30 million women in the US suffer from hair loss problems. It is estimated that about 50% or more women will experience hair loss issues. Female-pattern hair loss (FPHL) is a major reason for hair loss that affects almost one-third of women in the US. Some medications can be used for women’s hair loss; however, not all of these are approved by the FDA for treating it. Finasteride and Spironolactone are two such drugs that treat hair loss problems, and women also might benefit from them. Let us understand more about these two drugs in this article.
Finasteride is used primarily in men’s Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). It belongs to the drug class called 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. It is widely used for hair loss in men-but, women can also benefit from it. It takes about 3 months to show some results while on Finasteride.
Spironolactone is a medication used for the reduction of fluid retention caused due to liver, heart, and kidney problems. It belongs to the drug class called Aldosterone receptor antagonist. If you are a woman and planning to use this medication for hair loss, it would be best to talk to your doctor. It might take about a year for Spironolactone to show effective results.
It is advised not to take Finasteride if you are below 18.
No specific information about age is given.
Mechanism of Action
Finasteride works against hair loss by affecting Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is one of the hormones responsible primarily for hair loss. Finasteride works by affecting the conversion of testosterone to DHT as it concerns the conversion of testosterone to DHT, DHT levels in our body decrease and eventually prevent hair loss.
Spironolactone works against hair loss by acting against Androgens (Male sex hormone). It makes the process of androgen production slow which eventually slows down the hair loss activity.
OTC And Prescription Information
Finasteride is not an OTC medication. One should have a valid prescription to get Finasteride.
Spironolactone is a prescription medication only. One cannot buy it over the counter without a prescription.
Form and Dosages
Finasteride comes in the form of oral tablets. It is available in the strength of 5 mg tablets.
2.5 mg per day is the usual dosage of Finasteride for female hair loss.
Spironolactone is an oral medication. It is available as tablets. It comes in various strengths of 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg.
50-200 mg daily Spironolactone is prescribed for female hair loss.
How to Take Them?
Finasteride should be taken every day simultaneously, as long as the medication is advised. You can take it before or after having food. It should be taken only as suggested by the doctor. The doctor may change the dosage according to the responsiveness to the treatment.
Spironolactone can be taken before or after having food. It is preferred to take medicine at night, as it may cause drowsiness. It should be taken only as suggested by the doctor.
The dose can vary depending on the response to the treatment, and you may also prescribe other medicines or birth control pills to prevent other side effects.
Common Side Effects
- Loss of interest in sex
- Difficulty in getting an orgasm
- Lumps in breasts
- Swelling and weakness
- Inability to urinate
- Loss of interest in sex
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Weight gain
If you experience these side effects, consult your doctor immediately to prevent further adverse effects.
Finasteride may interact with the following medications:
- OTC medicines
- Herbal products
Spironolactone may interact with the following medications:
- NSAIDs such as Naproxen, Meloxicam and Ibuprofen.
- Muscle relaxers
- Health supplements
Discuss the medications with the doctor to avoid drug interactions or damage your health.
One should not take Finasteride in any of the conditions:
- Liver diseases
- Pregnant women
- Allergic to Finasteride
- Urinary problems
- Breastfeeding women
One should not take Spironolactone in any of the conditions:
- Liver disease
- Allergic to Spironolactone
- Problem in urination
- Addison’s disease
- Low levels of calcium and sodium in the blood
- Heart diseases
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
Discuss with your doctor the medical history before taking the medicines. The doctor may prescribe you drugs only in necessary conditions.
Which Is More Effective:
Finasteride and Spironolactone are both medicines used for hair loss in females.
A study was conducted by Ayman E. Yousef et al. to compare the effect of Finasteride and Spironolactone for the cure of Androgenetic alopecia (female hair loss).
Thirty-two participants comprising 16 males and 16 females were part of this study where 16 (8 women and 8 men) were assigned to Finasteride, and the other 16 (8 women and 8 men) were given Spironolactone for 6 months.
It was observed that both the groups- Finasteride and Spironolactone showed effective and similar results, but Spironolactone is slightly better than Finasteride as it has very few side effects. Thus, it can be said that both Finasteride and Spironolactone are effective, but Spironolactone is preferred more.
Difference Between Finasteride and Spironolactone:
- Spironolactone is available in multiple strength tablets like 25, 50, and 100 mg, while Finasteride comes in 1 and 5 mg tablets.
- Nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain are some side effects of Spironolactone, while swelling, runny nose, and weakness are side effects of Finasteride that are different from Spironolactone.
- Spironolactone can also be used for kidney failure and acne, while Finasteride can be used only for hair loss and enlarged prostate BPH.
Similarity Between Finasteride and Spironolactone:
- Both these medications can be used for hair loss problems in women.
- The FDA does not approve these medications to treat hair loss in females.
- The similar side effects associated with both the medications are loss of interest in sex and difficulty in orgasm.
Finasteride and Spironolactone are both medications that are not approved by the FDA for female hair loss but have proven effective. These medications show similar results, but Spironolactone is considered more effective and preferred over Finasteride.
It is necessary to take medical help before taking any of these medications and inform him about the entire medical history to select the appropriate medicine, depending upon the health, to reduce the risk of adverse effects.