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WASHINGTON: Call it Rogaine without the greasy mess. Scientists at pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. told the FDA today they can regrow hair on a barren pate with a pill.

The drug is Propecia, and it works by suppressing a hormone that shrinks hair follicles. A Merck study of 1,553 men found 86 percent of those who took Propecia grew more hair or maintained the amount they had.

Actually, the Propecia program is just a one-fifth dose of Proscar, an existing drug used to treat enlarged prostates. And there are some rare (but deliciously ironic) side effects for men in search of lost youth: decreased libido and sexual dysfunction.

Stop taking the pill and those effects fade hair loss, however, resumes. Stick with it and this miracle pill could leave you all tressed up and no place to go. At least until a new erection pill, also approved by the FDA, hits the shelves sometime in April.