Medicines that help treat baldness

Although hair loss rarely needs to be treated, many people seek treatment for cosmetic reasons.

In some cases the loss may be temporary if for example, it is due to chemotherapy. If it is caused by an infection or underlying condition, such as lupus, treating the problem may prevent further hair loss.

Men’s hair loss

Two licensed medicines for treating male pattern baldness are available from your local pharmacy, but you cannot get either on the NHS.

Propecia (containing finasteride) comes as a tablet is taken daily, but you might have to take it for up to six months before seeing any effects.

Regaine (containing minoxidil) is available as a lotion which is massaged daily onto the scalp. It also needs to be used for several months before any effect is seen.

Minoxidil is also licensed for female pattern baldness, but is only effective for one in four women.

With both products any improvements will be reversed when the medication is stopped. Ask for further advice at the pharmacy if you want to try either product.