Finasteride, along with minoxidil, are the main drug treatments used to treat male pattern baldness.
One study found that using a two percent ketoconazole shampoo was nearly as effective for hair growth as two percent minoxidil shampoo.
What’s more, an animal study comparing ketoconazole to minoxidil and minoxidil with tretinoin had a “significant stimulatory” effect on hair growth, although minoxidil was found to be more effective.
According to the NHS, minoxidil can also be used to treat female pattern baldness but women shouldn’t use finasteride.
Specifically, women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not use finasteride or handle the crushed or broken tablets, warns Mayo Clinic.
“Finasteride can cause birth defects in male babies,” it says.
There are also general drawbacks to consider before taking minoxidil and finasteride.
According to the NHS, these treatments:
- Don’t work for everyone
- Only work for as long as they’re used
- Aren’t available on the NHS
- Can be expensive
Some wigs are available on the NHS, but you may have to pay unless you qualify for financial help.
Hair loss can be distressing so you may benefit from some counselling while you pursue different options.
“If your hair loss is causing you distress, your GP may be able to help you get some counselling,” says the NHS.
You may also benefit from joining a support group, or speaking to other people in the same situation on online forums.
Try these online support groups:
- Alopecia UK
- Alopecia Awareness