Do my hormone levels have to be high in order for me to benefit from spironolactone?
Spironolactone is a hormone blocking pill using to treat genetic hair loss in women (also called female pattern hair loss or "FPHL". Spironolactone can reduce the levels and androgens by the adrenals and ovaries. Studies dating back to 2005 showed the spironolactone can stop hair loss in about 40 % of women and increase hair density in 40 % of women.
The importance of these early findings was the observation that hormone levels at initiation of therapy did not matter. Women with higher hormone levels (ie higher DHEAS and higher total testosterone) were just as likely to benefit as women with lower or normal levels of these hormones.
Overall, this study was very important as it suggested that hormone levels in female patients do not necessary sway the decision as to whether to use spironolactone or not.
Treatment of female pattern hair loss with oral anti androgens. Sinclair R, et al. Br J Dermatol. 2005.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Vancouver office at 604.283.9299