Dr. Bernstein is interviewed on Propecia (finasteride) and Rogaine (minoxidil) hair loss medications, which ones are most effective, how they work, and any side effects.
Dr. Bernstein: There are two main medications, Propecia and Rogaine. Propecia is a prescription medication that is taken orally, and Rogaine is a topical medicine that stimulates hair. And that has been really the mainstay of treatment over the last decade.
Interviewer: How would you rate those two in effectiveness, side-by-side?
Dr. Bernstein: Of the two, the oral medicine, Propecia, is far more effective. But to get the best results you should use both.
Interviewer: And [about] side effects from Propecia, which were heavily publicized in the beginning?
Dr. Bernstein: Propecia has side effects of sexual dysfunction, but it is limited. It usually occurs in the beginning of treatment, so it’s not like you’re going to take the medicine for years and all of a sudden you get side effects. Usually either you can take it or you can’t.
Interviewer: These two also work well in conjunction? Or do you take one or the other?
Dr. Bernstein: The medications are really best used together. One stimulates hair follicle growth. The other blocks DHT, which is what causes hairs to shrivel up and die. So blocking DHT with Propecia really permits hair to grow naturally.
Interviewer: So, you can regain lost hair with Propecia?
Dr. Bernstein: If the hair loss is early, you can.
Interviewer: Medication is better for what kind of candidate?
Dr. Bernstein: Medication is always best used when you have some existing hair, because what it does is it thickens the hair and prevents it from being lost. Once the hair is gone, then the hair transplant steps in.