Since the inception of the internet we have seen many online non pharmacy websites selling products like Minoxidil Foams, Finasteride and Aldactone for female hair loss. These sites also promote other unproven topical products and herbal supplements for hair loss.
The first concern that we have with this practice is that it promotes the idea of self-diagnoses where these products may not be of benefit to your individual condition. If you have other medical conditions they could also be very dangerous. Minoxidil is a great example. If you have any cardiac issues then even by applying a topical medication could cause the onset of heart palpitations, tightness in the chest and chest pains. For Finasteride the result could be a lot more serious. Finasteride decreases the level of dihydro-testosterone which is a key marker for blood tests to check for Prostate cancer risk factors. The test is called a PSA and if the medical doctor is not informed that the patient is on Finasteride then the PSA test is useless as it will mask the true reading. The usage of Aldactone is a first drug of choice for Ashley and Martin medical doctors for women’s hair loss, if they are post-menopausal. This medication is very useful for women’s hair loss however as this medication also reduces the amount of potassium loss the body experiences then it is crucial that blood tests are conducted every year. Buying this medication online you will not be informed of this. These are just a few medical issues with these medications.
The other concerning factors with on line purchasing of hair loss medications is that you don’t know what you are getting. A recent story about Finasteride coming out of India shows that 20% of the on line versions are actually fake. The amazing thing is that we get highly upset about food quality regulations not being followed, however we will ingest a prescription medication without it being cleared for safety or efficacy.
The final concerning factor is not just safety of your health or efficacy of the products that you are applying or ingesting. It is who makes the money out of your purchase. The majority of non-pharmacy websites will have links to organised crime and they are illegal entities.
I would love to see each country regulatory authorities crack down on these types of sites however it comes down to where the limited resources each government has to utilise on this issue. In most cases they are working on higher priority issues. The only real solution is for the hair loss patient to be educated on why purchasing off the internet from high risk websites is not a viable option and that they should be dealing with medical doctors trained in the hair loss industry.
To see a list of medical doctors that work in the hair loss industry, please see either International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery www.ishrs.org or if in Australia, New Zealand or Singapore then your best outcome would be a Ashley and Martin Medical Doctor.