Ketoconazole is another off-label treatment that stands out for treating hair loss. Ketoconazole is the active ingredient in Nizoral shampoo, and 2 percent strength is often prescribed to treat dandruff -- a 1 percent formula is sold over the counter, but reviewers say that it's not as effective. Many men choose to triple-treat their hair loss with minoxidil, Propecia and Nizoral shampoo. Studies show promising results with ketoconazole, though not any better than minoxidil or Propecia, but experts insist that further study is needed.
Did you know the average woman is born with about 100,000 hair follicles on her head--and she keeps them for the rest of her life? Most women lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day. If your hair is healthy, it will grow back on its own. But if you're one of the 30 million women in America who experience hereditary hair loss, you may be losing 150 hairs or more a day--hair that doesn't grow back as thick and healthy as it once was.
Some doctors prescribe Avodart off-label (meaning to treat something other than illnesses or conditions listed on the drug's label) to patients suffering from male-pattern baldness. Dutasteride, the active ingredient in Avodart, like finasteride, is used to treat enlarged prostate glands, but it blocks both types of the enzyme that create DHT, instead of just one. Studies show that dutasteride is superior to finasteride in treating AGA, but it has yet to be approved by the FDA for that purpose.
Physicians are reluctant to prescribe systemic treatments (pills or other form of treatment that affects your entire system) because they can tamper with your body's own androgen levels (see Causes for an explanation of androgens). The doctor will first want to confirm that the hair loss is due to an excess of androgen (another name for male hormones) in the system or a sensitized "over-response" to normal amounts of androgen. Therefore, physicians often choose topical treatments, which are applied directly to the scalp.
According to practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, hair health is tied to two things: kidney energy and the blood, which nourish the hair. The solution: acupuncture and Chinese herbs. While there isn't a lot of hard science to back this up, Maureen Conant, a TCM practitioner at Full Bloom Acupuncture in Seattle, says that she's seen women's hair stop falling out and then gradually regenerate after a few months of weekly treatments.