Fri, May 19, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Birth control pills do not prevent baldness, doctor says

By Wu Liang-yi and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Birth control medication cannot cure male pattern baldness, a dermatologist said, adding that its use could instead cause feminization.

A common folk treatment for male baldness involves crushing birth control pills and rubbing the powder into the scalp in the affected areas.

Dermatologist Chiu Pin-chi (邱品齊) of China Medical University in Taichung said baldness occurs due to a hereditary problem that affects the hair follicles.

In the past, people treated baldness with estrogen-balancing therapy, but the practice has been shown to cause feminization in men and is no longer used, Chiu said, adding that possible outcomes of increased estrogen levels in men include enlarged breasts and an effeminate voice.

“The idea that birth control pills can cure male baldness is just a myth based on intuition. Testing has already shown it to be ineffective as a treatment and to have negative side effects,” Chiu said.

“There are several other products on the market for treating male baldness, including shampoos, skin rubs and oral medications. I suggest consumers use tested products for treatment,” he added.

A Food and Drug Administration official who declined to be named said birth control medication should only be used at the recommendation of a doctor, as it is a prescription medicine.

A doctor’s evaluation is needed for any prescription medicine to determine whether it could have adverse effects on a patient and to determine dosages, the official said.

The official warned that in the event a person using birth control to treat baldness experiences adverse effects, they are ineligible for compensation under the Drug Injury Relief Act (藥害救濟法), since use of the drug in this manner is inconsistent with prescribed usage.

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