Question: I use minoxidil from the chemist. I want to know if it is effective in the long-term for treating male pattern baldness. thanks.
Answer: Hi, Patrick. As you are not a Belgravia client, we would advise you to speak to your minoxidil provider for advice concerning the specific formulation and product you are using. However, we can give you some general advice to help answer your query in the meantime.
Male Pattern Baldness requires on-going management as it is a permanent condition for which there are clinically-proven hair loss treatments but – as yet – no cure. Topical minoxidil is one of only two MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved medications for this particular condition, the other being the one-a-day tablet,finasteride 1mg.
As you may know, there may be some shedding when first starting minoxidil, but once this has stabilised, generally there should be signs of progress within the first three to six months, though for some men with more extensive hair loss it may take up to 12 months. After results are achieved, the maintenance phase of treatment follows.
Many of our male – and female – patients with genetic hair loss have been using high strength minoxidil for many years and manage to maintain the regrowth results they initially achieve, alongside a stable hair density. Continues below…
A November 1987 clinical trial into the long-term efficacy of minoxidil for Male Pattern Baldness investigated the results of using regular strengths of the topical medication (2% or 3% with a placebo control) over a 30 month period.
Researchers found that “Hair regrowth (as measured by hair counts and bald-area diameters) was noted in all treatment groups at four months, and appeared to peak at approximately 12 months. At 30 months, mean hair counts had decreased from the 12-month level, but remained elevated over baseline counts, while mean bald-area diameters returned to baseline. However, 70% of the patients who did continue to use the drug for 30 months had 50% or more hairs than when they originally started the drug therapy. A subset of patients appeared to sustain a continued increase in hair counts after 12 months.“
Although everyone responds differently and some men may see some deterioration in the long-term, this doesn’t necessarily mean minoxidil doesn’t work; it may just be slowing down or delaying the hair loss process for them, instead of stabilising it.
Also, continued shedding whilst using minoxidil may be due to one (or more) of the many variables that can influence hairloss.
For example, incorrect or inconsistent use of treatment often negatively influences results. If the hair loss becomes so advanced that the follicles become incapable of regrowing hair, treatment will become futile.
This is one of the reasons Belgravia patients often express their satisfaction at having a dedicated hair loss specialist and treatment advisor to call upon when health or lifestyle issues, which may be interfering with their treatment courses, arise. Their professional advice and, where necessary, tweaks to the treatments and/or hair growth supporting products used, as well as their support during these worrying episodes, can be extremely reassuring.
I would say, the majority of Belgravia’s long-term patients do maintain a stable hair density, and that monitoring them regularly, as well as advising them promptly if there is any issue, makes a huge difference in this regard.
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.