Oral minoxidil is a medication originally used in larger doses to treat high blood pressure. However, its unintended side effect of promoting increased body hair growth led to further exploration. This observation eventually paved the way for the development of a topical solution most commonly known as Regaine specifically designed to address hair loss.


Background and Development:

The tablet format of minoxidil is not specifically approved for hair loss treatment, but hair loss doctors have been prescribing it off-label in very low doses due to its beneficial effects for hair.


Effectiveness and Uses:

Low-dose oral minoxidil (LDOM) has been studied extensively and shows great promise in treating various types of hair loss including Male Androgenic alopecia (pattern baldness), Female pattern hair loss, Telogen effluvium (general shedding),  as well as mitigating hair loss associated with cancer treatments.


Dosage and Cost:

Doctors typically start patients on a low dose (e.g. 0.625 mg in women and 1.25mg in men), and gradually increase it until benefits are optimised without significant side effects.

In the UK, oral minoxidil is available as a 2.5 mg or 5mg tablet. Cutting the tablets allows for achieving the appropriate dose prescribed by your doctor.


Side Effects:

Side effects of oral minoxidil therapy are related to its vasodilatory effects:

  • Low blood pressure: Dizziness and fainting may occur due to reduced blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate: Some individuals may experience a faster pulse or palpitations
  • Fluid retention: This can lead to weight gain and swelling, particularly around the ankles or rarely, Pericarditis/Pericardial Effusion (inflammation or fluid around the heart): This condition can cause chest pain and shortness of breath.

Other Side Effects:

  • Increased body hair growth other than the scalp.
  • Skin Rashes: Rarely, skin reactions may occur.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: These side effects are infrequent but possible.
  • Breast Tenderness: Some individuals may notice breast tenderness.
  • Initial Increase in Hair Shedding: It’s common to observe increased shedding at the start of treatment, but this usually resolves within six weeks.

Remember that oral minoxidil requires a prescription, and it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider before considering this treatment option rather than simply buying online.


Eligibility for Low  Dose Oral Minoxidil:

Typically, these are patients who haven’t responded to topical minoxidil or have difficulty using it due to rash, irritation, or poor hair texture and therefore may be considered for oral minoxidil.

The oral form is administered at much lower doses than those used for high blood pressure, minimizing the risk of side effects.


Important Considerations:

Pregnancy: Pregnant individuals or women trying to conceive should avoid oral minoxidil.

Contraception: Women of childbearing potential must use effective contraception during treatment and for one month afterward to prevent pregnancy.

Individuals with heart problems (heart failure, angina), pheochromocytoma, acute perfusion issues, or significant kidney problems may not be suitable candidates for this treatment.


Monitoring and Safety Measures:

Your doctor may require you to closely monitor your pulse, blood pressure, and may perform blood and other tests during your consultations.


Interaction with Other Medications:

Oral minoxidil can interact with various medications. Notably, it can cause a significant reduction in blood pressure when taken alongside other anti-hypertensive treatments.

Always inform your healthcare professionals if you are taking minoxidil before starting any new medication.


Lifestyle Considerations:

Alcohol: Alcohol consumption while taking oral minoxidil may increase the risk of low blood pressure. It’s advisable to drink sensibly during treatment.

Caffeine: Be cautious with caffeine-containing products (such as caffeinated drinks and cold/flu medications), as they may contribute to a rapid heart rate or palpitations.


Precautions During Treatment:

If you notice any of the following, stop taking the medication or contact a medical professional for further advice:

Increased pulse/palpitations (more than 20 bpm above normal).

Rapid weight gain (more than 2 kg) or ankle swelling.

Shortness of breath or chest pain.

Dizziness or light-headedness leading to fainting.

Remember to stay vigilant and communicate any concerns promptly. Your healthcare provider will guide you through the process.



Our clinic can provide 6-monthly prescriptions of oral minoxidil if our doctors recommend it for you.

For repeat prescriptions, patients are required to either attend an in-person or virtual paid consultation or fill out an online evaluation form if there are no changes to your prescription or health.

If you experience any issues or adverse reactions while taking minoxidil, please contact us via email, phone or the chat facility.

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