Funding source No external funding.
Evidence-based treatments for female pattern hair loss: a summary of a Cochrane systematic review
Article first published online: 5 OCT 2012
© 2012 The Authors. BJD © 2012 British Association of Dermatologists
British Journal of Dermatology
Volume 167, Issue 5, pages 995–1010, November 2012
How to Cite
van Zuuren, E.J., Fedorowicz, Z. and Carter, B. (2012), Evidence-based treatments for female pattern hair loss: a summary of a Cochrane systematic review. British Journal of Dermatology, 167: 995–1010. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2012.11166.x
Conflicts of interest None declared.
This paper is based on a Cochrane review (see http://www.CochraneLibrary.net for further information). Cochrane reviews are regularly updated as new evidence emerges and in response to comments and criticisms. The Cochrane Library should be consulted for the most recent version of this review.
- Issue published online: 29 OCT 2012
- Article first published online: 5 OCT 2012
- Accepted for publication 16 June 2012
Female pattern hair loss (FPHL) or androgenic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss affecting women with reduced hair density and can have a serious psychological impact. It is characterized by progressive replacement of slow cycling terminal hair follicles by miniaturized, rapidly cycling vellus hair follicles. The frontal hair line may or may not be preserved. The aim of this review was to assess the evidence for the effectiveness and safety of the treatments available for FPHL. Searches included: Cochrane Skin Group Specialised Register, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Clinical Trials in The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, AMED, PsycINFO, LILACS and several ongoing trials registries (October 2011). Randomized controlled trials in women with FPHL were identified. Twenty-two trials, comprising 2349 participants, were included. A range of interventions was evaluated, with 10 studies examining varying concentrations of minoxidil. Pooled data from four studies indicated that a greater proportion of participants treated with minoxidil reported a moderate increase in their hair regrowth compared with placebo (relative risk 1·86, 95% confidence interval 1·42–2·43). There was no difference between the number of adverse events experienced in the twice daily minoxidil and the placebo intervention groups, except for a reported increase with minoxidil 5% twice daily. Single studies accounted for most of the other comparisons, which were assessed as either having high risk of bias and/or they did not address the prespecified outcomes for this review and provided limited evidence of either the effectiveness or safety of these interventions. Further well-designed, adequately powered randomized controlled trials investigating other treatment options are still required.