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Hair Loss (Alopecia)

The lack or loss of hair from areas of the body where hair is usually found.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

Causes of hair loss include the following:

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Treatments for alopecia areata, alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis

There is no good trial evidence that any treatments provide long‐term benefit to patients with alopecia areata, alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis.

Treatments for female pattern hair loss

The most common type of hair loss in women is female pattern hair loss, also known as androgenic alopecia. Unlike men, they do not go bald, but have hair thinning predominantly over the top and front of the head. It can occur at any time, from puberty until later in life. However, it occurs more frequently in postmenopausal women.

Efficacy and safety of finasteride therapy for androgenetic alopecia: a systematic review

CONTEXT: Androgenetic alopecia is the most common form of alopecia in men.

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Summaries for consumers

Treatments for alopecia areata, alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis

There is no good trial evidence that any treatments provide long‐term benefit to patients with alopecia areata, alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis.

Treatments for female pattern hair loss

The most common type of hair loss in women is female pattern hair loss, also known as androgenic alopecia. Unlike men, they do not go bald, but have hair thinning predominantly over the top and front of the head. It can occur at any time, from puberty until later in life. However, it occurs more frequently in postmenopausal women.

Drug treatments for chronic hair‐pulling (trichotillomania)

Trichotillomania (TTM) (hair‐pulling disorder) is a common and disabling condition characterised by repeated hair‐pulling leading to hair loss. TTM can be associated with much distress and impairment for people with the condition. This systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) set out to review the evidence for medication in treating TTM. The findings are based on eight studies (which included a total of 204 people). Not enough evidence was found to conclude definitively that any particular medication is effective in the treatment of TTM. Furthermore, side effects related to medications were not well‐documented in the majority of the studies. Because of differences in the way the included studies were carried out, we were unable to combine their results to draw more conclusive evidence. However, an early trial found some evidence for the efficacy of clomipramine, and two recent trials reported statistically significant treatment outcomes with olanzapine and N‐acetylcysteine. More research is needed to find an optimal treatment for TTM.

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More about Hair Loss

Photo of an adult woman

Also called: Hair loss disorder, Loss of hair

Other terms to know:
Alopecia Areata, Cicatricial Alopecia, Hair Follicle

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