Male pattern baldness

South Med J. 2000 Jul;93(7):657-62.


Background: Male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia (AGA) in men, occurs with varying severity and age of onset. Two new treatments widely available as alternatives to 2% minoxidil are 1 mg finasteride and topical 5% minoxidil. Finasteride is a 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor available by prescription only; 5% minoxidil is available over the counter.

Methods: We searched MEDLINE to identify all articles on AGA and its pharmacologic therapies.

Results: We found limited information on AGA in peer review medical journals. Associated diseases include psychologic disorders and coronary heart disease. Hair growth is unpredictable and limited for all pharmacologic therapies, with the vast majority of treatment studies being industry sponsored.

Conclusion: AGA is not easy to treat. Finasteride and 5% minoxidil offer new therapeutic options to the balding man. Treatment options may improve as new drugs are further investigated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 5-alpha Reductase Inhibitors
  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Age of Onset
  • Alopecia / classification
  • Alopecia / complications
  • Alopecia / drug therapy*
  • Coronary Disease / complications
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Finasteride / therapeutic use
  • Hair / drug effects
  • Hair / growth & development
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / complications
  • Minoxidil / administration & dosage
  • Minoxidil / therapeutic use
  • Vasodilator Agents / administration & dosage
  • Vasodilator Agents / therapeutic use


  • 5-alpha Reductase Inhibitors
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Finasteride
  • Minoxidil