Oral Minoxidil Improves Background Hair Thickness in Lichen Planopilaris

Article summary by Song Park, MD | Board-Certified Dermatologist | University of Washington Department of Dermatology

Low-dose oral minoxidil (LDOM) has been increasingly used for a variety of hair loss conditions. Recent paper reports that LDOM may improve thickness of existing hairs in lichen planopliaris (LPP), a scarring hair loss condition.

Vañó-Galván et al. reviewed change of background hair thickness of 51 LPP patients who were treated with LDOM for more than 6 months (mean duration of therapy of 21 months. In the study, hair thickness improved 40% of cases, remained stable in 53%, and worsened in 8% of cases. The medication was well tolerated. Side effects were relatively mild including unwanted hair growth outside of scalp (hypertrichosis) in 14 patients, low blood pressure, palpitation, and weight gain in less than 3 patients each.

This study is encouraging as it shows that LDOM can help maintain or increase hair in LPP patients with minimal side effects, potentially in conjunction with anti-inflammatory agents to improve LPP condition.

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Reference: Vañó-Galván S, Trindade de Carvalho L, Saceda-Corralo D, Rodrigues-Barata R, Kerkemeyer KL, Sinclair RD, Hermosa-Gelbard Á, Moreno-Arrones ÓM, Jimenez-Cauhe J, Bhoyrul B. Oral minoxidil improves background hair thickness in lichen planopilaris. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2021 Jun;84(6):1684-1686. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2020.04.026. Epub 2020 Apr 11. PMID: 32289397.