Updated: Dec 11, 2020
For most people, when you start losing your hair the first thing that you may likely do is begin researching about how to stop it. More likely than not, you will come across the popular treatments such as finasteride, minoxidil, and low-level laser therapy. Though these treatments are great and have been proven effective, most people stop their research at this point.
The problem arises because everyone is different. Even though the popular treatment options have a high success rate, there is still a large number of people who do not respond to them. For those folks, it can be much harder to find alternative treatment options. The popular treatments overwhelmingly dominate the market and leave little room for lesser-known treatments to find the spotlight.
This article is going to discuss one of those less popular treatments called darolutamide. We will be discussing what darolutamide is, how it works, and the impact that is may be able to have on hair loss to help determine if it is worth trying or not.
What is darolutamide?
Sold under the brand name “NUBEQA”, darolutamide is classified as an antiandrogen medication. It is FDA approved to treat a certain kind of prostate cancer in men called non-metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.
The drug itself was created relatively recently having been patented in 2011, and even more recently approved for medical use in July of 2019 having shown to be very effective in a multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial involving 1,509 patients.
Although it is very effective for treating prostate cancer, its antiandrogenic properties may hold potential benefits for people suffering from hair loss, let me explain.
How does darolutamide effect hair loss?
The popular prescription hair loss treatment finasteride was also initially developed to treat a prostate condition, specifically benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate). Only several years later was it recognized for its effects on hair loss and subsequently FDA approved for it.
Darolutamide could follow a similar path sometime in the future due to its similar antiandrogenic properties.
But, before we dive into how darolutamide may affect hair loss, let’s briefly explain how hair loss, more specifically androgenic alopecia, works.
Everyone’s body naturally produces androgens. They are hormones that mostly play a role in the development of male characteristics (although they are present in females in lower concentrations). The important androgen we need to focus on is testosterone, as it is essentially the source of hair loss.
Testosterone isn’t itself the cause of hair loss, but instead is converted into a byproduct that is. Testosterone is converted by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is what is responsible for hair loss.
In folks that are genetically predisposed to hair loss, DHT binds to androgen receptors that are located in the hair follicles, and thus the process of miniaturization is set in motion. It is during this step in the process that darolutamide may be able to make a difference.
Note: darolutamide has not been studied directly for its effects on hair loss, and although there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of it working, there is an absence of scientific evidence.
Although both finasteride and darolutamide work to block DHT, darolutamide does it in a completely different way. It is what is known as an androgen receptor (AR) inhibitor. Essentially, what an AR inhibitor does is it competes with androgens for a spot to bind with the androgen receptor itself. For prostate cancer, it reduces the ability of androgens to promote the growth of cancer cells because they can no longer interact with the AR, and for hair loss? By blocking the AR receptors, DHT can no longer bind to them, and therefore (hypothetically) hair loss will not occur.
Once the news that darolutamide was an AR inhibitor, people almost instantly recognized its potential benefits for hair loss, but does that mean you should use it?
Is darolutamide worth trying?
Like we stated earlier, currently darolutamide is FDA approved only for the treatment of a very specific kind of prostate cancer. This means that you would have to use it off label, but it is as easy to do that as with other prescriptions.
Currently, the only way to get darolutamide is by way of foreign manufacturers. Unfortunately, foreign drug manufacturers, especially those that sell online, do not have the best track record. It may not be a great idea to purchase drugs from overseas as you can never be 100% certain you are getting what you paid for and what is written on the label. Also, especially in darolutamide’s case, they are very expensive, so much so that the average person will certainly not be able to afford it.
There is also the problem of the lack of information surrounding its off label use for hair loss. Darolutamide is still a very new drug, having only been made publicly available in July 2019. Although the side effects are known for taking it as prescribed, we still have no idea about the potential side effects that could result from taking it off label, which can potentially be dangerous.
There have been no scientific studies or trials conducted, or even started, for its effects on hair loss, meaning that all evidence is purely anecdotal at this point. However, there is a healthy amount of anecdotal evidence and stories of people having success with it online. But, it is way too early to deem darolutamide a reliable, or even potential hair loss cure.
Similarly to the highly effective finasteride, darolutamide may work similarly in the sense that it may be able to stop DHT from causing hair loss. Unfortunately, it is too new to the market and much, much more research is needed before people should consider taking it for hair loss. Not only will it cost them a fortune, but the efficacy and side effects are not fully understood yet.
In my opinion, use other treatments but make sure to keep an eye out for any new developments surrounding darolutamide. A good place to look for that information is on Folliclethough.com, they do a great job of keeping their readers up-to-date with all of the latest developments in hair loss treatments.