Though it can often be a subject many refrain from speaking publicly about, hair loss is a condition that impacts millions of people worldwide. In fact, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, nearly half of all men and a quarter of all women will be affected by androgenetic alopecia—also known as male or female pattern hair loss—by the time they reach 50.
Luckily for those who struggle with hair loss, countless scientific advances have lead to the creation of different drugs and treatments that can yield life-changing results in recent years. One of the most notable hair-loss drugs on the market, minoxidil—the generic name for Rogaine—has made strides in promoting hair growth with both topical and oral usage since it’s institution. But now, a new minoxidil shortage could prove troublesome for those on their hair regrowth journey.
What The Shortage of Minoxidil Means
Minoxidil has proven to be very effective in promoting hair growth and thickening with consistent use, but professor and chair of dermatology at George Washington University, Adam Friedman, MD, cautions users that, upon stopping minoxidil, “you can go backwards and start losing your hair again.” Dr. Friedman’s warning is especially worrisome now, as new research has found that some pharmacies nationwide have been having trouble refilling minoxidil prescriptions.
Dr. Friedman first came across the shortage after realizing that many of his patients in the Washington D.C. area were struggling to obtain their 30-day minoxidil prescriptions. Dr. Friedman and his colleagues proceeded to call 277 pharmacies in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas to inquire about their minoxidil supplies, and found “considerable shortages” throughout. Of the pharmacies contacted, less than half were able to immediately fill the minoxidil dosage needed to treat hair loss.
Though the reason for the shortage is not confirmed, Dr. Friedman hypothesizes that the increased popularity of the drug across social and mainstream media could be contributing to the lessened supply. Regardless, Dr. Friedman is concerned about the shortage, explaining that “a substantial number of our patients are not going to be able to access minoxidil because of these shortages,” making it “a significant problem.”