My post from 2014 on topical finasteride became one of the most popular ones ever written on this blog. This was not surprising, as literally hundreds of thousands (no exaggeration) of people around the world are nervous about taking oral finasteride and 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 has been debated in the past. 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 such request each year). However, hair loss sufferers have for years been hoping for reputable multinational pharmacies or companies to manufacture the product in bulk and sell it globally. In recent years, two entities have taken the lead in making this finally happen:
- Switzerland-based Polichem via its P-3074 product.
- 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 — Or is It?
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
Since Dr. Hasson posted on this blog before and I had talked to him about this via phone in the past too, 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 regulations, and perhaps even 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 virtually all studies and according to virtually all doctors that I have talked to, 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, but 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 lawsuits.
The most exciting things that Dr. Hasson told me about this silicone based liposomal gel topical finasteride product were that:
- It will not be systemically absorbed to any significant extent (see this report for more). In the deleted blog post, it said the topical finasteride systemic absorption rate will be 1/18th the systemic absorption rate of oral finasteride.
- Every morning (or night) when you shower, the silicone in the product will be washed away entirely from your scalp. So that silicone is 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 not worth it for any hair transplant clinic, including one as successful as Hasson & Wong. So if you do end up using this gel and getting any kind of side effects, I am not responsible whatsoever. It begs to repeat what I have said a few times before — when it comes to hair loss, any products you buy or any decisions you make should never ever be based on my opinions. I am not a scientist, nor a doctor, nor well versed in biology or chemistry.
Also, while European prescriptions will be handled by Farmacia Parati, Canada prescriptions (and I think US ones too) will be handled by a local pharmacy in the vicinity of the Hasson & Wong clinic in Vancouver, Canada that will be compounding the product themselves. Hasson & Wong have been using this pharmacy for many years and there is no issue of legitimacy and reliability here.
So in summary, we are very very close, and hopefully Polichem will release their P-3074 product too 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 testimonials post is also one of the most popular posts ever made on this blog.
FYI — for those in Europe, make sure to read this 14 pages and counting Italian hair loss forum thread on Hasson & Wong’s topical finasteride product. Right click and select translate to English via your browser if necessary.