Hair growth effects of oral administration of finasteride, a steroid 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor, alone and in combination with topical minoxidil in the balding stumptail macaque.


Diani AR, Mulholland MJ, Shull KL, Kubicek MF, Johnson GA, Schostarez

HJ, Brunden MN, Buhl AE


Upjohn Laboratories, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49001.


J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 74: 2, 1992 Feb, 345-50


A 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor, finasteride, was administered orally at 0.5 mg/day, alone or in combination with topical 2% minoxidil, for 20 weeks to determine the effects on scalp hair growth in balding adult male stumptail macaque monkeys. A 7-day dose-finding study showed that both 0.5- and 2.0-mg doses of the drug produced a similar diminution in serum dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in male stumptails. Hair growth was evaluated by shaving and weighing scalp hair at baseline and at 4-week intervals during treatment to obtain cumulative delta hair weight (sum of the 4-week changes in hair weight from baseline) for the 20-week study. The activity of the 5 alpha-reductase enzyme was assessed by RIA of serum testosterone (T) and DHT at 4-week intervals. The combination of finasteride and minoxidil generated significant augmentation of hair weight (additive effect) compared to either drug alone. Finasteride increased hair weight in four of five monkeys. When the data of the one nonresponsive monkey were excluded, finasteride elicited a significant elevation in hair weight compared to topical vehicle alone. Minoxidil also evoked a significant increase in hair weight compared to vehicle alone. Serum T was unchanged, whereas serum DHT was significantly depressed in monkeys that received either finasteride or the combination of finasteride and minoxidil. These data suggest that inhibition of the conversion of T to DHT by this 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor reverses the balding process and enhances hair regrowth by topical minoxidil in the male balding stumptail macaque.

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