Additional tests may be ordered. These include:
• Thyroid tests to detect abnormal thyroid functioning.
• Blood tests to exclude low iron or ferritin levels. (Ferritin is an iron containing protein synthesized in the liver and found in the blood.) A blood test can also screen for shortages in other nutrients, or determine whether you have syphilis.
• Laboratory screening tests for elevated androgens, or a hormonal imbalance. Either could be a sign that hair loss is due to androgenetic alopecia.
A s OF 1 999, the only medicines that have been officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat
hair loss are minoxidil, better known by one of its trade names, Rogaine; and finasteride, or Propecia. Finasteride, however, is not recommended for women because of its numerous health risks, including birth defects. Minoxidil, better known as Rogaine, is available as both an over the counter drug (the 2 percent version) and as a prescription medication (the 5 percent version).
There are many other drugs that effectively fight baldness, but they are not yet officially approved to do so. Nonetheless, many dermatologists are successfully using them to treat hair loss in women. These drugs are described in this section.
Ali the antibaldness medications listed here are classified as drugs. As a handy reference, they are listed alphabetically.