Dr. Donovan's Daily Hair Loss Blog (2011-2019)


Please let us know if you have questions after your appointment. These are some of the most commonly asked questions we receive. 


1. Dr. Donovan gave me a requisition to get more blood tests. Where do I go to get my blood tests completed?

Please go to a nearby lab with the requisition form that you were provided. Please keep in mind that because our clinic is private there will be fees for the blood tests.

Where do I go for my blood tests?


2. My appointment is not for 4 more months and I need a refill from Dr. Donovan. How do I refill my prescription?

Provided you have not extended the time recommended for a follow up appointment we are happy to assist you in refilling your medication. Generally speaking, Dr. Donovan provides sufficient refills on his prescriptions to last the patient to their next appointment. So please check with your pharmacy to see if there are refills on file. If you have used up medications, please check with us as it could be that you are using the medication too quickly. 

But if you need refills, you can complete the link below and Dr. Donovan will review your specific request. Please contact the office for the password.


Please note that we do not refill medications if the time has elapsed since the recommended follow up. For example, if Dr. Donovan advised you to return in 18 months, he will refill any medications up to the 18 month mark. If he advised a patient to return in 6 months, it is essential that the patient be reviewed by a physician prior to the 6 month mark to determine if the medication is safe and appropriate to continue.  In this case he will not refill a medication if the patient were to contact the office at the 8 month mark. A follow up is critical to ensure the medication is safe.


3. If I have any questions after my apportionment, how do I go about having Dr. Donovan answer them ?

If you have questions in the immediate period (within 3 months) following your appointment, please direct them in either 3 ways:

a) email them to office@donovanmedical.com

b) phone us and we will direct your question to Dr. Donovan and get back to your within 24 hours. 

c) send them to us in writing or via fax. (Our fax number is 604.648.9003). 

If I has been more than three months, please review our clinic policies on answering questionns


4. Can I drop in to the office in the future if I have any questions ?

No, we do not allow "drop ins" in order to protect the privacy of our patients who may be there for the day.  Please see Policy 12 of our clinic policies. If you have questions after your appointment, please direct them in either 3 ways:

a) email them to office@donovanmedical.com

b) phone us and we will direct your question to Dr. Donovan and get back to your within 24 hours. 

c) send them to us in writing or via fax. (Our fax number is 604.648.9003). 


5. Can I drop in or pop by to the office in the future if I am having issues with my hair?

No, we do not allow "drop ins" per the explanation above. Please see Policy 12 of our clinic policies. If you are having issues and feel you need to be seen, let us know and we will arrange an appointment within 4 weeks. If you feel that you can not wait, it may be possible to schedule a phone consultation with Dr. Donovan depending on the specific circumstances.  

For any urgent issues, please send us details about what you are experiencing along with photos (if you feel it is relevant and would be helpful) 

We do not allow drop ins under any circumstances.  If you are having issues with your hair, please advise us first so that Dr. Donovan can review the situation carefully. In some cases, he may advise you to change something you are doing before coming to see him (such as chaining a medication) or he may ask you to perform various tests before coming in (such as blood tests or a hair collection).  We ask all patients to please respect our strict policies.  

Having treated a lot of patients with hair loss, we often hear comments from patients such as "I'd like to drop by so Dr. Donovan can have a quick look at my hair. It will just take 5 minutes." There are very few consultations that Dr. Donovan has performed in the past few years that have every taken just 5 minutes. Most take 10-15 minutes in a very, very 'stable' patient. In a patient with 'active' issues (such as a patient losing hair), an appointment generally takes much longer - even double or triple the length of time. Hair loss requires a methodical approach to understanding all the issues. That's how Dr. Donovan practices and always will.  There are no quick looks at the hair. For a patient with a sudden change in his or her hair, Dr. Donovan generally requires the answers to over 30 questions and sometimes even 50. If asking these 30 questions and getting back the answer to each question took 10 seconds that would require just 5 minutes. But if asking the questions and getting back the answer to each question requires 30 seconds, one can easily see that 15 minutes has elapsed before Dr. Donovan has even had a chance to actually examine the scalp ....  let along discuss new recommendations for helping the patient. 

We truly understand how upsetting hair loss can be and Dr. Donovan promises his patients that their issues will be attended to appropriately.  If he absolutely needs to see a patient, Dr. Donovan will go to great length to rearrange his schedule to make it happen. Generally though, a methodical approach is what works best in the long run. Let us know your questions and concerns and what changes you have noticed in your hair. 


6. If Dr. Donovan wants me to return for a scalp biopsy, do you have advice on how I should prepare and the kinds of things I will need to do afterwards? 

If you are planning on having a scalp biopsy, please take time to review these simple pre and post procedure instructions.

Scalp Biopsy - Pre and Post Procedure Instructions

A scalp biopsy is a 20 minute procedure that allows Dr. Donovan to obtain a few hairs (and the surrounding skin). This specimen will be sent off to the pathologist for further evaluation.  The procedure is very safe and should not be a cause for worry for you. Some minor tenderness can occur for a few days in the area where the biopsy was taken. Dissolving stitches will be placed in the area - it takes approximately 6-8 weeks for the stitches to dissolve fully. A small scar will be present permanently in the area where the biopsy was taken. 


7. How long will my follow up appointments be?

Follow up appointments are generally 20 minutes but may extend to 30 minutes in some cases. 


8. I had my appointment and Dr. Donovan discussed a new result with me. I would like Dr. Donovan to send a copy of my results to my sister who is in the medial field. How do I go about arranging this?

In order for our office to send results to anyone but your doctor, we will need you to complete the attached from. Please list the name, email address and mailing address of the individual. We will EMAIL them a copy of the result you have requested. 




9.  I have been asked to do a "hair wash test" before I come back for my follow up appointment in 3 months. Can you explain again how this is done?

There are two types of hair wash tests that Dr. Donovan will advise his patients to do. If he requires you to do a hair wash test, he will explain carefully how this is done. If Dr. Donovan does not advise or even mention a hair wash test, it is because he does not need this information.  It will be important to remember which one Dr. Donovan asked you to do because they are different.  If you are not sure, simply ask us and we will look up this information in your chart.  The two tests are the

a) 5 day modified hair wash test   b) 120 second hair collection

For more information and to download the Submission Form that you will send back to use with your collection click the following link 



10. I didn't get a copy of the office policies. Can you direct me to the link?

Our office policies can be found here: Office Policies


11. Dr. Donovan advised me to use bimatoprost (Latisse). Where can I get?

Latisse is available through doctor's offices. We have Latisse in the office. We can ship it out to patients. Simply contact our office. 


12. I have thought of several questions since my last appointment, what should I do?

If you have any questions, let our office know. You can email your questions to office@donovanmedical.com.


13. I lost my prescription. Can Dr. Donovan send me another one?

We understand that these sorts of things are easy to misplace. Prescription go missing in pockets, and bags and find their way through the wash.  Provided it has been less than 3 months since your appointment with Dr. Donovan we will phone in a prescription to any pharmacy of your choice in Canada. Please provide us with your pharmacy name, phone number and also the proper spelling of your name and date of birth and Dr. Donovan will call it in. Please allow 72 HOURS for Dr. Donovan to call in your prescription. We do not MAIL out prescriptions to patients who have lost them. The only option is for Dr. Donovan to call in the prescription to the pharmacy of your choice. 


14. I have questions for Dr. Donovan. How do I speak to him?

Please take time to review our Office Policies as we have a formal procedure for how questions from patients are addressed. We receive over 50 questions per day from our current patients and it's not possible for Dr. Donovan to directly return all calls or send emails directly to all patients. However, our office aims to be very efficient and get back to patients rapidly.  We review questions from patients with Dr. Donovan at three distinct times during the day. You can submit your questions to our team by email or phone and we will get back to your within 24 hours and generally much sooner.   We are proud of our efficient system for getting patients questions answered fully and quickly. If you have questions please don't hesitate to ask us.


15. How do I go about getting refills for my medications?

Dr. Donovan will have provided you with many refills. Just check your prescription and look for the letter "R" (which stands for 'refill). You can also phone your pharmacist and ask them how many refills you have "on file" in their pharmacy. Generally, Dr. Donovan will give you enough refills to get you to your next follow up appointment. For example, if your follow up appointment is in one year, you will leave with a prescription for one year of medication. After the one year mark, Dr. Donovan will usually not refill a prescription without seeing the patient for a follow up appointment.  You may wish to review our policies on prescription renewals:


If a patient has another hair loss condition that requires follow up every 6-8 months, enough medication will be prescribed to take the patient to the 8 month mark. Dr. Donovan will not honour requests from patients to have more refills after the 8 month mark. It is absolutely essential that the patient be seen by a physician in order to determine if it is safe and appropriate to continue the medication. These specific details are outlined in our office policies and the policies were created to ensure patient safety. We can not permit a patient to be using a medication that would not be safe, effective or appropriate. Dr. Donovan takes great care in determining when a patient should be seen.


16. I am having a side effect from one of the medications and I think I will need to stop. Do I need to make a follow up appointment?

If you are having a side effect, just let us know and we will provide you will advice on whether to stop the medication or treatment and what other things might be needed.  You will need to make a follow up appointment to discuss what treatments to do next or how best to proceed. However, Dr. Donovan will guide you through resolving the issue related to the side effects. Simply let our office know what is happening. 


17. I would like Dr. Donovan to consider a medication that I've heard about. My friend told me about it. Can Dr. Donovan phone it in to my pharmacy?

Please let us know the name of the medication so that we may present your question to Dr. Donovan. If it's been less than 3 months since your last appointment, Dr. Donovan may consider prescribing it for you if he feels it's appropriate for your condition. He'll simply review your question and if he thinks it's an appropriate choice he'll call you to review it carefully by phone.   If it's been more than 3 months but less than 9 months since your last appointment, generally Dr. Donovan will not prescribe the medication without reviewing your progress and examining your scalp at a follow up appointment. Please let us know the name of the medication so Dr. Donovan can review your situation specifically. If its been more than 9 months, Dr. Donovan will not prescribe the medication under any circumstance. Please make a follow up appointment to discuss with Dr. Donovan.  


18. I need steroid injections for my condition, but I also have several questions about my oral medications that were prescribed as well as some questions about my topical medications. Should I be booking a 20 minute "follow up" appointment or just a 5 minute "steroid injection" appointment? 

The answer would be a follow up appointment in order to make sure we have set aside enough time for you to review these issues with Dr. Donovan. A 5 minute visit for steroid injections is reserved for patients with scarring alopecias and alopecia areata who need steroid injections. The appointments are very short and meant to be convenient for patients. A wide range of available times are available for steroid injection appointments each month.

If the appointment is simply for steroid injections, a steroid injection appointment is the appropriate appointment. If there are other issues to be discussed, a follow up appointment is the appropriate type of appointment.   There is not sufficient time set aside in a 5 minute injection appointment to discuss broader issues surrounding use of these oral mediations.  The following are helpful guides to help patients determine which is appropriate. 

ilk vs followup



For patients with alopecia areata, a "follow-up" appointment rather than a "steroid injection" appointment will be required if ANY of the following are correct:

a) more than 12 months have elapsed since seeing Dr. Donovan or

b) the patient wishes to discuss issues with Dr. Donovan other than the steroid injections.


For patients with scarring alopecia, a follow-up" appointment rather than a "steroid injection" appointment will be the appropriate type of appointment for the patient if ANY of the following are correct:

a) it has been more than 6 months since the last "follow up" appointment or

b) the patient has already had two previous injection appointments, or

c) if there are issues to be discussed with Dr. Donovan other than the steroid injections.


For more information on follow up vs injection appointment, please click on the following helpful document



19. How often do patients return for follow up appointments?

Our patients return at varying intervals depending on their type of hair loss. Information on frequency of appointments can be found in question 19 and 20 below for alopecia areata and scarring alopecia. For other types of hair loss, please review information in the following link:  Follow up Appointments


20. How often are patients with alopecia areata seen in the clinic?

The frequency of appointments depends on a number of factors including the type of treatment the patient is receiving, the age of the patient and how quickly the patient is losing or regrowing hair. This chart is a helpful guide.

AA follow up


21. How often are patients with scarring alopecia seen in the clinic for follow up appointments?

The frequency of appointments depends on a number of factors including the type of treatment the patient is receiving, the age of the patient and how quickly the patient is losing or regrowing hair. This chart is a helpful guide.

Scarring follow up

22. I would like to come in for a 10 minute follow up appointment instead of the 20 minute type you offer. Can you let me know if you offer such an apportionment for a discounted rate?

We only offer one type of follow up appointment, and that is a 20 minute appointment with Dr. Donovan. We do not have partial of brief type appointments. The fee is $650 for the 20 minute follow up appointment. 


23. How long will my prescriptions be good for? Will Dr. Donovan just call in the pharmacy every year to renew my medications he prescribes?

Prescriptions are valid for varying lengths of times. They are not renewed indefinitely. If you are prescribed a ‘new’ immunosuppressant medication, Dr. Donovan will need to see you every 4-6 months to know that the medication is safe and that it is working. In this case, your prescription will be valid for about 4-6 months. You will need to see Dr. Donovan if you wish the medication to be renewed by him If you have been on the immunosuppressant medication for many months and your blood tests are normal and you are not having any side effects, Dr. Donovan will likely renew the medication for a much longer period of time (i.e. 6-12 months and maybe even longer). However, once that interval expires, you will need to see Dr. Donovan again for follow up if you wish the medication to be renewed. This is to ensure your safety.

For other medications which act over a longer period of time, such as finasteride, spironolactone or minoxidil, prescriptions are valid for 9-15 months depending on the patient and how their condition is responding to treatment. If the hair loss is responding well and there are no side effects recorded at the time of the second appointment, a longer prescription renewal may be given (possibly up to 24 months). If a patient wishes the prescription to be renewed after that point by Dr. Donovan they will need to book a follow up appointment to review. Dr. Donovan will not renew the prescription without a follow up appointment.

For a link to Dr. Donovan's prescription renewal policy click on the following link

Donovan Hair Clinic - Prescription Renewal Policy


24. I saw Dr. Donovan a number of months ago and I sent him a message on social media. However, he has not answered and I see the message was deleted. Why is this?

We have a strict privacy policy. We don't discuss your health on any social media platform no matter how simple the question. If you have a question, and it is very "general" in nature (ie. Dr. DOnovan - what are the best treatment options for lichen planopilaris)... Dr. Donovan will answer it on social media. However, it it is a specific question that applies only to you, you should address it to our office directly by email or phone. Here is some examples of specific questions:

I'm still shedding on minoxidil, should I increase my spironolactone dose higher?

Do you think the hydroxchloroquine you prescribed could be causing hair loss?

For further details, please read POLICY 8 of our Clinic Policies.


25. I am planning to see Dr. Donovan 9 months after my first appointment. I don't know my schedule that far ahead yet. How many months in advance should I book the follow up appointment to ensure I have a spot?

We advise patients to give us a call AT LEAST FOUR months in advance. We reserve a number of spots for follow up appointments and generally a four month lead time is sufficient. 

26. I am going to be having a phone consultation with Dr. Donovan in 3 months and would like to send him photos of my scalp because he said he will need these to monitor my condition. What photos are needed and what exactly should I be photographing?

Dr. Donovan would appreciate photos of the following

1. Frontal hairline with the hair lifted up

2. Central part with hair parted in the middle. 

3. Right temple area - with the hair lifted up

4. Left temple with the hair lifted up

5. Crown (or very top) of the scalp 

6. Any and all concerning areas of hair loss other than these 1-5 should also be photographed. This might include an area of hair loss, redness, pimples, etc.

These photos can be taken with a regular camera or smart phone and submitted to us via email. They will be added to your chart for review by Dr. Donovan ahead of your appointment (normally 48 hrs before your apportionment).

27. I saw Dr Donovan last year and now am moving quite far away. Can he do a skype or remote consultation and continue to be my doctor?

For situations like this, we would ask that you contact the office. In some situations, it is important that Dr Donovan actually examine your scalp up close in order to evaluate the effect of therapy and the degree of disease activity. In some cases it may be possible to periodically have remote consultations, but not in all cases. IN some cases, Dr. Donovan will require you to be seen by him at the Whistler office from time to time in conjunction with remote consultations. We would simply ask that you contact the office

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