteride in terms of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) concentrations in the scalp and in serum after multiple topical application of P-3074 or oral finasteride intake in subjects with androgenetic alopecia. Eighteen healthy men were randomly allocated to P-3074 or oral treatment after providing written informed consent. Twelve volunteers applied P-3074 topical solution for 7 days: six subjects once daily (o.d.) in the morning and the others twice daily (b.i.d.) in the morning and in the evening. The third group of six volunteers was administered 1mg oral finasteride once daily in the morning for 1 week. Scalp (vertex) biopsies were collected at baseline and 6hours after last dose administration, while serum samples were collected at baseline, before last administration, and 6 and 12hours after the last multiple dose. A marked decrease in scalp DHT levels was observed: by 47.22% with P-3074 b.i.d., from 1.91 (±0.54) to 1.01ngml−1 (±0.39), by 71.20% with P-3074 o.d., from 1.52 (±0.41) to 0.44ngml−1 (±0.08), and by 51.11% with the oral formulation, from 1.39 (±0.25) to 0.68ngml−1 (±0.34). Serum DHT was reduced by 69.3–74.0% with P-3074 b.i.d., 67.6–80.4% with P-3074 o.d., and 69.7–76.1%with the oral formulation. These results showed a similar inhibition of serum DHT after 1 week of finasteride administration with the three dose regimens and were consistent with the results obtained in a previous P-3074 PK study. These findings show that DHT concentration in the scalp, after 7-day treatment course of P-3074 o.d., was more reduced (about 40%) than after 1mg oral finasteride administration for the same treatment period.

 

✔ STUDY 2:

J Med Assoc Thai. 2012 Oct;95(10):1312-6.

Efficacy and safety of 3% minoxidil versus combined 3% minoxidil / 0.1% finasteride in male pattern hair loss: a randomized, double-blind, comparative study.

Tanglertsampan C.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

 
Topical minoxidil and oral finasteride have been used to treat men with androgenetic alopecia (AGA). There are concerns about side effects of oral finasteride especially erectile dysfunction.

OBJECTIVE:

To compare the efficacy and safety of the 24 weeks application of 3% minoxidil lotion (MNX) versus combined 3% minoxidil and 0.1% finasteride lotion (MFX) in men with AGA.

MATERIAL AND METHOD:

Forty men with AGA were randomized treated with MNX or MFX. Efficacy was evaluated by hair counts and global photographic assessment. Safety assessment was performed by history and physical examination.

RESULTS:

At week 24, hair counts were increased from baseline in both groups. However paired t-test revealed statistical difference only in MFX group (p = 0.044). Unpaired t-test revealed no statistical difference between two groups with respect to change of hair counts at 24 weeks from baseline (p = 0.503). MFX showed significantly higher efficacy than MNX by global photographic assessment (p = 0.003). There was no significant difference in side effects between both groups.

CONCLUSION:

Although change of hair counts was not statistically different between two groups, global photographic assessment showed significantly greater improvement in the MFX group than the MNX group. There was no sexual side effect. MFX may be a safe and effective treatment option. 
 

✔ STUDY 3:

ndian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2009 Jan-Feb;75(1):47-51.

Comparing the therapeutic effects of finasteride gel and tablet in treatment of the androgenetic alopecia.

Hajheydari Z1, Akbari J, Saeedi M, Shokoohi L.
 

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Finasteride, a type II-selective 5alpha-reductase inhibitor, as a causative agent of decreasing dihydroxy testosterone (DHT) level, is effective in the treatment of male androgenic alopecia.

AIM:

We compared the local and oral finasteride in the treatment of androgenic alopecia.

METHOD:

This is a double blind, randomized clinical trial study of 45 male patients, who were referred with alopecia to the private clinics and departments in Boo-Ali Sina Hospital, in Sari. Patients with male androgenic alopecia were selected according to the history and physical examinations. The patients were randomly divided into two: topical finasteride (A) and oral finasteride (B) groups. Topical finasteride group (A) received a topical gel of 1% finasteride and placebo tablets, while the oral finasteride group (B) received finasteride tablets (1 mg) and gel base (without drug) as placebo for 6 months. The patients were followed by clinical observation and recording of side effects prior to the treatment and at the end of first week, and then by a monthly follow-up. The size of bald area, total hair count, and terminal hair were studied. Data were analyzed by descriptive and Chi-square statistical test.

RESULTS:

The mean duration of hair loss was 18.8+/-23.10 months. Each month the terminal hair, size of bald area and hair count between the two groups were compared. There were no significant differences between the two groups as a viewpoint of hair thickness, hair counts and the size of bald area. Serial measurements indicated a significant increase in hair counts and terminal hair counts between the two groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

 

The results of this study showed that the therapeutic effects of both finasteride gel and finasteride tablet were relatively similar to each other.