Whilst the majority of over-the-counter formulations aimed at females, such as Regaine for Women, contain either 2 per cent or 5 per cent minoxidil, a new clinical trial in Italy is currently testing a 15 per cent version.
Hoping for increased level of response
As the only MHRA and FDA approved treatment for female pattern hair loss, many women with this condition rely on topical minoxidil solutions to help their regrowth.
At present, 5 per cent is the maximum approved dosage but researchers at the Istituto Scienze Dermatologiche (Institute of Dermatological Science) in Florence, Italy are trialling a 15 per cent solution. Their aim is to see if the high strength minoxidil is able to produce a response in subjects with female pattern hair loss who have been shown, through testing developed by the researchers, to have no response to treatment with a 5 per cent dosage.
The study notes that although minoxidil has a ‘good safety profile’ its efficacy overall for both sexes is ‘relatively low’, and thought to have around a 30 to 40 per cent chance of promoting regrowth. This data is based on basic minoxidil solutions and does not refer to formulations with added ingredients.
Study participants are all women aged 18 to 55, with female pattern hair loss that measures between 2 and 4 on the Sinclair scale and who have not used minoxidil for at least the past six months. None of the women have scalp conditions, are pregnant or wear wigs.
Test to assess likely response pre-treatment
The team explains in its trial submission that minoxidil produces regrowth results when it is converted to its active form (minoxidil sulfate) by a sulfotransferase enzyme which is found in the hair follicles. Therefore, people whose enzymatic activity is low tend to experience little or no resulting regrowth.
The team has developed an in-vitro diagnostic test which is said to be able to correctly identify 95.9 per cent of those people who will not respond to basic 5 per cent minoxidil before they actually start treatment. Their diagnostic test analyses the hair follicles’ sulfotransferase enzymatic activity and assesses whether a specified amount of minoxidil is likely to be converted into its active form – the state required to induce hair growth.
This test in itself is something of a breakthrough as – should the test prove to be consistently accurate – it could give women seeking hair loss treatment, and their clinicians, an idea of how effective it is likely to be, in advance.
Current comprehensive treatment programmes for female pattern hair loss – which have proved effective and promoted significant regrowth in many Belgravia clients – consists of minoxidil used in conjunction with a range of hair growth boosters. These can include dietary supplements such as Hair Vitalics and at-home (or in-clinic) laser therapy using the HairMax LaserComb, to aid hair growth and improve the condition and strength of the hair from the inside, out.
Final clinical data from this trial is due to be collected in February 2016 and published sometime after that. As soon as findings are made available, we will report them here so do check back for updates.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.