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.