Botulinum toxin A (Botox) is used to treat wrinkles, excessive sweating and headaches. A new study from Canada shows that it might be useful to male-pattern baldness. The pharmaceutical company that manufactures the product paid for the study and the exact methods have not been revealed, citing intellectual property rights.
Fifty men had botulinum toxin A injections to their scalp muscles, followed by a second session twenty-four weeks later. Assessment included change in hair counts in a 2-cm scalp area, changes in hair loss counts collected by lint roller from the subject's pillow, and patient responses to a questionnaire.
In the 40 patients who completed the study, after 48 weeks mean hair counts increased 18% from baseline, a statistically significant change. Hair loss was also significantly reduced, by a mean of 39%. The reduction in hair loss and increase in hair counts were not correlated. The treatment response rate was 75%. The subjects noted statistically significant increased hair growth. No adverse events were noted.
In this study, each patient received 150 units of botulinum toxin A. When bought in large quantities, a very good wholesale price is $365/100 units. Most medical practices double or triple the wholesale cost, not unlike a retail store mark-up. There is no indication as to how long the beneficial effects lasted. When used for wrinkle reduction, the effect of botulinum toxin A lasts four to six months.