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Oral Minoxidil : New treatment for male and female baldness: new use of an old drug

What is Oral Minoxidil?

Oral Minoxidil is a drug originally used to treat high blood pressure. Interestingly, it was found out that one of the side effects of this medicine is to increase hair growth, so it was started to be used as a topical treatment in Androgenetic alopecia (baldness).

How you can use it?

Minoxidil is used with other medications to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems. Minoxidil works by relaxing blood vessels so blood can flow more easily.

The use of topical minoxidil is the only approved treatment for female pattern hair loss, in other words, baldness in women and it is one of the just 2 approved treatments for male baldness.

How oral minoxidil works?

How it works is not fully understood, but it is probably due to increased blood flow to the roots of the hairs. This way it makes hair longer and thicker and it stops it from falling.

Topical minoxidil is available 2% and 5%, both as a lotion and foam, and anyone can buy it over the counter in most pharmacies. Can also be found online which could be cheaper.

Is Oral minoxidil safe?

It is considered a safe treatment, with very few, mild side effects. However several times people find that the use of topical versions could make their hair greasy, fuzzy and it is not uncommon to develop irritation of the scalp with associated itching and burning sensation.

There are also reports of patients who become allergic to it.

As a result, they stop using this topical treatment and try to find other options to stop hair loss and improve the appearance of their hair.

When can you use oral minoxidil?

There are many off-license treatment options available for baldness and based on each individual’s severity of the condition, other medical issues, as well as considering many other factors, every hair expert proposes the best options for every patient.

Oral minoxidil is a relatively new off-label treatment option. The approved indication for oral minoxidil is severe high blood pressure unresponsive to standard treatment.
In terms of side effects, it can lower the blood pressure, it can increase the fluids in the body and it can also increase the heart rate.

How to use Minoxidil

Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually once or twice a day.

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Follow hair loss expert instructions carefully before you take it.

It may take several days to a couple of weeks before you get the full benefit of this drug. Tell your dermatologist if your condition does not improve or if it worsens (your blood pressure readings remain high or increase).

Does Oral minoxidil work?

Nowadays, there have been several studies over the world to support that if it is used in a very low dose in both female or male baldness, it is an efficient and safe treatment, and many hair experts have started prescribing it to their patients.

This treatment should not be used during pregnancy or in women who are trying to conceive.

When should you not use minoxidil?

Moreover, people with heart problems such as heart failure, angina, or recent heart attack, or patient with phaeochromocytoma, significant kidney problems, or acute porphyria may not be suitable for this type of treatment.

If you don’t like applying the lotion or the foam once or twice a day, if every time you use it makes your scalp itchy, if you have fed up using it, or even if you think that it does not work, then oral minoxidil might be a suitable treatment for you.

If you would like to discuss this treatment option further, or you want to see what other alternative treatments are available, book a consultation with Dr. Anastasia, an expert in hair disorders.

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