New Genetic Androgen Sensitivity Test Helps Predict Finasteride Response in Female Hair Loss Sufferers
A new simple genetic test could help tens of millions of female hair loss suffers determine whether or not finasteride (brand name: Propecia) may be an effective treatment for them to regain lost hair.
Although finasteride remains the primary FDA-approved treatment for male pattern hair loss, doctors have been reluctant to prescribe it 'off-label' for women with hereditary hair loss (androgenetic alopecia or AGA) due to the risk of potential birth defects in sons of women of childbearing age and conflicting studies regarding its effectiveness.
However, anecdotal reports in the medical literature of the successful treatment of women with finasteride have spurred scientists to develop a new test to help doctors more accurately select female patients who might respond to the treatment.
"We know that finasteride is 90-percent effective for male pattern hair loss, but we've seen only about a 50/50 chance of success with our female patients," said Alan J. Bauman, M.D., a board-certified hair restoration surgeon whose practice is divided equally between male and female patients. "Prior to this test, we've taken the wait-and-see approach with female patients.
For those women who did not respond well to the treatment, it was a waste of time and money. This new test will be a tremendous asset in our fight against female hair loss, as we now have a scientific way of predicting how a woman may respond to finasteride before prescribing it."
Androgen sensitivity is calculated from an epigenetic weighted evaluation of the CAG alleles on the Androgen Receptor (AR-CAG) gene obtained from a simple cheek swab. Implicated in a number of medical conditions like acne, hirsutism and polycystic ovary syndrome, androgens can also interfere with hair growth in many who are genetically susceptible to hereditary hair loss.
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