Medicine
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How Effective is Spironolactone for Hair Loss?

Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson

Using spironolactone for hair loss can be somewhat effective, but only when the drug is prepared in a 5% cream solution. The dosage that one would have to take in pill form would greatly increase the risk of side effects, such as hyperkalemia. This drug is typically used to treat patients who have hyperaldosteronism, low potassium or edema.

Spironolactone is a diuretic and has a long list of side effects that accompany it. It can cause drowsiness, nausea, rashes, headaches and jaundice. There are other possible side effects as well, and this makes using standard spironolactone for hair loss problematic. Spironolactone, however, has been found to be an anti-androgen, which means that it could actually reduce hair loss.

Spironolactone cannot  be used to cause the regrowth of hair.
Spironolactone cannot be used to cause the regrowth of hair.

Androgens are hormones that are directly responsible for the rate of hair growth. There are many different types of androgen, and scientists found that when androgens were present around the hair follicles, the follicles got weaker. Eventually, they identified the androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT) as the one responsible for male pattern baldness and the one that is tied to hair loss. Anti-androgens must be targeted to specific androgens to be effective. As a treatment, spironolactone for hair loss works, because it is identified as an anti-androgen.

Smoking, which reduces circulation to the extremities and pollutes the blood, may promote hair loss.
Smoking, which reduces circulation to the extremities and pollutes the blood, may promote hair loss.

The only thing stopping spironolactone from being an effective treatment for hair loss is the fact that the dosage of the pill that would be required to significantly reduce levels of DHT would cause adverse effects. The solution to this problem has been the use of a cream version. The concentration of the drug is only 5% in the preparation, referred to as topical spironolactone, and has been shown to produce local effects in the amount of DHT present in subjects.

The androgen DHT is responsible for male pattern baldness.
The androgen DHT is responsible for male pattern baldness.

Even though the cream can be used to potentially stop hair loss, the treatment cannot be used to cause the regrowth of hair. Also, when using topical spironolactone for hair loss, medical professionals might suggest combining it with a more effective anti-androgen such as finasteride. The effectiveness of spironolactone might differ from person to person, and it is advisable for one to speak with a medical professional before undergoing any treatment. Preliminary results have found, however, no side effects from using the topical spironolactone cream.

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Discussion Comments

turquoise

@ysmina-- The 5% spironolactone topical cream worked for me! I started seeing results after about two weeks.

ysmina

@MikeMason-- I was on 100mg spironolactone hair loss pills but I didn't last long. The medication caused a lot of side effects like reduced libido, confusion and difficulty concentrating.

I could try the topical cream, but does it work as well as the oral medication for reducing hair loss and strengthening hair? I know that the cream has less side effects but I wonder if that's because it doesn't work as well.

stoneMason

I can't speak for everyone, but I'm on oral spironolactone for female hair loss and it has been working for me. My hair loss has almost stopped and I'm even starting to see some regrowth in some areas.

I don't take a very high dose, so I haven't had any side effects so far. If I do get side effects, I will switch to topical spironolactone.

anon146663

I haven't tried that particular remedy but I think it does work if it is properly approved by the FDA and I hope it is safe to be used for postpartum hair loss.

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    • Spironolactone cannot  be used to cause the regrowth of hair.
      By: vladimirfloyd
      Spironolactone cannot be used to cause the regrowth of hair.
    • Smoking, which reduces circulation to the extremities and pollutes the blood, may promote hair loss.
      By: illustrez-vous
      Smoking, which reduces circulation to the extremities and pollutes the blood, may promote hair loss.
    • The androgen DHT is responsible for male pattern baldness.
      By: dambuster
      The androgen DHT is responsible for male pattern baldness.
    • Individuals suffering from hypothyroidism may experience hair loss.
      By: stockshoppe
      Individuals suffering from hypothyroidism may experience hair loss.
    • Side effects of spironolactone may include drowsiness.
      By: Andres Rodriguez
      Side effects of spironolactone may include drowsiness.
    • Hair loss may be a direct result of sudden--and drastic--weight loss.
      By: Lsantilli
      Hair loss may be a direct result of sudden--and drastic--weight loss.
    • Spironolactone cannot be used to cause the regrowth of hair.
      By: hacstock78
      Spironolactone cannot be used to cause the regrowth of hair.
    • Spironolactone may help to reduce hair loss.
      By: Khorzhevska
      Spironolactone may help to reduce hair loss.