Using Cimetidine As A Hair Loss Medication In Women
Currently, Rogaine (Minoxidil) is the only FDA approved hair loss medication for addressing the loss of hair in women. While it is possible to use oral prescriptions, these drugs are considered off label. In other words, their main indications are for other types of applications, as defined by the FDA. However, it is legal for physicians to use their discernment when prescribing these drugs for hair loss. Such is called off-label use. One example would be Cimetidine. Thus the use of Cimetidine as a hair loss medication is an off-label prerogative of the prescribing physician.

The brand name version of Cimetidine is Tagamet. It is mainly used to reduce levels of stomach acids in order to prevent ulcers by functioning as an H2 antagonist. Cimetidine can also alleviate heartburn and indigestion.

How Cimetidine As A Hair Loss Medication Works

Higher dosages than those used for gastrointestinal issues can enable mild anti-androgenic effects in the body. Therefore, Cimetidine is able to lower testosterone levels. And since testosterone breaks down into DHT (dehydrotestosterone), the drug reduces levels of this compound as well.

Furthermore, Cimetidine is able to occupy DHT receptors on the hair follicles. This helps prevent them from miniaturizing. A doctor should be consulted first to determine if this is a viable choice. FDA approved medications must always be used or considered before off-label use of other medications is considered. Off-label use of medications must always be done under the guidance of a qualified physician.


Cimetidine For Women

The hair restorative properties of Cimetidine in women was studied in the 1980s and 1990s, with mixed results. This drug is not recommended for use in males. Again, it is necessary for higher dosages to be used in order to create an antiandrogenic effect. At these levels, hormonal imbalances in men could lead to unwanted side effects such as:

(1) sexual dysfunctioning

(2) gynecomastia (male breast enlargement)

Cimetidine may be considered as a hair loss medication only for women whose conditions have been assessed as being linked to hormonal issues. In other words, genetic predisposition has led to the formation of DHT sensitive protein receptors. And higher levels of DHT (from the breakdown of testosterone) results in hair loss due to this..

However, it is very common for additional factors to contribute to hair loss in women. This includes various other hormonal dynamics. Therefore, such cases may not qualify for the use of oral prescription medications.

cimetidine as a hair loss medication is an off-label use
(image- creative commons) oral medication for hair loss often works at the level of androgens and DHT

Side Effects of Cimetidine As A Medication For Hair Loss

Since high dosages are required for using Cimetidine in women,  there is a higher risk of side effects. These include:

(1) dizziness

(2) nausea

(3) headaches

(4) drowsiness

(5) confusion

(6) depression

(7) nervousness

Cimetidine is contraindicated in those who are:

(1) pregnant

(2) have allergies to the drug

(3) taking other prescription medications at the same time.

Addressing Female Hair Loss Through Medications and Surgical Treatment

Early intervention in addressing hair loss for both women and men is important for successful outcomes. It is much easier to control, manage and prevent serious manifestations than it is to reverse them. During the earlier stages, many of the follicles have not yet lost their ability to produce new hair. Therefore, there is some hope of restoring their original level of functioning.

Hair transplants may benefit women who have ample supplies of donor grafts that have not been affected by thinning and miniaturization. 

All information contained within this site is for reference purposes only. You must consult and follow the directions of your physician and licensed health care professionals.

Read more about FDA approved hair loss medications


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