What is ‘Werewolf Syndrome’?

These days, truth is indeed often stranger than fiction. Events, phenomena, and other developments can sometimes make you wonder if you’re reading The Miami Herald or The Onion. That might be your reaction If you saw a headline that announced “Outbreak of `Werewolf Syndrome’ Afflicts Babies in Spain.” But put that one in the truth column.

Seventeen babies recently born in Spain did, in fact, suffer from werewolf syndrome, a condition actually called hypertrichosis. The outbreak was the result of a preventable mix-up by a pharmaceutical manufacturer involving the hair-loss medication minoxidil, also known as Rogaine. Parents who gave their children what was labeled and what they thought was heartburn medication gave their kids this powerful drug used to treat alopecia.

As the scary name implies, werewolf syndrome causes excessive hair growth either in a specific area or throughout the face and body. In the Spanish cases, the children experienced rapid and extreme hair growth on their cheeks, forehead, arms, and legs after taking the medication. While the hypertrichosis in these cases will go away now that the children are no longer ingesting the minoxidil, some instances of werewolf syndrome can be passed on through genetics for which more comprehensive treatment is needed.

Obviously, children should be nowhere near either oral or topical Rogaine or other hair loss medications. But for adults who experience androgenetic alopecia, Rogaine can be an effective way to address the problem.

Rogaine is proven to help slow or stop hereditary hair loss in four out of five people. Some patients will even grow new hair after regular use of the medication. But it’s important to note that Minoxidil is not a cure for baldness. Its real benefits are stopping or slowing hair loss. The drug’s effectiveness depends on how advanced your hair loss has become.

Call the Miami Hair & Skin Institute to Learn More About Pharmaceutical Hair Loss Options

If you’re ready to do something about your thinning hair and want to learn whether medication like Rogaine offers a viable solution for restoring your hair, contact the Miami Hair & Skin Institute online or call our office directly at 305-925-0222 to receive a personalized evaluation and treatment plan.