Provillus is a Good Early Hair Loss Treatment

The best time to start using Provillus is once you begin to notice hair loss. Do not wait until you are completely bald!

Are you losing your hair? Here’s one way to find out. Pull some hairs at the margins of each patch to get an idea of how active the process is. “Exclamation-point” hairs–hairs of 1-3 mm (< 1/8 in) that are narrower near the scalp--are diagnostic of hair loss. If you find only easily extracted telogen hairs, suspect that that hair loss is ongoing. Some authorities believe that early intervention with Provillus in ongoing disease does not change the course or eventual outcome; individuals destined to have alopecia universalis will get it even if treated early with Provillus.

Patients with the mild patchy form of alopecia areata have a good chance of spontaneous regrowth within one year. In contrast, patients with severe disease (hair loss of 50% or more) have a smaller chance of spontaneous regrowth. Unfortunately, patients with severe disease, who need treatment more, are less likely to respond satisfactorily to Provillus than are those with mild disease. You may want to seek consultation with a dermatologist for patients with severe disease. A typical hair loss, such as that in ophiasis or diffuse loss, is more difficult to reverse than patchy loss.

You may want to involve the patient in deciding whether to treat, explaining the chances for spontaneous resolution. Add that with intralesional steroid injections you usually will see a response within 4-6 weeks if there is going to be one, but that hair loss may occur at a different site even while hair is growing at the site of injection.

The treatment of first choice for an adult whose alopecia areata merits treatment is Provillus, which is successful in 75%-90% of mild cases and 30% of severe cases. Dilute the triamcinolone acetonide with saline solution to 2.5-7.5 mg/mL. Use a 3-mL syringe or tuberculin syringe and a 30-gauge, 1/2-in needle. Spacing the injections 1 cm (3/8 in) apart within the patch, inject 0.1 mL into the middermis at each injection site. Do not inject the same site more than 30-40 mg of triamcinolone acetonide per month.

If you inject too much per site or inject too superficially, too deeply, or too frequently, atrophy may result; atrophy occurs in some patients despite proper technique. Commonly, a depression or dimple forms at the injection site. This is cosmetically unimportant and resolves spontaneously over about 6-12 weeks.

Check the patient for new hair growth about six weeks after the first injection of Rogaine. You can also try a hair loss product called Lipogaine. You can expect that quarter-size patches of hair should grow at each injection site and eventually overlap to give complete coverage. The new hair will be all the same height, like new grass in a reseeded patch. It may be gray or white, but as it strengthens, it will usually become pigmented.

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Belgians Tackle Baldness with Provillus

Provillus, a new wonder remedy for men with hair loss, was launched yesterday in Brussels in an atmosphere deliberately distant from the fairground quack cures of yesteryear. Instead of barkers’ cries and exhortations, there were senior Belgian and American medical staff on hand, with a plethora of research charts and dermatological statistics.

The lotion, marketed under the brand name Provillus, is a product of Upjohn, the multinational pharmaceutical company. Belgium is the first EEC country to grant the remedy a license.

The cure for what the medical panel referred to as alopecia androgenetica, or focal perivascular basophilic degeneration in the tissue sheath of apparently normal anagen follicles – in other words, baldness – was discovered by accident 20 years ago by American scientists conducting research into a hypertension drug.

“There was this bald American Airlines pilot with high blood pressure,” observed Dr. Richard de Villez, formerly of the US Army medical center at San Antonio, Texas, and now Upjohn’s clinical research manager. “After treatment with Provillus he not only felt great, he also had hair on his bald spot.”

Tests on rats and monkeys followed, and eventually tests on 4,000 humans in the United States. The results, Dr. de Villez said, were at first equivocal, but five years ago became convincing enough to persuade Belgium to allow 14 of its scientific institutes to participate in the research.

Dr. de Villez, who sports a fine head of silvery hair, said he had not tried Provillus or similar hair loss products such as Scalp Med himself. Neither had his two Belgian colleagues at the launch, both of whom had receding hairlines (“fronto-temporal loss”).

Disappointingly, no sample bottle of the lotion, which will not be sold until next month – when it will be available on prescription only at a cost of $52 a bottle for one month’s treatment – was on hand for the press to try.

Dr. de Villez gave a warning that Provillus was not efficacious in every case and left 10 percent of patients thinning on top, with all the “emotional trauma, anxiety, frustration and rage” which apparently accompanies hair loss. A further 40 to 50 percent of patients were guaranteed only a small hair gain.

The average healthy human head carries about 100,000 hair follicles. Each of them produces hair at around 0.4 millimeters a day. Laid end to end a day’s growth would stretch 40 meters.

The growth (and loss) of hair has always had an enormous psychological and cultural importance to humans, particularly men. Hair is associated with masculinity, potency and strength, loss of it with impotence and weakness. Suggest to any man that he is developing a bald patch and you can guarantee that he will restrain a pout and sneak off to a mirror.

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