Pharmacological treatment – Minoxidil
In hair treatment and also after a hair transplant, there are several medications that can be prescribed by the trichologist, three of them as main ones: Finasteride, Dutasteride and Minoxidil. Of the latter we will know a little more. The U.S. National Library of Medicine states that Minoxidil “is used to stimulate hair growth and slow baldness.” He admits, however, that its effectiveness increases in people under 40 years of age and has no effect on more pronounced receding hairlines, nor can it cure baldness.
When we talk about Minoxidil, we are talking about a long-term medication. It has been used since the 1980s as a treatment for high blood pressure, as it is an arteriolar vasodilator drug. The doses used for this purpose were between 10 and 40 mg per day. It was early on when a side effect of the drug was observed: thickening of the patient’s hair (hypertrichosis) was produced.
This led to the investigation of Minoxidil for capillary purposes, concluding that it will have an effect against male and female alopecia while it is used. In addition, it was discovered that there was an increase in prostaglandin, a substance that stimulates hair growth. It also lengthens the hair growth phase and shortens the shedding phase (anagen and telogen) and, being a vasodilator, as it was wanted to treat hypertension, it improved blood flow to the hair follicles.
Under what conditions is Minoxidil prescribed?
Minoxidil must be prescribed by a specialist in hair medicine, such as Doctor Espinosa Custodio. This medicine will help the patient’s hair treatment and will serve as a complement, according to the doctor’s diagnosis, to the hair transplant or diagnosed medical treatment.
How is Minoxidil applied?
Minoxidil, initially, was marketed in the form of a lotion and, after its good results, pills began to be provided. It should be used in the dose recommended by the doctor and in the temporary space that he indicates. Excess dosage will not increase hair growth or work faster. However, it can increase side effects.
As for the pills, it is allowed to take them in low doses around 0.25-1mg for women and 5mg for men. It is recommended to take it at night whenever possible and it has some advantages, such as maximum effectiveness, as its properties are completely absorbed.
Should I follow precautions with Minoxidil?
As with all medicines, you should inform your doctor if you are allergic to Minoxidil or experience allergic symptoms after use. In addition, you should warn if you take medications for hypertension or have had diseases that affect the heart, kidney, liver or scalp. You will also need to let your doctor know if you are or plan to become pregnant or if you have a baby you are breast-feeding. Lastly, it is advisable to avoid prolonged and unnecessary exposure to the sun, wearing clothing that covers your skin and using sun creams.
Does Minoxidil have side effects?
Side effects are not common with Minoxidil. However, you should inform your doctor if any abnormality occurs on the scalp, such as itching, dryness, flaking, irritation…
Also, you should call right away if you notice weight gain, swelling of the face, ankles, hands, or abdomen, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, chest pain, or dizziness.
It may happen, on rare occasions, that the patient presents a mild headache at the beginning of treatment. A symptomatology that will remit after 4 or 5 days.
How is it preserved?
The drug should be stored at room temperature, away from excessive heat and moisture, and out of the reach of children.
Is there anything else I need to know about Minoxidil?
Yes, you should know that taking Minoxidil will lead to increased hair loss during the first 3 or 4 months of treatment. It is something normal and known as shedding effect. Follicles that are in the telogen phase will drop to enter the anagen phase. However, there is nothing to worry about, as it is not perceptible to our relatives and acquaintances, since it will not lead to less hair density.
Can I stop taking the medicine?
The effect of Minoxidil is based on the patient’s consistency in taking it. It will be essential so that the effect of this can be maintained over time. For this reason, the doctor will schedule your doses throughout the week, which may be daily or on fewer days per week. Once the intake is stopped, the hair will lose the faculties that the medicine provides and it will return to the starting situation.
Who should prescribe Minoxidil?
Minoxidil must be prescribed by a Trichologist such as Doctor Espinosa Custodio, Medical Director of the Instituto Médico del Prado who in your diagnostic consultation will decide based on their experience the best treatment for you.