Androgenic Alopecia and Minoxidil – A Research Review

Portrait of attractive man with hair concernAndrogenic alopecia also referred to as androgenetic alopecia and male pattern baldness, is a common type of hair loss that affects both men and women. The principal reason for hair loss or balding of this type seems to be an abnormal sensitivity to male sex hormones influenced by genetic predisposition (Proctor, 1999). In this context it is imperative to mention that male and female hormones are present in men and women alike, but in varied proportions depending on the sex.

In men, androgenic alopecia involves a hair loss above the temple regions, vertex and the scalp with a typical hairline recession. In women, it involves diffuse hair thinning over the top of the scalp but without hairline recession (McElwee and Shapiro, 2012).


Minoxidil was a drug originally administered orally to treat hypertension. The accidental discovery of an increase in hair growth as a side effect of the drug essentially led to its therapeutic application for treating alopecia (hair loss). The hair growth promoting activity of this potassium channel opener, vasodilator drug is still under active investigation (Scow, 1999).

Research Evidence

Recent clinical studies with topical Minoxidil formulations have shown that 40% patients exhibit hair re-growth within a period of six months (Goren, 2015). The discovery of specific biomarkers to trace and track the activity of Minoxidil in promoting hair growth has been instrumental in predicting the therapeutic efficacy of the same. One such biomarker minoxidil sulfate, mediated by the sulfotransferase enzyme SULT1A1 is worth mention here (Goren, 2014).

Numerous clinical trials have proved that Minoxidil brings significantly better results in patient outcomes with minimum side-effects and maximum safety (Lee, 2014). These studies on safety and efficacy of topical Minoxidil solution in the treatment of male pattern baldness have in fact substantiated the previous preliminary studies on Minoxidil by a clinical trial across twenty-seven centers in the 80s (Spindler, 1988).

A randomized, single-blind trial of Minoxidil foam in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in women (Blume, 2011) has shown that it is effective for stimulating hair growth. A multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of a novel formulation of Minoxidil topical foam in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in men has also shown that Minoxidil formulation is not only an effective but also a safe option (Olsen, 2007). Another thirty-two week double-blind placebo-controlled trial to assess the safety and efficacy of Minoxidil formulations for the treatment of female androgenetic alopecia has shown that the formulations cause no serious side effects (Whiting and Jacobson, 1992).

Recent Trends

The clinical efficiency of Minoxidil in alopecia therapy has thus, prompted the production of new topical aqueous formulations to enhance water solubility and permeability of the drug in the skin (Uprit, 2013; Sakr, 2013; Lopedota, 2014 and Matos, 2015). Regenepure Topical Minoxidil 5% Spray is one such recent innovative product containing 5% Minoxidil. The product is designed with a fine precision mist applicator that allows easy aerated application of Minoxidil on the target hair loss site.

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