Minoxidil to Treat Androgenetic Alopecia in Men and Women: What is It & How does It Work?

    Theanmulllai Palanisamy
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    TLDR Minoxidil, originally a blood pressure medication, is effective in treating hair loss in men and women, with different strengths recommended for each.
    This document discusses the use of minoxidil to treat androgenetic alopecia (AGA) in men and women. AGA is a type of hair loss caused by the miniaturization of genetically predisposed hair follicles. Minoxidil, originally introduced as an anti-hypertensive agent, was found to cause increased hair growth as a side effect. Clinical trials were conducted to test the efficacy of topical minoxidil formulations in treating AGA. The 2% and 5% formulations were found to be effective in men, with the 5% formulation being more effective and having fewer side effects. In women, the 2% formulation was found to be better than the placebo and safer than the 5% formulation. Minoxidil needs to be converted into its active metabolite, minoxidilsulphate, to exert its effect. The exact mechanism of how minoxidil promotes hair growth is still unclear, but it is believed to act mainly on the hair cycle by prolonging the duration of anagen and increasing the hair diameter. Minoxidil is approved by the FDA to treat AGA in both men and women.
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