I’m losing my hair and do not think topical minoxidil (Rogaine) or finasteride (Propecia) will effectively treat the problem. Because of this, I’m considering asking a doctor for oral minoxidil. Is this a drug normally used for hair loss? What kind of side effects could I experience? Will this effectively treat my hair loss?
Oral minoxidil (sold under the brand name “Loniten”) is a very serious blood pressure medication. It is frequently used in emergent hospital situations to reduce high blood pressures when other medications fail. Because of this, it can have serious effects on your blood pressure, heart function, and cause significant fluid retention and tissue swelling. On top of all this, it has not been reviewed and proven safe or effective for the treatment of hair loss by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Knowing this, most hair loss experts do not recommend it to patients. In fact, using oral minoxidil, even in low doses, usually requires a prescription for another drug: a diuretic (“water pill”) to help reduce the fluid retention-associated tissue swelling. This helps demonstrate the serious nature of the medication. However, there is some good news: topical minoxidil (both the 2% and 5% liquid and foam versions) has been reviewed by the FDA and approved for the safe and effective treatment of hair loss. Because of this, most hair restoration experts enthusiastically recommend it to patients. If you are interested in minoxidil (in any form), I do recommend scheduling an appointment with a hair loss doctor and discussing the medication.
Blake Bloxham – formerly “Future_HT_Doc”
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