Hair Loss Treatment: Nizoral

Ketoconazole is an antifungal drug used to manage scalp conditions like dandruff. But ketoconazole is also used as a hair loss treatment for androgenetic alopecia (genetic pattern baldness) in both men and women.

Ketoconazole, also sold under the prescription name Nizoral works to decrease the production of testosterone, which when converted to a substance called DHT (dihydrotestosterone) destroys hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. With lower levels of testosterone to create DHT, hair follicles are healthier, and your hair is healthier and fuller.

It’s available as a shampoo, cream, and a pill to treat fungal infections, but for hair loss, the shampoo is used. Nizoral shampoo with 2 percent ketoconazole may be prescribed by a doctor as a hair loss treatment for androgenetic alopecia, generally in conjunction with other hair loss treatments. Other hair loss treatments for androgenetic alopecia include finasteride (Propecia) for men, oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy for women, topical minoxidil (Rogaine), spironolactone (Aldactone), cimetidine (Tagamet), and more.

Pros and Cons of Nizoral

Nizoral is easy to use — simply shampoo it into your scalp per your doctor's instructions. You can get a slightly weaker strength (1 percent) over the counter without a prescription, though it may not work as well against hair loss. And Nizoral is not a one-stop shop for hair loss treatment, since it's part of a hair loss treatment plan that involves other medications as well.

Side Effects of Nizoral

A major benefit of Nizoral is that it causes only minor side effects in those who use it. But some people may be allergic to ketoconazole and experience hives, rash, or trouble breathing.

Some skin problems may rarely result from the use of ketoconazole, including:

  • Blistering skin
  • Differences in the texture of the hair
  • Irritated or itchy skin
  • Dry skin

Who Should Use Nizoral

Men or women who have a fungal infection of the scalp, dandruff, or androgenetic alopecia might benefit from including Nizoral shampoo as part of their hair loss treatment plan. Those who have hair loss caused by telogen effluvium (which generally occurs due to a trauma like childbirth, surgery, or a major illness) may also experience less shedding and hair loss by using ketoconazole shampoo.

And men taking finasteride for treatment of androgenetic alopecia may experience better management of their hair loss by using Nizoral as well. Before taking Nizoral, notify your doctor if you are allergic to ketoconazole or any other medications or shampoos, or if are pregnant, nursing, or plan to become pregnant while using the medication. Also tell your doctor about any medications or supplements you are taking. Medication doses may need to be changed and you may need to be monitored for side effects.

The Cost of Nizoral

Over-the-counter Nizoral shampoo will run somewhere around $10 for a 4-ounce bottle or around $15 to $16 for a 7-ounce bottle. Prescription-strength shampoo costs will depend on whether or not your insurance will cover the medication, and the pharmacy where you purchase it. Most hair loss treatments are not covered by insurance.

There are a number of hair loss treatment options, and Nizoral shampoo may be an effective one for many men and women looking for the best combination of medications to grow a thicker, fuller, and more luxurious head of hair.

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