Low-dose daily aspirin reduces topical minoxidil efficacy in androgenetic alopecia patients

Dermatol Ther. 2018 Nov;31(6):e12741. doi: 10.1111/dth.12741. Epub 2018 Oct 8.


Topical minoxidil is the only US FDA approved OTC drug for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia (AGA). Minoxidil is a pro-drug converted into its active form, minoxidil sulfate, by the sulfotransferase enzymes in the outer root sheath of hair follicles. Previously, we demonstrated that sulfotransferase activity in hair follicles predicts response to topical minoxidil in the treatment of AGA. In the human liver, sulfotransferase activity is significantly inhibited by salicylic acid. Low-dose OTC aspirin (75-81 mg), a derivative of salicylic acid, is used by millions of people daily for the prevention of coronary heart disease and cancer. It is not known whether oral aspirin inhibits sulfotransferase activity in hair follicles, potentially affecting minoxidil response in AGA patients. In the present study, we determined the follicular sulfotransferase enzymatic activity following 14 days of oral aspirin administration. In our cohort of 24 subjects, 50% were initially predicted to be responders to minoxidil. However, following 14 days of aspirin administration, only 27% of the subjects were predicted to respond to topical minoxidil. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to report the effect of low-dose daily aspirin use on the efficacy of topical minoxidil.

Keywords: alopecia; aspirin; minoxidil.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adult
  • Alopecia / diagnosis
  • Alopecia / drug therapy*
  • Alopecia / physiopathology
  • Aspirin / administration & dosage*
  • Aspirin / adverse effects
  • Drug Interactions
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Hair Follicle / drug effects*
  • Hair Follicle / enzymology
  • Hair Follicle / growth & development
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minoxidil / administration & dosage*
  • Minoxidil / analogs & derivatives
  • Minoxidil / metabolism
  • Prodrugs / administration & dosage*
  • Prodrugs / metabolism
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sulfotransferases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Sulfotransferases / metabolism
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Prodrugs
  • minoxidil sulfate ester
  • Minoxidil
  • Sulfotransferases
  • minoxidil sulfotransferase
  • Aspirin