Examining Flutamide's Hair Growth Promoting Properties
Flutamide is a non-steroid antiandrogen binding to androgen receptors and thus competing for this place with follicle-harming dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It is a very powerful antiandrogen, available only by doctor's prescription. Oral flutamide is used in women to treat hirsutism (excess body hair) and acne and in men to treat prostate cancer. One clinical study has shown that flutamide is as effective in treating hirsutism as spironolactone and finasteride. Antiandrogenic effects of flutamide have lead to its use as a hair loss treatment in women and it is sometimes speculated that its topical applications might also be suitable for men.
In one small study flutamide was successful in producing a small but definite reduction in hair loss in hyper-androgenic pre-menopausal women with female pattern hair loss. In another study of a human scalp graft that was transplanted onto mice, it was shown that topically applied antiandrogens, such as flutamide and finasteride, are effective in extending hair length and diameter as well as in increasing the number of hairs per graft. It has been nine years since this study was published and to date no clinical evaluation of flutamide's effects on human hair growth has been conducted. Therefore, given the current level of clinical data, it seems fair to say that the margin of success as a hair loss treatment is too small for flutamide to be regarded as an effective medication for hair loss, while the health risks involved are too high.