Treatment of chronic telogen effluvium with oral minoxidil: A retrospective study

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Background: Chronic telogen effluvium (CTE) may be primary or secondary to various causes, including drug reaction, nutritional deficiency and female pattern hair loss (FPHL). Oral minoxidil stimulates hair growth, and topical minoxidil is used in the treatment of FPHL and male androgenetic alopecia. minoxidil has not been used to treat CTE. This study aimed to assess the treatment of CTE with once daily oral minoxidil. Methods: Women with a diagnosis of CTE based on >6 month history of increased telogen hair shedding, no visible mid frontal scalp hair loss (Sinclair stage 1) and no hair follicle miniaturization on scalp biopsy were treated with once daily oral minoxidil. Hair shedding scores (HSS) at baseline, 6 and 12 months were analysed using the Wilcoxon rank sum test for pair-wise comparisons. Results: Thirty-six women were treated with oral minoxidil (range, 0.25-2.5 mg) daily for 6 months. Mean age was 46.9 years (range 20-83), HSS at baseline was 5.64, and duration of diagnosis was 6.55 years (range 1-27). There was a reduction in mean HSS scores from baseline to 6 months of 1.7 (p<0.001) and baseline to 12 months of 2.58 (p<0.001). Five women who described trichodynia at baseline, noted improvement or resolution within 3 months. Mean change in blood pressure was minus 0.5 mmHg systolic and plus 2.1 mmHg diastolic. Two patients developed transient postural dizziness that resolved with continued treatment. One patient developed ankle oedema. Thirteen women developed facial hypertrichosis. For 6 patients this was mild and did not require treatment; 4 had waxing of their upper lip or forehead; 3 had laser hair removal. No patients developed any haematological abnormality. All 36 women completed 12 months of treatment. Conclusions: Once daily oral minoxidil appears to reduce hair shedding in CTE. Placebo controlled studies are recommended to further assess this response.




Sinclair, R., & Perera, E. (2017). Treatment of chronic telogen effluvium with oral minoxidil: A retrospective study. F1000Research, 6.

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