Propecia versus Rogaine (Minoxidil) NYC - (212) 644-9494 - New York, NY

Propecia and Rogaine can be effective hair loss treatments, but they do not work the same.

When first announced as cures for hair loss, both Rogaine ( minoxidil) and Propecia ( finasteride) were hailed to be as important as the introduction of birth control pills and the Salk vaccine. Finally, going bald would be a choice, not an immutable verdict of nature.

Both have been available for a generation of use and proved to be helpful to men (both medications) and women (Rogaine only). But each comes with its own set of efficacy, side effects and costs. Following are the pros and cons of each, to help you decide if either is right for you.

Propecia & Rogaine: External vs. internal application

Rogaine is applied topically to the scalp (foam or lotion), and Propecia is taken internally as a pill. Rogaine must be applied twice daily without interruption to remain effective, and uninterrupted use is required of Propecia as well.

For many people something you apply directly to the skin will always be preferred over an internal medication. This is because some medications that pass through the digestive system and the liver can be detrimental to certain internal organs. There are no known serious detrimental effects on the liver or other internal organs from taking Propecia.

Propecia & Rogaine: Effectiveness

Both Propecia and Rogaine are effective but in varying degrees with different types of individuals. Propecia, according to Merck & Co., its manufacturer, halts hair loss in a majority of those taking it (86 percent) and helps regrow hair in almost half (48 percent) of patients. The product is not available for women. Rogaine is 30 to 40 percent effective in its regular (2 percent) formulation and between 50 and 60 percent with its extra-strength (5 percent) version. Dense regrowth of hair, however, is uncommon (8 percent of users), and actual gains in hair count are less frequent as well (30 percent). It is more effective for women than for men.

With both Propecia and Rogaine, earlier use in patients under 40 will yield the greatest results. And the baldness that is prevented or reversed tends to be on the crown of the head, not at the hairline (which will continue to recede over time).