Side Effects of Low Dose Minoxidil (1-2.5 mg)
Oral minoxidil was a common treatment in the past for individuals with challenging to treat blood pressure. The drug is seeing increasing uses among hair specialists at low doses (0.25 to 2.5 mg). I have been using it in clinic since late 2015. The drug may have benefits in treating androgenetic alopecia, chronic telogen effluvium and alopecia areata. Other uses are increasingly studied.
Although the drug is approved for blood pressure control, any use in treating hair loss is “off label” and should only be prescribed by a physician knowledgable and experienced with its use and only on a case by case basis.
It is important to understand the differences between low dose oral minoxidil and standard dosing - especially when it comes to side effects.
The most common side effects of low dose oral minoxidil can be summarizes with the “HAIR” memory tool and include headaches, ankle edema (swelling), increased hair on the face (and body too), skin rashes and hives. A slight reduction in blood pressure can occur but is usually just a few points. As one approaches 2.5 mg a slight increase in heart rate may occur for some users.
The side effects of higher doses of oral minoxidil reflect the impact the drug has on the cardiovascular system and increases a higher chance of dizziness, lowered blood pressure, increased heart rate, swelling around the heart, and shortness of breath. Other side effects like breast tenderness can be seen. Scroll to slide 2 to see side effects of higher dosing.
Both doses are not permitted in women who wish to become pregnant.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887