Low Dose Oral Minoxidil in female patients with Lichen planopilaris: Real-life experience

Article Summary by Wonder Edem | MD Candidate 2024 |University of California, Riverside School of Medicine

Lichen planopilaris (LPP) is one of the most common forms of scarring hair loss. It mainly affects women within ages from 40 to 60. For patients with LPP, the primary goal of treatment is to decrease the overall inflammation and disrupt the disease progression. In addition to the treatment to decrease inflammation, low dose oral minoxidil can be used to increase the thickness of hair strands and hair mass, which can produce an improved appearance around the areas of hair loss.

Gallo et al., studied the safety and efficacy of low dose oral minoxidil in LPP. The study selected 12 female patients with LPP. At the time of the study, their LPP was in stable state with anti-inflammatory medications. Each participant took an average daily dose of oral minoxidil of 0.5 mg before bedtime. These patients were followed for 3, 6 and 12 months with documented clinical images to track progress. After the initial 3 months of treatment, all patients reported improvement in the thickness of hair strands and increased hair mass. These changes continued into the 6 and 12 month follow ups. At the end of the 12-month trial, 100% of patients reported significant increase in hair thickness; clinical images showed an improved appearance. Patients also reported decreased hair loss and greater cosmetic appearance.

Overall, low dose oral minoxidil was well tolerated. This study illustrates the safety and effectiveness of low dose oral minoxidil for increased hair strand thickness, hair mass and camouflage effect in LPP.

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Reference: Gallo G, Burzi L, Torrelli F, Quaglino P, Ribero S. Low-dose oral minoxidil in female patients with lichen planopilaris: Real-life experience. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2023 Jan;37(1):e98-e100. doi: 10.1111/jdv.18489. Epub 2022 Sep 1. PMID: 35974439.