A randomized, single-blind trial of 5% minoxidil foam once daily versus 2% minoxidil solution twice daily in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in women

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011 Dec;65(6):1126-1134.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2010.09.724. Epub 2011 Jun 23.


Background: Although twice-daily application of propylene glycol-containing 2% minoxidil topical solution (MTS) stimulates new hair growth, higher concentrations of minoxidil in a once-daily, propylene glycol-free formulation may improve efficacy and reduce unpleasant side effects.

Objective: We sought to compare the efficacy, safety, and acceptability and to show noninferiority of once-daily 5% minoxidil topical foam (MTF) with twice-daily 2% MTS in women with androgenetic alopecia.

Methods: A total of 113 women with androgenetic alopecia were randomized to 24 weeks of treatment with 5% MTF or 2% MTS. The primary efficacy parameter was change from baseline in nonvellus target area hair count at week 24. Secondary end points included change in nonvellus target area hair width, overall efficacy by global photographic review as assessed by treatment-blinded evaluators and the subject herself, adverse events, and participants' assessment of product aesthetics.

Results: After 24 weeks, women randomized to 5% MTF once daily showed noninferior target area hair count and target area hair width and experienced greater, but nonsignificant, improvements in target area hair count, target area hair width, and overall efficacy by global photographic review than those randomized to 2% MTS used twice daily. 5% MTF was significantly superior to 2% MTS in participants' agreement with "the treatment does not interfere with styling my hair" (P = .002). Women randomized to 5% MTF experienced significantly lower rates of local intolerance (P = .046) especially in pruritus and dandruff compared with 2% MTS.

Limitation: Because of differences in the formulations tested, study participants were not blinded to treatment.

Conclusions: Once-daily 5% MTF is noninferior and as effective for stimulating hair growth as twice-daily 2% MTS in women with androgenetic alopecia and is associated with several aesthetic and practical advantages.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alopecia / drug therapy*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Minoxidil / administration & dosage*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Young Adult


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Minoxidil