Oral Minoxidil to Treat Hair Loss

I have discussed Minoxidil many times on this blog in the past since it is one of only two drugs officially approved by the US FDA to treat hair loss. Most men use 5% topical Minoxidil foam and apply it to their scalps twice per day. For those who get adverse reactions, dosage is sometimes reduced to once per day.

Unbeknownst to many, Minoxidil was originally approved in 1979 as an oral medication (brand name “Loniten”) to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). It was only approved for treating hair loss in men in 1988 as a topical medication. A women’s version was approved in 1991. To this day, it is not entirely clear as to how Minoxidil works in promoting hair growth, with a number of theories out there, implying the likely involvement of multiple mechanisms.

Oral Minoxidil for Hair Loss

For many years, I have heard that the oral version of Minoxidil results in even more hair growth compared to the topical version, but I always assumed that the side effects would be much worse. Besides blood pressure fluctuations and potential water retention, I was most concerned about the side effect of excess body hair growth from oral Minoxidil turning me into a werewolf. Note: Make sure to read my post on topical Minoxidil and beard growth.

Acceptable in Thailand

Several years ago I read and bookmarked a very lengthy and thoughtful comment by respected Thai hair transplant surgeon Dr. Damkerng Pathomvanich about why he prescribes oral Minoxidil to a select few of his patients. According to him as well as other physicians that had given him feedback, 5 mg per day was an ideal dosage that did not even change patient blood pressure readings significantly. However, some western publications and websites recommend a lower dosage (see links in some of the comments to this post). Image below shows generic 5 mg Minoxidil tablets from Thailand.

Generic 5mg Minoxidil

Side effects are still possible at low doses. Dr. Pathomvanich does not prescribe oral Minoxidil to patients who have blood pressure, heart, liver or kidney problems. Note that according to the official brochure for Loniten, maximum recommended dosage is listed as high as 100 mg per day, which seems crazy. Most patients taking the drug for hypertension do not cross 40 mg per day.

Dr. Rodney Sinclair in Australia Agrees

I had forgotten about the above till today, when commentator “Billa” posted an interesting link to a new audio interview with Australian Dr. Rodney Sinclair. I have covered this well known hair expert a number of times on this blog in the past. In this latest interview, one of the things that Dr. Sinclair states is that oral Minoxidil is much more effective than topical Minoxidil when it comes to hair growth based on some clinical trials that his clinic is currently undertaking.

While the article describing the above interview states that side effects from oral Minoxidil were not significant according to Dr. Sinclair, I did not hear that in the audio interview. I am guessing that this must be true or else they would stop conducting the trials.

Note that oral Minoxidil is not currently FDA approved for treating hair loss, and I do not intend to take the drug.

19 thoughts on “Oral Minoxidil to Treat Hair Loss”

  1. As someone who has genetically triggered high blood pressure, I would be keen on trying it…might kill two birds with one stone. However, Im a seriously hairy mofo, weird as I am blond, but If the side effect is more body hair, id be really put off it I guess.

    Admin, if you have the ability to contact the researchers or have access to further info, then I would be super grateful to hear more the subject!

  2. Hi Admin, after 3mth of waiting period I’ve got an doctor appointment with dr.Leona Yip today. She’s Dr.Sinclair peers. Would ask her about oral Minoxidil.

  3. Update after today my doctor visit, she prescribed finastaride and oral Minoxidil. She did warn me about the side effects but ask me not too worry as they will subside. I showed concern and told her about the sides of taking finastaride from what I read on net. She said only less percentage of ppl who was sides and I asked about men boob she said that’s like .00 percent to happened, she said I will give you prescription for it and you decide if you want to take it or not. Question now should I take it?

  4. I’ve taken oral minoxidil for 1 month. I haven’t noticed any growth of hair on my scalp or anywhere else. But still early, so we’ll see. I haven’t noticed any side effects. I’m also using lots of other treatments simultaneously.

    I started with 2.5mg twice daily (in other words, 5mg total). I measured my blood pressure and heart rate very frequently for a while before starting and then many times each day since I started. It definitely lowered my blood pressure (BP) and raised my heart rate (BPM=beats per minute), although it’s hard to say exactly the precise change because BP and BPM are so variable throughout the day based on food, time of day, sleep, exercise, stress, etc. Even two measurements a minute apart can be quite different. I also tested myself at a local hospital and at the same time with my own devices, just to confirm my home measurements and make sure I’m not missing anything; everything checked correctly. So, bottom line is that it’s tough to say exactly the effect which oral minoxidil has had on my BP and BPM, but looking at averages throughout the day, the 5mg of daily oral minox lowered my BP by about 10/5 and raised my BPM by about 8.

    After 3 weeks on 2×2.5mg daily, I increased to 5mg twice daily (i.e., 10mg a day). There has been no additional change on either my BP or BPM, which is interesting to me because minoxidil is supposed to be dose-dependent, for both blood pressure and for hair (which is why I increased the dose, obviously).

    It’s pretty obvious, but from what I’ve seen, the effect on your blood and heart depends a lot on your BP and BPM when you start. In my case, I’m in very good shape, low body fat, lots of sports including endurance competitions, and a diet which is good for BP. So my BP was already low, and my resting heartrate was very low compared to the general population. So keep that in mind if you’re thinking about it for yourself, it’s clear that the effects will definitely depend on your starting point.

    If you’re interested in buying it, I’ve found several options. Loniten is the brand-name drug. It’s not common, but if you have a prescription, your local pharmacy could probably order it for you, or you can definitely get it from most online pharmacies. Without a prescription, the most common way I’ve seen from guys on forums is to use the online pharmacy thailandpharmacy.net, which sells 100 x 5mg tablets for 23 eur, or 100 x 10mg for 28 eur, although it might be hard to pay depending on your situation because they don’t take PayPal or credit cards, only bank transfer, Western Union, or cryptocurrencies. Another option is to just get it directly from Thailand, where it’s classified as a drug which must be sold in pharmacies, but doesn’t need a prescription. If you are in Thailand, or someone you know goes there on vacation, you can walk into any large pharmacy and buy it without a prescription fairly cheap; the same bottle of tablets costs around US $5 in pharmacies there. You can buy essentially any quantity you’d like from them. The drug label says it’s good for 2 years after manufacture.

    The thread which @admin linked to in his main article (http://www.hairrestorationnetwork.com/eve/156941-any-experience-oral-minoxidil.html) has some very interesting experiences with oral minoxidil and is worth a read through if you’re considering it. In addition to the quote from Dr. Pathomvanich (it’s from an article he wrote in a East Asian hair survey book from over a decade ago), what I particularly found interesting are the experiences of forum posters NotUrAvg, RCWest, UKResponder, and RWS. NotUrAvg is a physician himself who met in Thailand with Dr. Path and came away very convinced about the good risk-reward profile of oral minoxidil for hair loss. RCWest and UKResponder tried it and report good results. RWS is particularly interesting, because he made updates over years as he took it mainly for blood pressure – knowing that the hair growth would be a bonus – and consistently increased his dosage size through the years.

  5. I’ve taken oral Minoxidil for a year now. Loniten 5mg a day. Saw an increase in new hairs after 3 months. That’s on top the good results I got from the success with dutasteride. Liquid/Foam Minoxidil did nothing for me.

    1. Did you discontinue dut and just use the oral minox for results? Also, you mentioned a year, but seen results after 3 months, what was it like a year later? Did you grow hair abnormal in other places…hard to imagine this does not go systemic.

      Thanks

  6. Hey Admin, in the Sinclair video he mentions an over the counter product available at hair salons. I can’t understand the name of the product . Any chance you know the product he is referring to?
    Thx a lot

    1. Most likely an Australian product. Can’t rewatch the whole video at the moment, but feel free to post the name of the product if you rewatch.

  7. Wasn’t there probloms with oral minoxidil…so they swtiched to liquid for rogaine? I know a dr. who speaks about this on youtube in relation to hair loss. Swore I seen it on his power points.

  8. Hey guys.
    My dermatologist has told me about Dr Sinclair’s research and stated that the serious side effects of oral Minoxidil are only present at the doses given for BP treatment (14mg to 100mg). He says that at 1mg or so there might be a slight lowering of BP leading to fluid retention which needs to be watched out for, but not likely to happen in men nor at 1mg. And a small proportion of people might need to remove unwanted hair from between the eyebrows, on the forehead or face. But otherwise there aren’t really any side effects at such a low dosage of 1mg. He is happy to prescribe it but I haven’t reached the point of needing it yet. Just sticking with Fin 1mg to see if that stabilises things (no sides for me, have been taking it for 7m so far).

    Check out these links to find where Dr Sinclair references some of his earlier trials with low dose oral Minoxidil, plus other references I have found online. My Dr said that the only reason the drug companies haven’t obtained approval to use this treatment for hair loss is that there is no money in it for them to do so.

    I’m really interested to see when any new results from Dr Sinclair and others are released in future!

    ———————————-

    See the last few pages:
    http://www.sinclairdermatology.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Androgenic-Alopecia-new-insights-August-2014.pdf

    Also:
    https://theconversation.com/starting-to-thin-out-hair-loss-doesnt-have-to-lead-to-baldness-34984

    And:
    https://f1000research.com/articles/6-1650/v1

    From a Dr Donovan in Canada:
    http://donovanmedical.com/hair-blog/2017/7/4/oral-minoxidil-for-hair-loss

    Dr Pathomvanich from Thailand:
    https://page-one.live.cf.public.springer.com/pdf/preview/10.1007/978-4-431-99659-0_17

    And a link to the whole chapter from Dr Pathomvanich in the book previously mentioned in this thread:
    https://books.google.com.au/books?id=vd6ILG_cOjIC&pg=PA75&lpg=PA75&dq=male+hair+low+dose+oral+minoxidil&source=bl&ots=4eYxQuYgYV&sig=6k151cH2cMb2aIBibOc7UqDQ0vk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjXq7HGpLXWAhWKI5QKHbTYBSc4ChDoAQhZMAc#v=onepage&q&f=false

    And finally here is a flyer from the National Health Service in the U.K.:
    http://www.srft.nhs.uk/EasysiteWeb/getresource.axd?AssetID=88353&type=full&servicetype=Inline

    Happy reading.

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