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Compare  2



This page is a continuation of   Compare 1

It presents some weak and negative  points of Propecia and Minoxidil from some published Research /  Press reports. Propecia details are presented first. Minoxidil details come after that. 

They are the only 'relief' products accepted by the Medical World, available for the male pattern alopecia sufferers. Despite the weak points this page presents, they are much better than Cosmetic Products which I think are much worse in product efficacy


Some weak points of Propecia


Weakness of DHT theory - my views


Finasteride, the active ingredient of Propecia, acts as a blocker of DHT, Dihydroxy Testosterone.  According to Merck, DHT is the major cause for hereditary baldness

This theory is flawed at the outset in my view. Testosterone / male hormone [T of DHT] production goes down after age 40 and consequently  the production of DHT has to go down. So, if this theory is right, with aging, many should come out of male pattern alopecia baldness / hairloss on their own, without any medicine. And the reality is just the opposite, if we look around. Secondly all males produce the male hormone. But Propecia is claimed to be effective only with 50% of male pattern alopecia cases. This is not explained.

Proscar contains roughly 5 times more Finasteride compared to Propecia. Millions must have taken Proscar to ease enlarged prostrates. Proscar is earlier to Propecia and the users must have included hereditary hairloss sufferers too.

I did not find any mention anywhere that they or anyone got control of hairloss or gained hair growth. Merck could have conducted a survey and found the actual position. Either they did not do it, doctors did not notice any beneficial side effect or the findings are not disclosed to the public. Proscar should reinforce Propecia. It does not

Instead, I see distinct disassociation. This act does not impress me at all. My impression is that they underplay other relevant / inconvenient points.


Weakness of Propecia


Propecia is a  patented and branded product of E. Merck. It contains Finasteride.

Express Pharma Pulse dated 1-1-98.
source: The Financial Times of Reuter's report: Selected quotes:

       ..." Price stressed that the new drug was for men only because it can cause birth defects in developing foetuses. ..Women who are pregnant or who may be pregnant should not even handle the tablets if they are crushed or broken"..

       ..." And it won't work on areas that are bald as a baby's bottom or billiard ball"  Price said.." 


Reprint of AP report by Times of India, Ahmedabad dt 27-12-97:  Selected quotes:

      ...." The Food and Drug Administration announced Monday that it approved Propecia, the first pill for  Male Pattern Baldness, "...

       ..." For men, Propecia is not a miracle pill. About half who use it, grow varying amounts of hair and men may have to use it for six months to a year before they learn whether they are among  the half that benefits, Washenik said".. 

At best, only 50% can be impacted, illustrates the weakness of the theory and the product based on that


Other drawbacks as I see it


1.  Propecia was approved only by 8 out of 13 panelists in the FDA approval committee. It was not approved by all. FDA asked Merck to supply a neutral Shampoo to supplement Propecia. Why

2.  E. Merck presented photo proofs to FDA to show the impact of Propecia in the Vertex and Anterior areas. If that is a supportive proof for getting FDA approval, why such photo proofs for Hair Regain is not easily available to the public in the web site ? It raises doubts. 

3.  Propecia was tested with over 1800 persons for 2 years. Users self assessments was one of the 4 testing methods - Yet there are no worthwhile report of any single user, in my view, in their site

4.  DHT theory cannot explain or solve hairloss amongst female - and they account for 50% population.


Some weak points of Minoxidil


Minoxidil  - Upjohn to Pharmicia Upjohn to Pfizer: now Pfizer is looking for a buyer [2009 news]


Minoxidil is a blood dilator.  One of its undesirable side effects was 'growth of hair in unwanted places' amongst some patients. This drawback led to a concoction - 'minoxidil 2%' in alcoholic media as a topical application product claiming that it can stimulate hair gain / growth - additional demand for the unexpected side effect of Minoxidil ?


One research finding - The Drawback


Source: Recent Advances in Dermatology; Book No 8 Editors: R.H. Champion  & R.J.Pye; Churchill Livingstone; 1990. Male pattern alopecia - selected sentences only

Now "Olsen, who reported the first dose response studies of topical minoxidil (Olsen et al 1986), has recently reported on the long term follow up results in men with male pattern alopecia whom she has now treated  for nearly 3 years. In only 4.9% of these patients was the result assessed as ' moderate'. 82.9% of patients having 'minimal response.'......"

"Hair regrowth induced by topical minoxidil is lost once the drug is stopped"..

"Published results on the treatment of androgenic alopecia with topical Minoxidil in women are so far incomplete"....


some more views


1. 'Coping with Sudden Hair Loss' - Elizabeth Steel  [book published prior to 1994]

The book mentions that Minoxidil 5% which was not permitted in US, was tried in some European Countries without much success. Minoxidil 2% was also not that effective and useful for many. The author is a TV announcer. She wears a wig because of her hair condition.

2.  Rogaine Extra Strength: It is Minoxidil 5% solution. The product, Minoxidil 2%, has been used by 5 Million persons since 1988. Extra Strength has not been clinically demonstrated for women and so, it is not sold in America. Yet, the product was sold to women in 14 other countries under the brand name, 'rogaine'. 

After 2003 or 2004, this 5% has become an OTC product in America. For further / current details, refer to the website  http://www.rogaine.com

3. Torrent Pharmaceuticals, Dr.Reddy's Laboratories, and perhaps some more in India, got the license to produce  / sell Minoxidil in India. 

Torrent sold the product under the brand name  'Multigain'. In the leaflet circulated amongst Doctors by M/s Torrent Pharmaceuticals,  Dr. Olsen's initial report of 1985, but not her 1987 unfavourable report, based on 3 years trials of Minoxidil, [quoted above] was mentioned. Torrent withdrew the product by 1995.

On 28th November, 2010, I chanced to note on CNBC TV18 that Shri Satish Reddy, son of Dr. Anji Reddy, founder of Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, is balding - near rank 4 in Hamilton's ascending baldness scale. Father has better density of hair. They sell Minoxidil under the name Mintop for the last 15 years or more.

4. Minoxidil is available to the public perhaps from 1985 or so. It is a product with over 120 Million Dollar Sales as of 1998 or 1999. Nearly 80% of minoxidil sales is in America, when I last checked in 2002. That Users get reimbursement from Insurance Companies may be a relevant point.

I did not see one photo proof for Minoxidil, when I went through several Dermatological Books between 1992 to 1996. 


The Photographic Proofs


These companies have a larger number of users and the finance. Yet they have not presented comparative photo proofs.  Why ?

Propecia presented photo proofs as a supportive evidence to FDA. Why do they not show similar or better ones to the public?


One Limitation in Presentation


The comparison has been made by me and not by any outsider or independent agency. I made these tables to present my achievement, for whatever it is worth, as an individual. These are the limitations in the above table contents. 

The information in this note does not constitute Medical advice.


Important End Note


Despite the above negative points, these products have immense relevance to male pattern alopecia sufferers. Some did gain instead of nothing earlier to the introduction of these products. From that point of view since I know the pain from a sufferer's point of view, have relevance. These are products with world wide reach. The sufferers are also spread across the World. If it helps some, that is good.



I conveyed about the introduction of these two pages to the 2 companies in 2003. Till 6-1-2008, nothing has been heard from them or from any researcher. Please also refer to these 2 companies web sites for latest product information. http://www.propecia.com  and http://www.rogaine.com



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