A pilot study evaluating the efficacy of topically applied niacin derivatives for treatment of female pattern alopecia


Zoe Diana Draelos, MD, 2444 North Main Street, High Point, North Carolina, 27262, E-mail: zdraelos@northstate.net


Background  Female pattern alopecia is a common dermatologic condition that manifests after puberty. The only approved drug treatment for this condition is 2% minoxidil for topical application.

Aims  This pilot study examined the effect of topical application of two niacin derivatives, octyl nicotinate and tetradecyl nicotinate, on hair fullness in female alopecia.

Patients/methods  Sixty female subjects with Ludwig types I–III female pattern hair loss were evaluated in a double-blinded, placebo-controlled (40 active, 20 placebo) design using standardized 35-mm photographic analyses for assessment of efficacy after 6 months of application.

Results  The niacin derivatives demonstrated a statistically significant increase in hair fullness (P = 0.04 compared to the placebo).

Conclusion  Whereas evaluation of hair growth in women is challenging, this 6-month pilot study demonstrated statistically significant increase in hair fullness on blinded 35-mm photographic analysis. Long-term topical application of nicotinic acid derivatives offers promise for providing benefit in female alopecia and warrants further study.