Hasson & Wong and the Missing Blog Post

My 2014 post on topical finasteride became one of the most popular ones ever written on this blog. This was not surprising, as literally hundreds of thousands of people around the world are nervous about taking oral finasteride. They are hoping to switch to or start a topical version as soon as possible.

It seems like the topical version will results in fewer side effects and less systemic absorption, although this idea is still debated. Different topical formulations will probably have significantly different levels of systemic absorption depending on technology used.

One can get topical finasteride compounded at any local compounding pharmacy. My own local one said that they fulfill one or two such request each month. However, hair loss sufferers have for years been hoping for reputable multinational pharmacies to manufacture the product. In recent years, two entities have taken the lead in making this finally happen:

  1. Switzerland-based Polichem via its P-3074 product.
  2. The Canada-based Hasson & Wong clinic via its topical liposomal gel product developed in conjunction with Farmacia Parati of Italy.

Hasson & Wong’s Topical Finasteride is Finally Here?

A few days ago, the Hasson & Wong clinic announced on its blog that topical finasteride was finally a done deal and available with a prescription globally! However, their blog post was later removed from their website.

Dr. Hasson Explains

Dr. Victor Hasson has posted on this blog before, and I have talked to him about this via phone in the past. Therefore, I decided to call him last Thursday and find out more about why that blog post was removed. Luckily, he was kind enough to talk to me right away.

According to Dr. Hasson, the reason that the blog post was removed is due to some legal issues and clarifications that are still pending. Throughout the course of developing this topical product, their clinic has had to deal with numerous regulations. I assume that they have to adhere to Canadian regulations, European EU regulations, and US regulations. Dr. Hasson mentioned numerous hurdles and headaches involved in following all these protocols.

In any case, Dr. Hasson is extremely confident about this product. While oral finasteride does not cause major side effects in the vast majority of patients that take the drug according to most studies, there are still some patients who seem to get long-term problems. Usually less than 5 percent, although some recent studies suggest a higher number.

Topical finasteride will likely resolve this issue. According to Dr. Hasson, in the past around 50-60 percent of their patients were on oral finasteride. However, lately this number has declined to around 20 percent. Not surprising considering all the “I am scared of finasteride side effects” threads that we have been reading on hair loss forums in the past year. Not to mention news items about Propecia lawsuits.

The most exciting things that Dr. Hasson told me about this silicone based liposomal gel topical finasteride product were that:

  1.  It will not be systemically absorbed to any significant extent. In the deleted blog post, it said the topical finasteride systemic absorption rate will be 1/18th the systemic absorption rate of oral finasteride.
  2.  Every morning (or night) when you shower, the silicone in the product will be washed away entirely from your scalp. So that silicone is probably not dangerous, as some have suggested on the forums.

Note that this product is not FDA approved, as the cost and time-frame involved in getting that done is excessively high. So if you do end up using this gel and getting any kind of side effects, I am not responsible whatsoever. It is worth repeating here what I have said a few times before: any hair loss products that you buy should never ever be based on my opinions. I am not a scientist, nor a doctor, nor well versed in biology or chemistry.

European prescriptions will be handled by Farmacia Parati. Canada and US prescriptions will be handled by a local pharmacy in the vicinity of the Hasson & Wong clinic in Vancouver. This pharmacy will be compounding the product themselves. H&W have been using this pharmacy for many years and consider them reliable and trustworthy.

So in summary, we are very close. Moreover, hopefully Polichem will release their P-3074 product in the next year or two so that we can have two choices. Dr. Hasson said that topical dutasteride is next in line. Great idea, considering that my dutasteride for hair loss reviews post is also extremely popular.

FYI — for those in Europe, make sure to read the Italian hair loss forum thread on Hasson & Wong’s topical finasteride gel product. Right click and select “translate to English” via your browser if necessary.

Follicum Commences Human Trials for FOL-005

I covered the at-the-time relatively new Sweden-based company called Follicum in April of last year. Thereafter, the company has made a few announcements via press releases that I have largely ignored since it was yet to commence any kind of phase 1 human clinical trials.  And we all know how long those take, even after accounting for newer regulations in some countries that might eliminate or shorten the time for final phase 3 clinical trials.

However, last week Follicum finally announced that they had commenced phase 1 clinical trials of their FOL-005 product.  This product can interestingly both inhibit hair as well as stimulate hair, although it seems like the company might be naming the hair stimulation product something else down the road, and it could be slightly different from FOL-005. According to Follicum, both the hair inhibition and hair stimulation products are based on “a large human protein which has been manipulated and modified.

They currently have 1 patient on whom the drug is being tested upon, but aim to have a total of 30 patients soon.  The study is being undertaken at the highly respected Charité — Universitätsmedizin Berlin that I have covered on this blog before.  This makes me take Follicum a bit more seriously.

The company’s research on mice (undertaken by contract research organization Dabur Research Foundation in India) has suggested that this product will be significantly superior to Minoxidil when it comes to scalp hair growth.

Note that the current press release by the company only mentions testing FOL-005 for hair inhibition (important for those who suffer from excessive body hair, aka hirsutism), but I assume they will also be doing testing for hair stimulation with another similar product or the same product?  I am not interested enough for the time being to ask the company about that important detail, but perhaps will do so after they come out with one more press release in the coming months.  My intuition tells me that the hair stimulation product will have a different name and slightly different chemistry.

FYI — I was reluctant to write an entire post on Follicum, but changed my mind after a request on the hair loss chat on this site, and also because my monthly brief items of interest post is still over two weeks away (in which I planned to mention this development in one paragraph).

Follicum share price since the company first started trading (source):

Graph for Follicum