Can I Reduce My Dose?
The safest dose of any medication is no dose at all. However, that’s not usually possible, nor practical. Nevertheless, one must always ask the question “Can I reduce my overall dose?” In general, one must be careful about lowering doses of medications when treating androgenetic alopecia. Lower doses are not always as effective. Often I hear patients using minoxidil who think that going down to three times per weeks will allow them to maintain their results. The reality is that it seldom does. For oral medications (like finasteride for men) it may be possible to skip a dose once or twice per week without negative consequences. This is not possible for everyone.
For those with alopecia areata, one can lower doses when hair starts growing well. Topical steroids can be a few times per week rather than daily once hair is growing well. Steroid injections are reduced to every few months. Oral medications are reduced as well.
For scarring alopecia, medications can also be reduced once the disease comes under control. A patient using hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) might go from twice a day to once a day and eventually twice a week.
Medication dosing is a bit of an art and one must always consider whether they can or can not reduce their dosing. In general, once diseases like alopecia areata and scarring alopecias come under excellent control one can consider reducing the dose at some point.
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