When it comes to hair loss treatment, what is considered new is also popular. This may not be the absolute truth, but it is always what happens, especially for oral minoxidil. Many physicians are increasingly prescribing this drug to their patients. oral minoxidil was commonly used in the early 70s and 80s.
It was mainly used to treat high blood pressure with dosses ranging from 20-60 mg. A huge percentage of patients using the drug to treat their high blood pressure conditions reported that hair grew on their bodies and head. This is what led to research and later development of another form of minoxidil for treating hair loss problems.
The use of oral minoxidil has generally increased over the past few years. However, its use is entirely ‘off label’ since it hasn’t been approved by FDA for hair loss treatment. Many patients who have used the drug have reported significant changes. Nonetheless, the treatment comes with side effects, particularly if certain rules are not adhered to.
Just like any other medicine, failure to follow the dosage requirements will lead to negative side effects. This is the same case with oral minoxidil.
Common Mistakes Clinicians Make when Prescribing Oral Minoxidil for Female Hair Loss
Below are 5 common mistakes in prescribing oral minoxidil for women’s hair loss:
1. Starting the patients on a too high dose of oral minoxidil
It has emerged that many patients are always started out with excessive doses of oral minoxidil. While there are no specific dosage rules as such (because the treatment is off-label), many women are started at a dose of about 2.5 mg. Most women can tolerate up to 1.25 mg without having any issues but not all. As soon as you exceed 1.25 mg, that’s where the chances of having negative side effects increase. One common and noticeable side effect is the increase in oily hair and scalp.
A study conducted in 2020 revealed critical information with regards to the type of side effects to expect when a female patient uses more than one mg of oral minoxidil to treat hair loss. The study showed that 4 percent of those how used more than 1 mg of oral minoxidil experienced fit swelling while another 27 percent developed excessive hair.
In other words, the use of doses of more than 1.25 mg can increase the chances of patients developing negative side effects. That’s when you may start to experience fluid retention as well as dizziness. As such, it is advisable to start at lower dosages of about 0.625 within the first two weeks and increase to 1.25.
2. Increasing the oral minoxidil dosage too quickly
It is important to understand that there are no specific guidelines with regards to the dosage of oral minoxidil. If you are young and healthy with a normal baseline blood pressure, then you can start from ¼ of a 2.5 mg pill and later increase to up to ½ a pill. There’s no problem increasing your dosage after at least two weeks.
However, most patients tend to increase the dosage too quickly than expected without paying attention to the consequences. Before increasing your dosage, you should understand when and how side effects happen. Is it after a few hours or after several weeks? Well, studies show that various side effects show up at different times.
For example, issues with the heart rate occur in a matter of hours or days (if they will ever occur). Slight headaches happen between 5-10 days while dizziness can be experienced within the first month.
This is why you should not rush to increase the dosage after a few days or weeks. Try to monitor how your body reacts to the treatment before you decide to go to an extra level of the drug.
3. Underestimating the probability of side effects from oral minoxidil
It is a fact that oral minoxidil has helped many women with their hair loss problems. It is always the wish of every physician that the treatment works with little or no side effects. But the excitement and expectations from oral minoxidil are at times not realistic.
It is important for both patients and physicians to appreciate the side effects that come with the use of oral minoxidil. Evidence has shown that even minimal dosages of oral minoxidil have side effects. If you have used the drug and never experienced any side effects, then chances are you are not prescribing enough of it.
Although there is not enough evidence with regards to all the side effects, the reality is that all oral minoxidil prescriptions have some form of side effects. It is always good to have an open mind when going for treatment and be ready for anything. The side effects may be mild or severe depending on your current health standing. As such, you should work closely with a physician during the entire treatment period.
4. Stopping the oral minoxidil too soon
Oral minoxidil is a type of treatment that respects the rules of hair growth. It normally takes between 4 to 6 weeks for you to experience results. It doesn’t matter how long it may take, the truth of the matter is that you will see some results in one way or the other.
The problem is that some patients become get impatient too soon. They expect to see results a few days or weeks after taking the drug and when that doesn’t happen, they conclude that oral minoxidil doesn’t work. According to physicians and other drug experts, it takes approximately four or six months to determine whether oral minoxidil works or not.
5. Decreasing the dose of oral minoxidil instead of increasing it
This is another common mistake that women make when using oral minoxidil to treat hair loss. Most of them start with high dosages and as soon as they start experiencing results, they reduce the dose. This is not recommended as it can render the drug ineffective.
If you are going to use oral minoxidil to treat androgenic hair loss, then you should have a proper plan. But deciding to reduce the dose after you have experienced some positive results may have a negative effect in the end.
In general, oral minoxidil is increasingly becoming popular drug for the treatment for hair loss. While the drug has shown some positive results, it is important to use it in the right manner. Besides, you should not assume the side effects caused by the treatment.
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