(RxWiki News) The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded the use of a cooling cap to minimize hair loss in those who are receiving chemotherapy.
The FDA approved the DigniCap Cooling System to reduce chemotherapy-induced hair loss in patients with solid cancer tumors.
Certain types of chemotherapy cause hair loss — particularly chemotherapy treatments for most solid tumor cancers.
The FDA actually approved the device in 2015 but only for patients with breast cancer. Now, the DigniCap Cooling System is now approved for patients with all kinds of solid tumors.
"Managing the side effects of chemotherapy is a critical component to overall health and quality of life,” said Dr. Binita Ashar, director of the FDA's Division of Surgical Devices, in a press release.
The system is controlled by a computer, which is connected to a cap worn on the head. Liquid is then circulated to the cap to cool the scalp during chemotherapy treatment. A second cap covers the cooling cap to hold it in place and improve cooling.
The cold temperature reduces blood flow to the scalp. As a result, less of the chemotherapy reaches the hair cells. The cold also slows down cell division, which makes hair cells more resistant to damage from chemotherapy.
The DigniCap may not work with some chemotherapy regimens. The device is not recommended in children or those who have certain cancers or are receiving certain treatments.
Common side effects may include cold-induced headaches and neck and shoulder discomfort, as well as chills and pain associated with wearing the cooling cap for a long time. The long-term effects of scalp cooling have not been fully studied.
The DigniCap Cooling System is a product of Dignitana Inc.