A new reportis warning about potential shortages of minoxidil, a drug used for treating hair thinning and loss, and notes it’s becoming hard to find in certain regions of the country.
Minoxidil is commonly used to treat androgenetic alopecia, which is male or female pattern hair loss, and according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, this condition affects nearly 50% of men and around 25% of women by the age of 50.
However, a new study conducted by researchers at George Washington University discovered shortages of the 30-day supplies of the drug in pharmacies within Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
“This study reveals a significant care gap resulting from shortages of this drug within the DMV, a gap that could translate to the national level,” Dr. Adam Friedman, professor and chair of dermatology at George Washington University, said. “Interruptions in the drug can lead to less effective treatment and, in some cases, psychological distress.”
Friedman notes that, although the topical form of minoxidil has been approved for a while, a dermatologist in 2015 found that a low oral dose might work better, and while the oral version lacks Food and Drug Administration approval, it is often prescribed by dermatologists, and this has resulted in a spike of interest in the drug.
Friedman and his team contacted 277 pharmacies, including CVS and Walgreens, in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. They found that only 40.1% could promptly provide 30-day prescriptions for minoxidil dosages of 2.5 milligrams.
Drug shortages can be problematic for dermatologists treating the condition because patients might need to discontinue the medication if they can't fill their prescription, and it could result in further hair loss, Friedman says.
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