Low-Dose Oral Minoxidil for Alopecia: A Comprehensive Review

    September 2023 in “ Skin appendage disorders
    Aditya K. Gupta, Mesbah Talukder, Avner Shemar, Bianca Maria Piraccini, Antonella Tosti
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    TLDR Low-dose oral minoxidil may help treat hair loss but is not FDA-approved and can cause side effects like unwanted hair growth and heart issues.
    Low-dose oral minoxidil (LDOM) has shown potential in treating various hair disorders, including male androgenetic alopecia (AGA) and female-pattern hair loss (FPHL), despite not being FDA-approved for this use. The efficacy and side effects of LDOM appear to be dose-dependent, with common side effects being hypertrichosis and cardiovascular symptoms. Several studies were reviewed, with varying numbers of participants, showing that LDOM can be effective in treating different types of alopecia. For example, a study with 30 male patients taking 5 mg minoxidil daily showed a significant increase in total hair count after 12 and 24 weeks. However, a study with 25 male patients taking 0.25 mg/day of minoxidil for 24 weeks showed no substantial enhancement in total hair count, suggesting a higher dose might be necessary. Side effects were minor and included headaches, vertigo, and edema, but no clinical hypotension. Females were found to be more prone to develop hypertrichosis compared to males when taking less than 2.5 mg minoxidil orally per day. Despite its potential, LDOM is not recommended for use in pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers due to potential risks. Further studies are needed to establish its safety and efficacy in pediatric patients.
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