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Oral Minoxidil For Hair Loss

What is oral minoxidil treatment?

Minoxidil was originally used to treat high blood pressure. During treatment they found patients on minoxidil developed increased body hair. This ultimately led to the development of topical minoxidil applied directly to the scalp for hair loss treatment.

Here at GrowBack we use oral minoxidil at lower doses than those used for blood pressure, as the low dose still stimulates hair growth with lower risk of side effects. This is an off-label treatment, and is used in patients where topical minoxidil has caused damage to the hair, or in patients with fragile hair conditions.

Avoid oral minoxidil treatment?

  • If you are pregnant or trying to conceive

  • If you have a heart condition (e.g. heart failure, angina or a recent heart attack)

  • If you have underlying chronic health issues, especially kidney, heart and liver problems

  • If you have a small vascular tumour of the adrenal medulla, causing irregular secretion of adrenalin and noradrenaline leading to attacks of raised blood pressure, palpitations, and headache.

  • If you suffer porphyria

  • If you have low blood pressure or use other anti-hypertensives

  • If you are allergic to minoxidil

Potential side effects of oral minoxidil

  • Fluid retension (causing weight gain and/or ankle swelling)

  • Increased heart rate

  • Pericarditis causing chest pain

  • Pericardial effusion causing shortness of breath

  • Low blood pressure

  • Dizziness or fainting

  • Increased body hair growth

  • Skin rashes

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Breast tenderness

  • Blood test abnormalities

You may notice some increased hair shedding at the start of your treatment and up to 6 weeks of your treatment journey.

Cautionary rules before beginning treatment

  1. All women must have negative pregnancy test before treatment begins

  2. All women of childbearing potential must use effective contraception during the treatment course and for one month after to prevent pregnancy

  3. All patients must report a baseline blood pressure reading and send results to GrowBack each week for the first six weeks

  4. All patients must report any side effects and routinely keep an eye on their blood pressure

Cautionary rules during oral minoxidil treatment

  1. Report any side effects to GrowBack

  2. Minimise alcohol intake as this increases the risk of low blood pressure

  3. Limit caffeine containing products, e.g. caffeinated drinks, cold and flu products, as these may increase the risk of a rapid heart rate or palpitations

  4. Regular blood tests may need to be performed, alongside an ECG, when advised

  5. If you feel unwell and suspect oral minoxidil as the cause attend A&E urgently

If you notice any of the following stop taking oral minoxidil and visit the nearest A&E

  • Increased pulse / palpitations (>20 bpm higher than normal at

  • Rapid weight gain (>2kg) or ankle swelling

  • Shortness of breath or chest pain

  • Dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting


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