Sidney,Australia (RushPRNews)12/08/08-A WORLD-FIRST trial could bring hope to the 700,000 Australian women affected by severe hair loss. Doctors at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne aim to prove that a drug, spironolactone, used to reduce excessive facial and body hair also stops hair loss on the scalp of women, and stimulates partial hair growth in up to a third of sufferers.
They hope to encourage doctors – many of whom tell women there is no treatment for hair loss – to prescribe medication more widely.
The plan is to develop the drug in an implant form which would allow treatment for up to three years without the need for a daily tablet. A patch such as those used by smokers trying to quit would also be trialled.
Rod Sinclair, professor of dermatology at St Vincent’s, said up to 55percent of Australian women would suffer hair loss during their lifetime. It often develops after menopause but Professor Sinclair said up to 10percent of teenage girls and 20percent of women in their 30s were affected. There is no known cure and treatment is limited.
“Often these women come to us in tears. A lot of the time they are so distressed they end up on antidepressants,” he said.
“Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in finding new treatments for male baldness but with women it is still very much a taboo subject.”
About 80 women are being recruited to the spironolactone trial. While there is some evidence the drug is effective in arresting the progress of female baldness, the trial will be the first to provide medical proof. Half of the women will take a placebo and the rest will be given the medication.
The cause of female hair loss is unknown but genetics and stress are thought to play a role. Normally three hairs grow out of one pore. While men lose all the hair from the pore, women tend to lose two, usually leaving a thin covering of hair.
Sebastiana Biondo, a clinical psychologist and hair loss expert from the Skin and Cancer Foundation, said some women used camouflage make-up or tattoos to hide bald or thinning patches on the scalp.
Some forms of alopecia – a form of hair loss – can cause complete baldness, including eyebrows and eyelashes.
Source: Sidney Morning Herald