Among patients with female pattern hair loss taking low-dose oral minoxidil (LDOM) for at least 4 months, minimal changes from baseline were observed in systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and heart rate, results from a small retrospective analysis showed.
Dr Reese Imhof
“Additionally, few patients experienced hair loss progression while slightly over a third experienced hair regrowth,” the study’s first author, Reese Imhof, MD, a third-year resident in the department of dermatology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., said in an interview. The results were published online in JAAD International.
At low doses, oral minoxidil, approved as an antihypertensive over 40 years ago, has become an increasingly popular treatment for hair loss, particularly since an article about its use for hair loss was published in the New York Times in August 2022. (Oral minoxidil is not approved for treating alopecia, and is used off label for this purpose.)
To evaluate the effects of LDOM in female patients with female pattern hair loss, Dr. Imhof, along with colleagues Beija Villalpando, MD, of the department of medicine and Rochelle R. Torgerson, MD, PhD, of the department of dermatology at the Mayo Clinic, reviewed the records of 25 adult women who were evaluated for female pattern hair loss at the Mayo Clinic over a 5-year period that ended on Nov. 27, 2022. Previous studies have looked at the cardiovascular effects of treatment with oral minoxidil and impact on BP in men, but “few studies have reported on female patients receiving LDOM as monotherapy for female pattern hair loss,” the authors noted.
The mean age of the women in their study was 61 years, and they took LDOM for a mean of 6.2 months. Slightly more than half (52%) took a dose of 1.25 mg daily, while 40% took 2.5 mg daily and 8% took 0.625 mg daily.
Of the 25 patients, 10 (40%) had previously tried topical minoxidil but had discontinued it because of local side effects or challenges with adherence. Also, three patients (12%) had previously tried finasteride and spironolactone but discontinued those medications because of adverse side effects.
The researchers noted disease improvement and hair regrowth was observed in nine patients who were treated with LDOM (36%), while three patients (12%) had “unaltered disease progression.” Adverse side effects observed in the cohort included four patients with facial hypertrichosis (16%) and one patient with fluid retention/lower limb edema (4%).
The patients who developed hypertrichosis did not discontinue LDOM, but the patient who developed edema did stop treatment.
At baseline, systolic BP (SBP) ranged from 107-161 mm Hg, diastolic BP (DBP) ranged from 58-88 mm Hg, and heart rate ranged from 54-114 beats per minute. Post treatment, SBP ranged from 102-152 mm Hg, DBP ranged from 63-90 mm Hg, and heart rate ranged from 56 to 105 bpm. “It was surprising how little ambulatory blood pressure and heart rate changed after an average of 6 months of treatment,” Dr. Imhof said in an interview. “On average, SBP decreased by 2.8 mm HG while DBP decreased by 1.4 mm Hg. Heart rate increased an average of 4.4 beats per minute.”
He acknowledged certain limitations of the study, including its small sample size and lack of inclusion of patients who were being treated for hypertension with concomitant antihypertensive medications. “Some unique aspects of our study are that we focused on women, and we had a slightly older cohort than prior studies (61 years old on average) as well as exposure to higher doses of LDOM, with most patients on either 1.25 mg daily or 2.5 mg daily,” Dr. Imhof said.
The researchers reported having no relevant disclosures, and there was no funding source for the study.
This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.