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Gone today, hair tomorrow?


The bald eagle may become an even more endangered species with the advent of yet another hair restorer that shows promise, as reported at the recent annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in San Francisco. Dr. Richard Strick at the University of California, Los Angeles, has been testing a new drug, cyoctol, for nearly a year on 32 men, with an average 21 percent increase of hair growth in those who received the drug, compared with those used a placebo.

The 32, all of whom were tested by rubbing an ointment into a small bald area on the back of their scalps, were divided into three groups. The first were given an ointment containing 0.5 percent cyoctol, while those in the second group used ointment containing only 0.1 percent. Ointment for the third group contained none of the drug. After 40 to 48 weeks, the first group had acquired an average of 40 new hairs, the second had virtually none, and the third group lost an average of 65 hairs (although some regrew part of their mini-manes after discontinuing placebo use).

Although 40 hairs do not a Mohawk make, the conferees showed considerable interest in the report, since the admittedly small study produced results not dissimilar fromthose in early studies of the only drug presently approved by the FDA for baldness, minoxidil, available only by prescription. (Earlier this month, the FDA ruled that all over-the-counter products being sold as hair-restorers fail to show any evidence of doing what their manufacturers claim - yet a gullible public continues to spend millions each year on these worthless products.) Experts believe the drug prevents male sex hormones from doing their dastardly deeds on hair follicles of the male scalp, as is the horrible fate of those, like your editor, cursed by androgenetic alopecia, the most common cause of male pattern baldness. Cyoctol binds itself to the hair follicle cells, preventing the cells from binding with dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male hormone. Previous research has shown that both hair loss and acne seem to occur in the presence of high DHT levels near the skin's surface. E.R. Squibb & Sons, Inc., the Princeton, N.J.-based company that owns the drug's U.S. marketing and production rights, says it is primarily interested in marketing it for acne treatment. Uh-huh, right, sure - but just wait until further tests are conclusive enough to apply for FDA approval as a hair-restorer!

Although some dermatologists are concerned that drugs which act against male hormones might be absorbed into the bloodstream and thereby affect male sexuality, Dr. Strick's group showed no such absorption. Should this happen, however, the would-be drug user would face a fascinating dilemma. How does one weigh the possibility of a more youthful appearance that might make one more attractive to the opposite sex against the possibility that this magic elixir might in turn reduce one's sexual desire? A hairy situation, no?
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Title Annotation:cyoctol as treatment for baldness
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Jan 1, 1990
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