Nizoral, the brand name for the medication ketoconazole, is commonly prescribed in shampoo form to treat dandruff and other scalp problems. However, Dermadoctor.com reports that in 2001, researchers presented study results to the American Academy of Dermatology that suggested Nizoral shampoo could not only prevent dandruff, it also increased hair thickness and lessened hair loss in users. Another study suggests Nizoral can be used to treat male pattern baldness. Nizoral shampoo is simple to use, with few side effects.
The active ingredient in Nizoral, ketoconazole, is an anti-fungal medication. According to Netdoctor, certain types of scalp conditions, such as seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff and skin problems like pityriasis versicolor are caused by fungal infections. Ketoconzole stops these infections by disrupting the normal cellular production of ergosterol, an essential compound in the membranes of fungal cell walls. With the fungi dead, the skin and scalp conditions clear up.
Hair Loss Research
In March 2001, G. Pierard and G. Cauwenbergh, both scientists working for McNeil Pharmaceuticals (the company that markets Nizoral shampoo), reported to the American Academy of Dermatology that when 44 men in their test study used Nizoral shampoo and 43 used a dandruff shampoo containing zinc pyrithione (another anti-dandruff medication), the men using the Nizoral had an 8 percent increase in the thickness of their hair, while the men using the zinc pyrithione experienced no increase. In addition, the Nizoral users lost 16 percent less hair after using the shampoo than before they began the study; the zinc pyrithione users lost only 6 percent less hair. The researchers concluded that regular use of Nizoral shampoo would have positive effects on hair growth.
Dermadoctor.com reports the results of a 1998 research study that indicated Nizoral shampoo containing 2 percent ketoconazole was just as effective as Rogaine in treating androgenetic alopecia in men. Androgenetic alopecia, also known as male (and, in some cases, female) pattern baldness is characterized by gender-specific areas of hair loss caused by a gradual thinning and weakening of the hairs and their roots. Participants in the research study had thicker hair and an increase in the number of new hairs growing on their scalps following regular Nizoral use.
Drugs.com directs that Nizoral shampoo should only be used with a doctor’s prescription and after you have discussed any other medical conditions or medications that could potentially interfere with ketoconazole’s function with a physician. Apply a small amount of the shampoo to wet hair and massage it into the entire scalp area gently. Leave the shampoo in place for five minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
The most common side effects of Nizoral shampoo are a burning, itching sensation on the scalp (or any other skin exposed to the shampoo) and any of the following symptoms of an allergic reaction: hives; a painful red rash; swelling, especially of the mouth or face; and difficulty breathing. Other, less common side effects include the development of eczema, overly dry or oily hair and, in some cases, hair loss or a change in hair color.