Overview: Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment has shown promise in treating hair loss. A recent meta-analysis of PRP studies has found that the treatment does stimulate hair growth, with no documented side effects, although there’s much more to be studied in terms of hair thickness or rate of growth, and larger-scale studies are needed.
What is PRP?
Plasma is the liquid in whole blood. It’s largely water and proteins that support blood cells. Platelets, also called thrombocytes, are blood cells involved in healing functions such as clotting.
The theory behind PRP is that a direct injection of these healing cells into a damaged area will speed recovery. Doctors will draw a measure of blood from the patient, create the PRP shot, and inject it back into the patient. The advantage is, because it’s the patient’s own cells, it’s relatively easy to create the shot. And there’s no risk of the body rejecting the platelets.
Studies are ongoing on the overall effectiveness of PRP for various uses, including treatment of muscle injuries and healing of wounds. So far, no large-scale human study has been done, and few studies have been done with control groups to test these claims. In other words, it could work, and some results are positive, but the procedure is not yet scientifically proven.
Does PRP Reduce Hair Loss?
PRP has been of interest for androgenic alopecia (the medical term for your receding hairline, also called male pattern baldness) for some time, and a 2015 randomized, placebo-controlled trial found promising results but not a lot of science behind them.
The latest analysis, conducted by an international team of researchers and published in 2020, evaluated 13 such studies, and the results are more encouraging. The researchers concluded that “autologous platelet-rich plasma was associated with an increase of hair density when compared to placebo.”
In other words, their study of this data found PRP was more effective than doing nothing, and there is now more science behind those promising results.
Unanswered Questions About the P-Shot for Hair Loss
That said, some questions remain from this research. It’s not clear what the mechanism of action is for hair regeneration with PRP. Is the follicle healing, or does the shot perform some other action in the body that could be done simply and more directly with other methods? Does the hair last, or will patients need to repeat the procedure? Hair thickness is another area in need of more study.
Just as important, there are still no broad human trials for this approach on the horizon, to treat hair loss or for any other application. Nor do we know what will happen if the therapy is repeated over time or if all patient groups have the same results.
So, while the overall direction is promising, it’s still a procedure a doctor is unlikely to recommend and may have reservations about. As an experimental treatment, it’s also unlikely to be covered by insurance and can cost as much as $2,500 out of pocket.
For now, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the treatment, but it really should only be considered if you’re willing to take a few risks and pay a substantial amount of money out of pocket.
How eDrugstore Can Help
For the rest of us, Propecia has been thoroughly tested for hair restoration, is well known to doctors, and is budget-friendly, with the generic (finasteride) costing as little as $.66 a dose. For now, it’s the more tested and proven option for people seeking to limit androgenic alopecia.
If you’re interested in trying Propecia or finasteride for hair loss, take advantage of our complimentary medical consultation by calling 1-800-467-5146. We will ship discreetly to your door for no additional charge.
For more information about hair loss and platelet-rich plasma, check out the eDrugstore blog.