Flutamide and Hair Loss
Find out more about topical flutamide and male pattern baldness.
What Is Flutamide?
Flutamide is a medication that is approved by the FDA to treat prostate cancer. It is taken in tablet form several times per day.
Be aware that flutamide is NOT approved to treat hair loss. However, because of its potent anti-androgen qualities it has been used off-label to treat acne and hair loss – usually as a topical gel or cream.
How Does Topical Flutamide Work?
Flutamide blocks androgen receptors in the body. By doing so, it inhibits the effect of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (dht).
When using topical flutamide, the aim is to lower androgen and dht levels in the scalp. If dht is reduced, then hopefully hair follicles will stop shrinking and hair loss will be halted.
Can Flutamide Regrow Hair?
Evidence that flutamide may regrow hair is limited but positive.
- 40 patients (male and female) were diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia. Patients received either 5% topical minoxidil vs. 2% topical flutamide plus 5% minoxidil for 6 months. The results showed that topical flutamide plus minoxidil solution was significantly superior to minoxidil in increasing hair density and hair thickness.(1)
- A female suffering from androgenetic alopecia continued to lose hair on minoxidil and spironolactone. However, she regrew hair while using oral flutamide. (2)
- 101 women were studied for 4 years while talking oral flutamide. After 12 months of use, the participants showed an improvement in their hair loss. (3)
There’s also several other studies that show oral flutamide has a favourable effect on hair loss. Most topical flutamide studies (except for the one highlighted above) have been conducted on animals rather than humans.
Why Not Use Oral Flutamide For Hair Loss?
The reason people are keen to try topical rather than oral flutamide is to lessen systemic absorption in the body.
Studies have shown that taking flutamide by mouth is associated with greater androgen suppression. Unfortunately, this can also cause increased liver toxicity and other undesirable side effects.
Is Topical Flutamide Safe?
With topical flutamide it is hoped that any side effects will be minor and limited to the scalp. This may include issues such as skin irritation and itching.
Overuse of topical flutamide may increase the risk of systemic absorption. This might increase side effects to include problems often caused by oral flutamide.
In men, this may mean hot flushes, decreased muscle mass, gynecomastia and breast tenderness. Sexual side effects such as erectile dysfunction have also been linked to flutamide.
At high doses, liver injury has been reported.
Who Can Use Topical Flutamide?
Topical flutamide is not currently approved by the FDA for the treatment of hair loss. However, it is sometimes prescribed by Dr’s off-label for this purpose.
In reality, a Dr is only likely to prescribe flutamide if other hair loss treatments have failed to work.
Some people online purchase flutamide via third country pharmacies which they then ship to their own country. WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS APPROACH. There is no guarantee that flutamide will be genuine.
Any hair loss medication that needs a prescription should always be taken under the care of a medical professional.
How To Use Topical Flutamide
The studies that have investigated topical flutamide for hair loss and skin conditions usually apply it twice daily. A flutamide concentration of 2% was used in human studies.
Always remember that the note flutamide you use, the more will be absorbed into your body. At higher doses, the risk of side effects will increase.
What To Expect When Using Topical Flutamide
As flutamide is not approved for use in hair loss disorders, the results are hard to predict. Research suggests it may be beneficial for people who have not gained good results with other products. However, study numbers are small and side effects concerning.
When using any medication off-label you are taking a risk. Risk tolerance is for each person to decide. If you decide to use flutamide and experience any serious adverse reactions, stop using it and talk to your doctor.
Like any other synthetic anti-androgen, flutamide has the potential to slow hair loss. However, anti-androgen therapy can severely impact the human body. It may mean a trade off for more hair but accepting prolonged side effects.
Using anti-androgens topically aims to limit body absorption while still being helpful for hair loss. To date, no topical anti-androgen has been approved by the FDA.