When compared with no treatment, patients who received ethinyl estradiol 50 μg and cyproterone acetate 2 mg with cyproterone acetate 20 mg on days 5 to 20 of the menstrual cycle for 1 year had a significant increase in their percentage of anagen hairs with trends toward a larger shaft diameter of full anagen hairs and a decreased number of hairs that were less than 40 microns (Peereboom-Wynia et al., 1989). A 12-month randomized control trial of 66 women compared treatment with topical minoxidil 2% plus an oral contraceptive (ethinyl estradiol 30 μg + gestodene 75 μg) with treatment with cyproterone acetate 50 mg plus an oral contraceptive (ethinyl estradiol 35 μg + cyproterone acetate 2 mg) and demonstrated that treatment with cyproterone was more effective in hyderandrogenic patients but otherwise less effective (Vexiau et al., 2002). Side effects of cyproterone acetate include weight gain, breast tenderness, and a decreased libido (Kelly et al., 2016). Hepatotoxicity and development of multiple meningiomas may occur when doses exceed 25 mg daily (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, 2009). Cyproterone acetate is used widely in Europe and Canada, either in an isolated form or in combination with ethinyl estradiol, but it is only available in the United States as an orphan drug for the treatment of hirsutism (Carmina and Lobo, 2003, Jurzyk et al., 1992, Kelly et al., 2016). Cyproterone acetate is classified as pregnancy category X.
In men, finasteride (originally marketed as Proscar) is approved for hair loss associated with androgens. In one study, 62% of women also taking oral contraceptives containing the synthetic progestin drospirenone reported improvement. So it may be effective for female hair loss in the setting of increased androgen. But studies are limited and it is harmful to the male fetus so should not be used by women thinking about becoming pregnant or who are pregnant.
The different phases may last for varying periods of times from several years in anagen, to a few months in telogen or several weeks in anagen. Fortunately not all hair follicles are in the same phase at the same time. So the majority of the follicles will be in anagen phase, while a smaller amount will be in the catagen phase and a few follicles will be in the telogen phase. This ensures that there is always some hair present even when the follicle is not active and the hair is not growing.
Staphylococcal blepharitis causes lid margin inflammation and folliculitis which destroys the hair follicle resulting in madarosis which is usually non-scarring, but occasionally may be scarring, especially if long standing. Seborrhoeic blepharitis is very often associated with secondary bacterial infections and can result in madarosis either due to associated staphylococcal infection or due to rubbing caused by itching.
MICHAEL REED, MD: Over-the-counter minoxidil, which is the brand Rogaine, is FDA approved. It's been shown to be effective in scientific studies. Propecia is the new drug on the block, and that probably is more effective. It's a pill that you take once a day, and that has been shown to slow down hair loss and grow hair in a significant number of individuals. Most of the other preparations that are heavily advertised or marketed are not proven to be effective.