Press reports of preliminary minoxidil research have generated a great deal of public enthusiasm to establish it as a method of treatment for hair loss well before research has been completed and data analyzed for safety and efficacy. It is imperative that we critically assess the status of minoxidil research, the current relevance of minoxidil as a therapeutic modality for hair loss, and the future directions for research in this area.
Minoxidil, a potent direct peripheral vasodilator that is used to control severe hypertension, causes a reversible hypertrichosis in most patients who receive systemic therapeutic doses for one month or longer.1,2 In 1980, Zappacosta3 reported the reversal of male pattern alopecia in a patient receiving oral minoxidil therapy for hypertension. In 1981, preliminary observations were reported in which two of three patients treated with a 1% topical minoxidil solution had hair regrowth at sites of severe, treatment-resistant alopecia
Virginia C. Weiss, Dennis P. West. Topical Minoxidil Therapy and Hair Regrowth. Arch Dermatol. 1985;121(2):191–192. doi:10.1001/archderm.1985.01660020049014
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