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Oral Minoxidil Hair Treatment

Oral Minoxidil hair treatment is a hair loss medication prescribed for hair loss conditions like androgenetic alopecia, also known as male or female pattern hair loss.

Unlike the topical variation, low-dose oral Minoxidil requires a prescription. We only prescribe this medication following a detailed consultation to assess if a patient is a suitable candidate for this low-dosage treatment.

Book a free Zoom consultation with Dr Bonaros, a leading hair loss specialist and hair transplant surgeon in Glasgow.
Hair loss and anxiety dr bonaros glasgow

Table of Contents

  1. How Oral Minoxidil Works
  2. Using Oral Minoxidil for Hair Loss
    1. Dosage
    2. Oral Minoxidil Results
    3. Oral Minoxidil Side Effects
  3. Oral Minoxidil vs Topical Minoxidil
  4. Oral Minoxidil for Hair Loss – Frequently Asked Questions
    1. Where can I get low-dose oral minoxidil in the UK?
    2. When should oral minoxidil be avoided?
    3. Should I use topical minoxidil or oral minoxidil for alopecia areate and other hair loss conditions?
    4. How long does oral minoxidil take to work?
  5. Dr Bonaros: An Expert Hair Loss Specialist Who Genuinely Cares

How Oral Minoxidil Works

Oral Minoxidil was originally developed in the 1970s to treat hypertension. However, during the clinical trial period, researchers noted an unexpected side effect — hypertrichosis, or excessive hair growth.

While it’s not fully understood how minoxidil promotes hair growth, the most common theory is that it prolongs the anagen phase, also known as the ‘growth phase’ or ‘active phase’ in the hair growth cycle. The results of this hair loss treatment vary among patients, but oral minoxidil for hair loss generally produces the following effects:

  • Slows the reduction of the hair follicle size
  • Causes vasodilation, thus improving circulation
  • Prolongs the hair follicle’s anagen phase 
  • Increases nutrient-dense blood flow around hair follicles
  • Increased scalp hair growth

Using Oral Minoxidil for Hair Loss

Before considering whether a minoxidil treatment for hair loss is right for you, there are a few factors to consider.

Finasteride for hair loss Side effects and dosage. Dr Bonaros hair transplant surgeon in Glasgow


Oral minoxidil is a tablet that is usually taken once or twice a day as an effective treatment for androgenetic alopecia and other hair loss conditions. It is usually only prescribed to healthy men and women who cannot tolerate or comply with topical minoxidil. It is also considered for men who are concerned about or have already experienced sexual side effects from finasteride.

The dosage of your oral minoxidil treatment is specific to the current state of your hair loss condition, so this will be determined after a detailed consultation with Dr Bonaros.

For men, the standard dosage ranges from 0.25mg up to 5mg daily. For women with female pattern hair loss, the recommended dosage ranges from 0.25 to 2.5mg. It’s important to note that oral minoxidil only slows down or stops the hair loss process – it doesn’t cure hair loss completely.

Oral Minoxidil Results

Hair loss conditions like traction alopecia (hair loss from tightly pulled hairstyles) and male and female pattern hair loss are known to cause low self-esteem. That’s why we work closely with patients to ensure the correct dosage is given when prescribing oral minoxidil to treat hair disorders.

Patients who have been prescribed minoxidil tablets for hair loss can expect to see a significant increase in hair thickness, improved global hair density, and eventual new hair growth.

While oral minoxidil for hair growth is an emerging method for treating alopecia and related hair disorders, it’s important to note that this treatment won’t cure your hair loss entirely.

Hairline transplant result

Oral Minoxidil Side Effects

There are several side effects to keep in mind before undergoing an oral minoxidil hair loss treatment.

  • One of the first and most notable side effects at the start of oral minoxidil treatment is initial hair shedding. While this may cause concern, the shedding usually subsides after about 4-6 weeks.
  • Excess hair growth on the face, arms, and other parts of the body is another common side effect. This can be especially prevalent with higher doses. This is also the reason that topical minoxidil is the preferred starting treatment.
  • Low blood pressure or feeling lightheaded is often recorded as another side effect, especially notable when standing up too quickly. The initial intention of this medicine was to treat high blood pressure and hypertension. Therefore, even at lower doses of minoxidil, those with regular blood pressure may experience these side effects.
  • Swelling on your legs, also known as lower limb oedema, is caused by your body retaining water and sodium. This can also be expected in some cases of using minoxidil for hair loss.
  • Other general side effects of this oral therapy can include a rapid increase in heart rate, palpitations, dizziness, and tiredness.

Oral Minoxidil vs Topical Minoxidil

Topical minoxidil is commonly recognised and used in the treatment of hair loss conditions like female and male androgenetic alopecia. Oral minoxidil has recently gained more attention as an alternative treatment for certain types of hair loss. Both forms aim to prolong the anagen phase of the follicles to enhance growth. This is due to minoxidil’s vasodilatory properties.

The main difference between the two treatment options is that oral minoxidil is in a tablet form which is absorbed into the bloodstream, whereas topical minoxidil is applied directly to the affected area and acts locally.

Some people may not have the correct enzyme in their hair follicles to activate the topical minoxidil treatment. In all cases, oral medication may be more effective in treating hair loss.

Minoxidil treatment

Oral minoxidil requires a full doctor’s consultation to assess if you are a suitable candidate before an oral minoxidil prescription can be issued, while topical minoxidil is available over the counter.

For more information about using low-dose oral minoxidil for hair loss, call our clinic on 07708 627966, or book a free Zoom consultation with Dr Bonaros.

Oral Minoxidil for Hair Loss - Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get low-dose oral minoxidil in the UK?

Because it is a prescription-only medication, you will be required to have a consultation with a doctor to assess if you are a suitable candidate before the prescription of low-dose oral minoxidil can be supplied.

If you are looking for minoxidil tablets in the UK to treat your hair loss, contact us to book a consultation with Dr Bonaros at his Glasgow clinic.

When should oral minoxidil be avoided?

When properly prescribed, Minoxidil in oral form is a safe and effective treatment for hair loss. However, it is not recommended for people with an allergy to the medicine and those with a rare type of neuroendocrine tumour known as a pheochromocytoma.

In addition, oral minoxidil for hair loss is not recommended for elderly and pregnant patients, or for candidates with hypertension, cardiovascular conditions, or kidney disease.

Should I use topical minoxidil or oral minoxidil for alopecia areata and other hair loss conditions?

Both oral and topical minoxidil can treat hair loss due to alopecia areata. If the topical minoxidil does not have the desired effect or is not tolerated well, oral minoxidil may be a more effective medication for hair loss.

Those with conditions like loose anagen hair syndrome or alopecia areata who have tried topical minoxidil with no success may benefit from minoxidil pills for hair loss.

Because minoxidil can be excreted into breast milk in very low concentrations, oral treatment is contra-indicated during breastfeeding.

It is important to consult a doctor to determine the most effective and safe hair loss treatment with minoxidil for your current state of health.

Patients with DUPA and alopecia areata are not good hair transplant candidates
Patients with DUPA and Alopecia Areata

How long does oral minoxidil take to work?

The hair-growth effects of oral minoxidil can take anywhere between 6-12 months to present. It is important to note that the effects of taking minoxidil orally are not permanent and that hair loss may continue once treatment stops.

Do you have a question about the minoxidil hair regrowth treatment that we haven’t answered? View our Topical Minoxidil page for more information on that route, or fill in our free Online Assessment Form for a tailored treatment plan from Dr Bonaros based on your unique hair conditions.

Dr Bonaros: An Expert Hair Loss Specialist
Who Genuinely Cares

Dr Bonaros is a highly experienced hair transplant surgeon, serving as Scotland’s only International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) member and as a full member of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery (BAHRS).

Led by Dr Epameinondas Bonaros, our clinic specialises in hair restoration through FUE hair transplants and prescription medication. For a medication-based approach, Dr Bonaros can advise on a hair loss treatment with Minoxidil (oral or topical), Finasteride, or Dutasteride.

With our patient-centred approach, we treat your hair loss concerns with empathy and professionalism. We provide ethical advice tailored to every patient’s unique needs to deliver satisfying results that help patients regain their confidence.

Topical treatments and low-dose minoxidil pills have proven effective in treating hair loss caused by conditions like androgenetic and traction alopecia and loose anagen syndrome. Book an appointment with Dr Bonaros for tailored advice on whether the oral minoxidil hair treatment will work for you.