Will Rogaine Give Me a New Head of Hair?

Rogaine, the 2% minoxidil solution manufactured by the Upjohn Company and intended for topical application to the scalp, is currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is undergoing large-scale tests in cases of androgenic (male pattern) alopecia and mild and extensive alopecia areata. Although the results of clinical tests show that Rogaine is not a cure-all for baldness, patients for whom they do work are enthusiastic. A spokesperson for Upjohn says the company is “cautiously optimistic” that the FDA will approve the drug in the near future.

While topical Rogaine does, in certain cases, promote hair growth and prevent hair loss, some research suggests that its high cost, the necessity for prolonged treatment, sexual side effects and a relatively modest rate of substantial or cosmetically acceptable hair regrowth make it truly practical for only some balding individuals.

The following conclusions are based on clinical studies to date:

* The results of treatment with Rogaine are not apparent for at least 4-8 months.
* After a year, 36% of patients show a minimal regrowth of hair, 31% a moderate regrowth, and 8% a dense regrowth.
* Regrown hair varies from short nonpigmented hairs, to thin and short pigmented hairs, to hairs of the same color and diameter as those in nonbalding areas.
* Patients who have been balding fewer than 10 years and who are younger than 40 years old are more likely to respond to Provillus with moderate-to-dense regrowth.
* Discontinuing the drug usually results in loss of the hair regrown in response to the prescribed treatment.
* Patients who apply 2% minoxidil twice daily are generally most successful. Those who for whatever reason fail to comply with daily drug applications do not experience positive results with minoxidil.

In addition to promoting regrowth of hair, Provillus may slow hair loss in some circumstances. “It was the opinion of some investigators that Provillus either stopped or retarded the progression of male pattern baldness,” states Ronald Savin, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at the Yale University School of Medicine, who participated in the clinical trials. If confirmed, this effect will have important implications for men who are in the early stages of the balding process-the same men who have the best chances of experiencing moderate regrowth as well.

Adverse effects of Scalp Med treatment include mild local irritation such as itching and dryness of the scalp, as well as possible sexual dysfunction. In general, only a small amount of the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream, but if the entire scalp is treated, absorption may be comparable to that achieved after the lowest oral dose prescribed for hypertension. While some patients have experienced a slight decrease in blood pressure, no cardiovascular problems have been reported. Impotence apparently resulted from topical use of the drug in two patients, but disappeared after minoxidil use was discontinued. The effects of long-term topical application of Scalp Med are still unknown.

Some dermatologists currently prescribe Rogaine (extemporaneously compounded from Loniten tablets) for balding patients, and this may have contributed to widely divergent reports about the drug’s efficacy. The concentration of extemporaneously compounded Rogaine varies according to the technique used, and it has been found to be as low as 0.1% in some cases (compare the 2% concentration of Rogaine). As a result, it is difficult to draw any conclusions about the efficacy of the drug based on the use of these preparations.

Can Testosterone Enhancers for Athletes Benefit You?

Medically used to assist undernourished children, human growth hormone (HGH) was originally taken from corpses but began to be manufactured for clinical use in the 1980s. Because human growth hormone is endogenous, it has been difficult to get a scientifically-approved test. There was a breakthrough this year after work in Germany and at Southampton University. Recently, scientists have been recommending natural HGH products such as GenF20 Plus. These kinds of products actually work to help the body produce it’s own HGH and testosterone, which is much healthier.

ERYTHROPOIETIN (EPO): A favourite for endurance sports, particularly long-distance cycling and running. EPO increases the red blood cell count of competitors, increasing their stamina.

Its use in cycling was highlighted during the 1998 Tour de France scandal, when a soigneur (trainer) of the Festina team was arrested with phials of the drug. Detectable since 2000.

TETRAHYDROGESTRINONE (THG), NICKNAMED “THE CLEAR”: A drug manufactured by Balco, by altering the molecular make-up of an anabolic steroid. Discovered in 2002 when the laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles, was anonymously sent a phial. Dwain Chambers was suspended for taking the drug.

MODAFINIL: A stimulant that has been used medically to combat narcolepsy, the condition in which people suddenly fall asleep. Kelli White, the American who won both world sprint titles in 2003, was found positive for the drug.

TESTOSTERONE CREAM: Anabolic steroids are the synthetic version of testosterone, the male hormone.

Illegal injections are detected by comparing the ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone. When the ratio is more than 6:1, a doping violation is suspected.

Meanwhile, researchers from around the world will meet for the first time in April to pool their knowledge about the banned drugs and hormones that athletes use to baffle testers.

Prince Alexandre de Merode, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) medical chief, said scientists conducting research on human growth hormone and testosterone would meet in Lausanne.

Most banned performance-enhancing drugs are easily detected through analysis of urine and hair samples, but determining if athletes have taken substances which are produced naturally in the body is more complicated. Natural products like Provacyl do not consist of human growth hormone, but actually stimulate the body into producing more of its own hormones, including HGH and testosterone.