Efficacy of non-surgical treatments for androgenetic alopecia in men and women: a systematic review with network meta-analyses, and an assessment of evidence quality

J Dermatolog Treat. 2022 Feb;33(1):62-72. doi: 10.1080/09546634.2020.1749547. Epub 2020 Apr 13.


Background and objective: Various treatments exist for androgenetic alopecia (AGA); we determined the relative efficacies of non-surgical AGA monotherapies separately for men and women.

Methods: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were systematically searched in PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus and clinicaltrials.gov. Separate networks were used for men and women; for each network, a Bayesian network meta-analysis (NMA) of mean change in hair count from baseline (in units of hairs per square centimeter) was performed using a random effects model.

Results: The networks for male and female AGA included 30 and 10 RCTs, respectively. We identified the following treatments for male AGA in decreasing rank of efficacy: platelet-rich plasma (PRP), low-level laser therapy (LLLT), 0.5 mg dutasteride, 1 mg finasteride, 5% minoxidil, 2% minoxidil, and bimatoprost. For female AGA the following were identified in decreasing rank of efficacy: LLLT, 5% minoxidil, and 2% minoxidil. The evidence quality of the highest ranked therapies, for male and female AGA, was judged to be low.

Conclusions: While newer treatments like LLLT may be more efficacious than more traditional therapies like 5% minoxidil, the efficacy of the more recent treatment modalities needs to be further validated by future RCTs.

Keywords: Network meta-analysis; androgenetic alopecia; hair count; low-level laser therapy.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Alopecia* / therapy
  • Female
  • Finasteride / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minoxidil* / therapeutic use
  • Network Meta-Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Finasteride
  • Minoxidil