Female pattern alopecia: current perspectives
Lauren L Levy, Jason J Emer
Department of Dermatology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA
Abstract: Hair loss is a commonly encountered problem in clinical practice, with men presenting with a distinctive pattern involving hairline recession and vertex balding (Norwood-Hamilton classification) and women exhibiting diffuse hair thinning over the crown (increased part width) and sparing of the frontal hairline (Ludwig classification). Female pattern hair loss has a strikingly overwhelming psychological effect; thus, successful treatments are necessary. Difficulty lies in successful treatment interventions, as only two medications – minoxidil and finasteride – are approved for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia, and these medications offer mediocre results, lack of a permanent cure, and potential complications. Hair transplantation is the only current successful permanent option, and it requires surgical procedures. Several other medical options, such as antiandrogens (eg, spironolactone, oral contraceptives, cyproterone, flutamide, dutasteride), prostaglandin analogs (eg, bimatoprost, latanoprost), and ketoconazole are reported to be beneficial. Laser and light therapies have also become popular despite the lack of a profound benefit. Management of expectations is crucial, and the aim of therapy, given the current therapeutic options, is to slow or stop disease progression with contentment despite patient expectations of permanent hair regrowth. This article reviews current perspectives on therapeutic options for female pattern hair loss.
Keywords: androgenetic alopecia, female pattern hair loss, minoxidil, finasteride, antiandrogens, spironolactone
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