Spironolactone For Hair Loss: Dosage And Side Effects

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Shruti Chavan, MBBS
By Ramona Sinha, Certified Skin Care Coach

Most women experience hair loss and thinning in their post-menopause period. While this may have many underlying reasons, one specific solution seems effective. The use of spironolactone for hair loss is gaining popularity (1). This FDA-approved anti-androgen drug is used to treat fluid retention, kidney diseases, high blood pressure, and liver diseases.

It also can minimize the production of adrenal androgen and reduce androgenetic alopecia (female pattern baldness). This article explores how spironolactone works for hair loss, how to use it, and certain possible side effects you must be aware of. Continue reading.

What Is Spironolactone?

Spironolactone is an anti-androgen drug. It was mainly used for treating hypertension, symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and hirsutism. However, spironolactone prevents adrenal androgen production in the body and thus, minimizes PCOS hair loss or androgenetic alopecia (1). Besides treating female pattern hair loss (FPHL), it may also be beneficial in reducing hirsutism and acne. The section below delves further into how it works to prevent hair loss.

How Does Spironolactone Work?

Spironolactone slows down androgen production. Androgens are a group of male sex hormones, including testosterone. In females with PCOS, excess production of androgens may cause hair loss.  A study found that the daily consumption of spironolactone in the prescribed dosage can reduce hair loss and increase the number of hair follicles in the anagen phase (1).

The dosage of spironolactone depends on the purpose it is being used for.

How Much Of Spironolactone Is Prescribed For Hair Loss?

A study found that a dose of 200 mg of oral spironolactone effectively improved female pattern hair loss (1). Doctors generally prescribe a dosage between 50-200mg of spironolactone for hair loss. However, the dosage may vary, depending on the severity of your hair loss. The doctor may even prescribe a combination of drugs to be taken with spironolactone, such as (1):

  • Spironolactone With Oral Contraceptive: This combination is often used to prevent menstrual irregularities and improve female pattern hair loss and acne.
  • Spironolactone With Minoxidil: A 2% topical minoxidil solution improves hair growth rate and hair thickness by lengthening the anagen (growth) phase and shortening the telogen (hair fall) phase of the hair (2).

Your doctor may also prescribe topical spironolactone for treating hair loss.

Spironolactone: Topical Or Oral?

You may take spironolactone orally or apply a topical solution.

Topical treatment is preferred as it cuts down many possible side effects of oral spironolactone. Research found that 5% spironolactone gel can promote hair growth and is a good option for managing androgenic alopecia (3).

The doctor will evaluate the severity of your hair loss and other complications caused by PCOS and then prescribe either topical or oral spironolactone. Once you start taking it, you may expect results in a few months. However, the duration may vary from person to person.

How Long Does It Take For Spironolactone To Work?

Do not expect overnight results. Spironolactone may take at least six months to show results. However, it may vary, depending on the severity of the condition. You may even notice changes after a year of using the drug.

You have to follow up with your doctor after taking spironolactone for six months. They may even increase the dosage, depending on the results, or suggest a combination of medications.

Spironolactone is not prescribed for everyone. Find out next who can use the drug and who should avoid it.

Who Can Use Spironolactone For Hair Loss?

Spironolactone is mainly prescribed for women with androgenetic alopecia or female pattern hair loss. However, avoid spironolactone if you (4):

  • Have kidney-related issues
  • Have high blood potassium levels
  • Have Addison’s disease
  • Are taking eplerenone (steroid)
  • Are pregnant or nursing

Teenagers below 18 years of age should also avoid this drug. If taken in the wrong way, spironolactone may have some health risks.

What Are The Side Effects Of Spironolactone?

As spironolactone is commonly prescribed for hypertension, some people may experience low blood pressure while using this drug. This is why it is crucial to take it in the prescribed dosage. Otherwise, it may cause issues like (5):

  • Headache
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Increased urination
  • Dry skin
  • Decreased libido
  • Drowsiness and nausea
  • Irregular periods
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Breast tenderness

Overdose of spironolactone may also cause:

  • Breathing problems
  • Rashes
  • Dizziness
  • High potassium levels

High potassium levels can be life-threatening. Visit a doctor immediately if you experience:

Spironolactone can help minimize hair loss caused by androgenic alopecia. The doctor may prescribe oral or topical spironolactone and combine it with other medications to treat hair loss. If you consider taking spironolactone for hair loss, remember that you will not see overnight results. It may take time, and you must diligently follow the treatment. Consult with your doctor to determine whether this medication is suitable for treating your condition and the right dosage. Also, inform the doctor about your underlying health issues before starting the treatment and report the progress and changes you may notice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better for hair loss, finasteride or spironolactone?

While both finasteride and spironolactone are effective for treating hair loss, spironolactone has fewer side effects (3).

Is it better to take spironolactone in the morning or at night?

You should take spironolactone as per your doctor’s advice. Ensure that you take the medication at the same time daily.

Which is better for hair loss, finasteride or spironolactone?

While both finasteride and spironolactone are effective for treating hair loss, spironolactone has fewer side effects (3).

Is it better to take spironolactone in the morning or at night?

You should take spironolactone as per your doctor’s advice. Ensure that you take the medication at the same time daily.

Key Takeaways

  • You can treat PCOS hair loss or androgenetic alopecia by using spironolactone.
  • It stops the production of adrenal androgen, which is the major cause of androgenetic alopecia.
  • It can be applied topically or even can be taken orally if prescribed.
  • However, side effects like dry skin, hair loss, and headaches are also seen in a few sensitive individuals.

Sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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author
Ramona is an editor at StyleCraze. Prior to that, she authored over 200 articles on skin and hair care. She... more

Dr. Shruti Chavan

(MBBS)
Dr. Shruti Chavan is a consulting dermatologist at Dr.Sheth's Skin and Hair Clinic since 6 years. She is a co-committee... more

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