Background: Women generally regard their hair loss as socially unacceptable and go to great measures to conceal their problem. In some cases, the negative self-image brought about by hair loss may be the basis of psychiatric illness. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a 2% topical minoxidil solution (Rogaine/Regaine, The Upjohn Co, Kalamazoo, Mich) for the treatment of female androgenetic alopecia. A 32-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted in 11 US centers. Three hundred eight women with androgenetic alopecia were enrolled. Two hundred fifty-six of these women completed the trial. A refined photographic technique was used to objectively determine the number of nonvellus hairs regrown.
Results: After 32 weeks of treatment, the number of nonvellus hairs in a 1-cm2 evaluation site was increased by an average of 23 hairs in the 2% minoxidil group and by an average of 11 hairs in the placebo group. The 95% confidence interval for the difference in mean hair count change between the treatment groups was 5.9 to 17.5 hairs. The investigators determined that 13% in the minoxidil-treated group had moderate growth and 50% had minimal growth. This compared with 6% and 33%, respectively, in the placebo-treated group. Similarly, 60% of the patients in the 2% minoxidil group reported that they had new hair growth (20% moderate, 40% minimal) compared with 40% (7% moderate, 33% minimal) of the patients in the placebo group. No evaluations of dense hair growth were reported for either treatment group. No clinically significant changes in vital signs were observed and no serious or unexpected medical events were reported.
Conclusions: Topical minoxidil was significantly more effective than placebo in the treatment of female androgenetic alopecia.