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Tom Caron

Dr. Robert Leonard Questions Latest Survey in Consumer Reports Regarding Hair Loss Treatments

The May issue of Consumer Reports Health features a report about products that treat hair loss such as Rogaine® and Propecia®. It offers results of surveys by readers of the magazine about their experiences with remedies for balding.  I definitely have some problems with the reported results.  The entire story is based on results from a survey, and not a study. 

Who knows of how many of the more than 8,000 online respondents who began these treatments were ever made aware of their benefits, time table for expected results, realistic expectations of results, and what to look for and when, but abandoned the treatment before they even became effective because they didn’t realize that they needed to use them for much longer than they actually did use them.

Likewise, it is extremely difficult to self monitor efficacy with any hair loss remedy.  It takes so long for these to even begin to work (usually three to four months) that people very often abandon therapy long before they even become effective!  This is why I think it is imperative for my patients to be examined on an every-six-month basis.  I can observe a difference with this number of months going by that the patient most often cannot discern or notice him- or herself.

It is incredulous to see that only 4% of respondents found Rogaine to be effective!  In my practice, Rogaine–if used twice a day, everyday—stabilized hair shedding in approximately 70% of patients and regrew hair in about 50% of people.  They have to use it faithfully and for at least a year to see its benefits.  I very commonly hear from patients who have used it before I examined them indicate that it didn’t work.  Every time this occurred, it was due to them using it only once a day and for too short of a time.

So, in order to achieve proven benefits from Laser Therapy, Rogaine, and/or Propecia, it is really necessary to use them for long enough time and to be evaluated by an educated expert to assess their efficacy.

Please contact me at any time with questions.