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September 2003

Minoxidil vs Finasteride in the Treatment of Men With Androgenetic Alopecia

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Copyright 2003 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2003

Arch Dermatol. 2003;139(9):1219-1221. doi:10.1001/archderm.139.9.1219-a

Androgenetic alopecia (AA) is most commonly treated with topical minoxidil or oral finasteride. No study comparing these 2 agents has been published.

Ninety-nine men (age range, 18-45 years; average age, 28 years) with moderate midfrontal and/or vertex balding were randomized to receive either oral finasteride (1 mg/d) or topical 2% minoxidil (1 mL twice daily) for 12 months (Table 1). At this time, the patients were asked if they wanted to continue treatment for another year; 43 (83%) of the finasteride-treated and 38 (81%) of the minoxidil-treated patients elected to do so. Hairs were counted in a blinded manner using a ×30 handheld microscope (Micronta Corp, Hong Kong) on a square area (0.49 cm2) that was marked off on the baldest area of the scalp. The distance of this area from 3 fixed anatomical landmarks (the tips of the nose and ears) was recorded using a plastic template. All hairs arising from within this area were directly counted at baseline and at months 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24. The hairs were classified as thick or thin based on whether their diameter as seen under the microscope was more or less than 80% of that of the subject's normal occipital hair. Only terminal hairs were counted as thick, with indeterminate or vellus hair being counted as thin.