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Could Oral Minoxidil Treat Permanent Hair Loss from Chemotherapy?

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Losing their hair during chemotherapy can be incredibly traumatic for cancer patients, not least because this visible side effect effectively announces their illness to others.

Whilst there are devices known as cold caps, or scalp cooling systems, which can be worn during chemo sessions to help prevent hair loss, these still have their limitations.

Researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago, USA, have announced they will be carrying out clinical trials to find out whether oral minoxidil may benefit cancer survivors with a diagnosis of permanent hair loss following chemotherapy.

pill tablet oral medication

Currently high strength minoxidil the only MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved genetic hair loss treatment for men and women when administered topically.

Low dose oral minoxidil treatment

Low-dose oral minoxidil therapy will be explored during a small clinical trial involving 25 cancer survivors aged 18 and over.

Each participant, male and female, must have completed their chemo treatment more than six months prior to the study, and have a professional diagnosis of permanent chemotherapy-induced hairloss.

All participants will be instructed to take a 1.25mg dose of minoxidil every day for 90 days by splitting the 2.5mg tablets provided, in half.

Changes to their hair regrowth and quality of life will be assessed every 12 weeks, over a total period of 48 weeks. There is no control group for this study which is due to start in March 2019.

Results are expected in December 2020 and the findings will be published here on Belgravia’s hair loss blog once they are released.

Does chemotherapy always cause hair loss?

One question many cancer patients want to know before starting treatment is “does chemotherapy always cause hair loss?”.

There isn’t a definitive answer on this as, whilst the on-going chemo sessions do generally cause hair fall and thinning, the extent of this depends on a number of factors and can differ from person-to-person.

Some people may experience negligible amounts of shedding, whilst others may lose all their hair. This can vary depending on aspects such as the type of medication used and the duration of treatment.

Hairloss from this type of cancer treatment can be permanent but is usually temporary, regrowing naturally within 12 months of the survivor’s last chemo appointment. In some cases hair regrowth may come through slightly different to how the individual’s hair looked before chemotherapy, for example curly instead of straight, but this often rights itself within a few months’ time.

Anyone whose hair does not grow back of its own accord may be able to follow an appropriate treatment course. However, at Belgravia , in addition to a consultation with one of our dedicated hair specialists, we also require written confirmation from the patient’s oncologist that they are medically-suitable for treatment before we can dispense any medications.


The Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. 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 world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.

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