Minoxidil, the little pill that could is getting a lot of buzz these days, including a feature in the New York Times . Originally, this pill was prescribed as a blood pressure medicine. Then doctors and patients noticed that patients taking this medicine also grew more hair! A topical version of minoxidil, branded as topical Rogaine first came to market in 1988 and still remains one of the most common treatments for male and female pattern hair loss.
However, some of my patients cannot tolerate using topical Rogaine (or generic topical minoxidil). Some of the patients find that it is difficult to use daily and incorporate into their lifestyle because they work out often or travel a lot. Others do not like the way it makes their hair look and it affects how they can style their hair.
For these patients, oral minoxidil may be an effective and safe option. I prescribe the medicine at an extremely small dose so as to minimize any risk of side effects. As with the topical version, some shedding may occur in the first couple weeks of use and results typically are seen after 6-9 months of consistent use but hair growth can continue to improve for 2 years.
Although the mechanism of action of oral or topical minoxidil for hair growth is unclear, it is thought to shorten the telogen phase (shedding phase) of hair and push hairs into the anagen phase (growth phase).
As with any hair loss treatment, it is best to first get your hair loss evaluated by a board certified dermatologist to ensure the type of hair loss that you have and choose the best treatment.
To see Dr. Lisa Zhang, Houston's Hair Loss Doctor as a patient in my Houston, Texas office, please call 713-988-8442 or fill out a contact form.