In an article posted to alt.baldspot, it is confirmed that Merck’s research drug, MK-386, is currently being tested for hair loss. In fact, the article is not new, but from 1995, so MK-386 has been in testing for hair loss.
According to the article’s conclusion, “”MK-386… has been identified as a potent type 1 selective inhibitor demonstrating time dependent kinetics. Good bioavailability and a lack of significant safety liabilities have enabled human clinical studies for acne and androgenic alopecia, which are in progress” (Italics and bolding added).
Regrowth has obtained information which will be posted shortly regarding MK-386. It is not clear whether MK-386 has been continued in hair loss trials. One statement obtained by Regrowth from a 1995 convention for the Society of Investigative Dermatology states that at the end of a one year trial, patients of MK-386 had no increase in hair weight. This may support the theory that inhibition or removal of type 1 5-alpha reductase alone is not enough to halt hair loss or regrow hair. Individuals who have type 1 5-alpha reductase (the enzyme located in the skin and hair follicles) but not type 2 5-alpha reductase (located primarily in the prostate and liver) never go bald. When administered DHT, these individuals do go bald. This indicates that for hair loss, either type 2 5-alpha reductase specifically plays a role in hair loss, or the total amount of circulating DHT plays the initiating role in hair loss. Since type 2 creates about 2/3-3/4 of the circulating DHT in the body and type 1 creates only about 1/4-1/3, this may explain why Proscar, which inhibits primarily type 2 5-alpha reductase is fairly effective at preventing hair loss and re-growing hair and why MK-386, which inhibits type-1 alone, may not be. MK-386 may still be an effective treatment for acne and skin sebum production, which is more closely related to the DHT produced in the skin itself.
Regrowth has attempted to contact Merck through a physician to discover the status of MK-386 in regards to hai rloss. Perhaps the rumors that they are in talks to purchase RU58841 from Roussel Uclaf are true and caused by the fact that type-1 specific inhibitors which they have developed are not panning out as hairloss treatments and RU58841 is needed as their ‘next generation’ of hair loss treatments.