Could Spironolactone Help Women With Hair Thinning, Facial Hair, & Breakouts?


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When you start losing hair, Google quickly becomes your trusted advisor as you head toward Spiral City. This can be overwhelming, from looking up hair loss treatments to scouring social media and wondering if that girl from high school is selling legit hair-growth spray or if it’s just another money-making scheme.

But hey, that’s where we come in. You may have heard of spironolactone for hair loss, and we’re here to give you the full scoop.

Welcome to Spironolactone 101, where you’ll learn about the benefits and dosage recommendations, plus any side effects you could experience. Here we go — class is in session!

What Is Spironolactone?

What is spironolactone in layman’s terms? Spironolactone is an antiandrogen drug (a type of medication that blocks the effects of androgen hormones) commonly prescribed as a once-daily pill.

It’s also a diuretic, meaning it helps move fluid from your body. The medication is sometimes prescribed for acne and hirsutism (Hello, three-for-one treatment if you’re dealing with breakouts, facial hair and thinning).

Spironolactone was originally created as a medication used primarily in the management and treatment of hypertension and heart failure.

How did a drug meant for the heart start being used for hair loss? It’s believed to be a happy accident when heart patients began noticing its antiandrogenic effects.

So if you’re wondering, Does spironolactone cause hair loss?, that’s a big no.

Spironolactone helps hair growth by decreasing the effects of DHT (dihydrotestosterone). And while DHT (DHT) is a key factor in male pattern baldness, it’s not totally understood how it impacts female pattern hair loss.

The ability of spironolactone to inhibit androgens at different physiological levels has led to its use in women with androgenic alopecia, hirsutism and excess sebum production (that’s the three-in-one punch we mentioned earlier).

In one study with 110 patients, 73 percent of women saw an improvement in acne lesions on their faces, and over 75 percent saw improvements in body acne. While 51 women experienced side effects, only six found them bothersome enough to stop taking spironolactone.

These symptoms can especially be common in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (also known as PCOS). If you’re dealing with any of these issues, learn more about the different spironolactone uses and benefits.

How Does Spironolactone Treat Hair Loss?

There are several types of hair loss, ranging from stress-related telogen effluvium to traction alopecia and androgenetic hair loss. Nearly half of all women will experience hair loss at some point in their lives.

Not the funnest club to be a part of, that’s for sure. Female pattern hair loss (FPHL) is the most common cause of hair loss in women, and it typically becomes more prevalent with age.

Hair loss can be caused by a multitude of factors, like genetics and hormones. Female pattern hair loss and androgenetic alopecia are generally thought to be caused by excessive production of DHT or alteration of androgen receptors, but the link is not yet clearly established. 

In its off-label use, spironolactone helps treat female pattern hair loss at the hormonal level. It helps protect hair from the androgens that can weaken follicles and contribute to excess hair shedding. Spironolactone is now the most prescribed antiandrogen treatment of female pattern hair loss in the United States.

Since spironolactone’s mechanism of action is specifically for hormone-related hair loss, it won’t work for those experiencing hair loss due to non-hormonal causes, such as stress or traction alopecia.

(RelatedPCOS Hair Loss: Why It Happens & How to Treat it)

Who Can Use Spironolactone?

Spironolactone has been shown to be safe for most women, but there’s still caution to exercise. 

Antiandrogen drugs (including spironolactone) are potentially teratogenic, meaning they may cause fetal abnormalities. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that you avoid use during pregnancy. It’s also recommended to have a birth control plan in place while using spironolactone.

If having children in the near future is on the vision board or you’re already pregnant, you’ll need to consider another route to hair regrowth.

Spironolactone Dosage

Just like a Goldilocks and three bears sitch, having just the right proportion of spironolactone may take a little trial and error.

How much spironolactone to take for hair loss really depends on your specific conditions, so it’s best for your healthcare provider to determine what’s right for you. Read our spironolactone dosage guide to get a better idea of what they might recommend.

The usual daily dose is 100 to 200 milligrams daily.  

One study retrospectively analyzed adult women with female pattern hair loss who were prescribed spironolactone. The average spironolactone dose was 100 milligrams daily (ranging from 25 to 200 milligrams daily) for a minimum of six months. Findings showed that patients maintained or improved results but had the best recorded results after one year of use or more.

If you’re really looking to see results, you may want to consider pairing oral spironolactone with another hair loss treatment like minoxidil. 

In another study, spironolactone showed better efficacy in combination with other therapies, such as oral or topical minoxidil, compared to using it alone.

How Long Does It Take for Spironolactone to Work?

We know, we know — everyone wants to see results overnight, but you’re going to have to practice a little patience to see spironolactone hair growth success.

Based on the available data, the efficacy of spironolactone for hair growth at a 12-month treatment was significantly better than that of six months.

According to research, you can expect to see improvement after 12 months of oral use at 80 to 200 milligrams daily. So based on your dosage, you may see progress a little faster or slower, but still try to give it a year to see the maximum potential of how spironolactone can help your hair loss.

(RelatedHow To Stop Hair Loss For Women)

Side Effects of Spironolactone

There hasn’t been much research specifically on the treatment of hair loss and usage of spironolactone. But studies have shown common side effects from long-term use of spironolactone for acne treatment, including:

  • Irregular menstruation

  • Frequent urination

  • Dizziness

  • Headaches

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Breast tenderness

  • Breast enlargement

Because of these potential side effects, it’s recommended that women have regular blood pressure and electrolyte monitoring. This is especially crucial in the first few months of treatment for those with any renal abnormalities.

There are some exceptions to monitoring your potassium levels though — for example, if you’re a relatively healthy young woman taking spironolactone, as multiple studies suggest.

In one eight-year study on 91 patients who used spironolactone for an average of 28.5 months, 60 percent experienced some mild side effects, like lightheadedness and upset stomach. But only 15 percent discontinued medications, with no serious adverse events reported.

The most common side effects were diuretic effects (29 percent), menstrual irregularities (22 percent) and breast tenderness (17 percent).

The takeaway here? The authors concluded that long-term use of spironolactone in the treatment of acne appears to be safe.

Be aware, though, this is not a medication recommended for dudes. Male patients who take oral spironolactone often experience gynecomastia, loss of libido and general feminization that results in the termination of treatment.

For these reasons, men are generally not prescribed oral spironolactone. That said, topical spironolactone may be something to discuss with your healthcare provider or dermatologist.

Using Spironolactone for Hair Loss

Spironolactone could be a helpful treatment to add to your arsenal in the quest for fuller, thicker hair. But as mentioned above, pairing it with another hair loss treatment will probably yield the best results. Think of it like a Batman and Robin duo for your hair.

Here are a few other hair loss treatments to consider:

  • Minoxidil foam. Research has shown that the combination of minoxidil (commonly sold under the brand name Rogaine®) and spironolactone can be helpful in treating thinning hair. One study testing the usage of 5% minoxidil with 80 to 100 milligrams of spironolactone showed a significant increase in hair shaft diameter.

  • Oral minoxidil. This once-a-day pill might be prescribed off-label to those who prefer pills to topicals. If you’ve tried topical minoxidil in the past and it didn’t seem to work, you may have better luck with the oral form. Minoxidil requires the presence of an enzyme called follicular sulfotransferase, and the oral form requires less enzymatic activity to be effective.

  • Topical finasteride and minoxidil spray. This topical treatment combines 6% minoxidil and 0.3% finasteride in a prescription-strength spray. It’s currently only FDA-approved for men but has demonstrated considerable results for women as a hair loss treatment. In one study, finasteride suppressed scalp DHT levels by 43 percent in 28 days, and up to 65 percent at 42 days with 5 milligrams of daily finasteride in patients with androgenetic alopecia.

Additionally, a double-blind, randomized trial compared the efficacies of twice-daily finasteride 1% topical gel to a once-daily finasteride 1-milligram oral tablet for six months. The results were similar for both medications.

No matter what treatment (or treatments) you decide to go with, you have options to treat hair loss. If you’re ready to take the next step, consult a healthcare provider today to get the best hair loss treatment for you.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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Weight Loss Medications: Are They Actually Effective?

Weight Loss Medications: Are They Actually Effective?

It’s common knowledge that managing your weight keeps you healthy now and as you get older. In fact, obesity contributes to several health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

Not only was the prevalence of obesity in U.S. adults nearly 42 percent in 2017, but the estimated medical costs for adults with obesity were almost $2,000 more each year than for adults who do not have obesity .

Those who have a body mass index (BMI, or the measurement of fat based on height and weight) between 25 and 30 are considered overweight, while those with a BMI over 30 are considered to have obesity.

You’ve probably heard of a few weight loss medications, or at least their brand names, like Ozempic® and Wegovy®. However, there are several other prescription drugs available that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and frequently prescribed off-label for weight loss.

Healthcare providers may prescribe these medications to someone who has obesity or is overweight with a weight-related health problem like high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.


You’re probably familiar with one of semaglutide’s brand names, Ozempic — other brand names for this drug include Wegovy and Rybelsus®.

Ozempic is approved by the FDA to treat type 2 diabetes and may be prescribed off-label for weight loss, in combination with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise or with other diabetes medications like insulin or metformin.

Wegovy, meanwhile, is a prescription medication approved for use for weight loss in people who have obesity or who are overweight.

Ozempic and Wegovy are in a class of medication called GLP-1 receptor agonists, which mimic the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 and target areas of the brain that regulate appetite.

Ozempic was approved by the FDA in 2017, while Wegovy was granted approval to pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk more recently, in 2021.


Although only approved by the FDA to treat diabetes, metformin is often used off-label for weight loss, as well as gestational diabetes (a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy) and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

It isn’t exactly clear how metformin helps people lose weight, but researchers think the drug works as an appetite suppressant. Similarly to Ozempic, metformin may increase how much GLP-1 hormone your body makes. This can send a signal to your brain that you’re full, which means you eat fewer calories.

Read our blog to learn about Ozempic vs. Metformin for weight loss.

(Related: Metformin For Weight Loss: Does It Work?)

Tatsiana Niamera/istockphoto

If you’ve dealt with depression or looked into medication to quit smoking, bupropion may sound familiar to you.

For weight loss, it can be combined with the drug naltrexone, which is used to treat alcohol and drug dependence, to curb your hunger or make you feel fuller sooner. Together, these medications work on two areas of the brain, the hunger center and the reward system, to reduce appetite and help control cravings.

Along with a reduced calorie diet and exercise plan, naltrexone-bupropion can also help keep excess weight off.


Phentermine-topiramate is actually two separate medications that are combined in Qsymia, but are offered separately in other applications. 

While phentermine is considered an anorectic and topiramate is an anticonvulsant, both help with appetite suppression.

Topiramate offers the added benefit of helping you feel fuller longer after you eat.

When used specifically with a healthy exercise regimen and a reduced calorie diet, these medications — either together or separately — have been shown to help people lose weight and keep it off.


Orlistat, which belongs to a class of medications known as lipase inhibitors, reduces the amount of fat your body absorbs from the food you eat.

Orlistat is used for weight loss in conjunction with exercise and a reduced-calorie diet, as well as after weight loss to help people keep from gaining back that weight.

While the brand name Xenical requires a prescription, another brand called Alli is available in a lower dosage without one.


Like Ozempic and Wegovy, liraglutide is an injected weight loss medication. It works as a GLP-1 receptor agonist to suppress appetite, similarly to semaglutide.

Also available under the brand name Victoza at a lower dose, this drug is FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes.

(Related: Weight Loss Injections: Are They Safe?)


These weight loss drugs are all available with a prescription from a healthcare professional, but how effective are they really?

  • One study found that when people without diabetes took a weekly semaglutide injection they had a higher average weight loss — almost a 15 percent average decrease in weight — than people who took a placebo.

  • Metformin has also demonstrated clinically significant weight loss. A 2020 meta-analysis of 21 trials testing metformin found the drug had a modest impact on lowering BMI, especially for those who are considered to have obesity.

  • smaller study on metformin also found that the average amount of weight lost in 154 patients was between 5.6 and 7 kgs (that’s roughly between 13 and 15 pounds).

It’s also worth mentioning cost here — if you can’t afford the drug you need to take, it’s effectiveness essentially drops to zero percent. That said, there’s some wide price disparity between weight loss drugs. 

For instance, injectibals like Ozempic and Wegovy are generally more expensive than orals like metformin — namely because metformin is a generic medication that’s been around for decades, and Ozempic and Wegovy are newer. 

Liudmila Chernetska/istockphoto

Because everyone’s weight loss journey is different, weight loss medications may work slowly for some people and faster for others.

How long you need to take a weight loss prescription drug depends on various factors such as what side effects you experience, how much weight you need to lose, whether the drug helps keep the weight off and more.

Generally, as found in the studies noted above and clinical trials, weight loss will occur within the first few months of using the medication.

Sometimes your health care professional may recommend long-term use of the medication, while other people may be advised to stop the drug if they don’t lose a certain amount of weight after 12 weeks.

If you’re taking a weight loss medication, your healthcare provider will likely suggest that you also increase your physical activity and make healthy lifestyle changes like eating lots of protein and fiber and getting enough sleep. These medications are the most effective when combined with healthy habits.

Jorge Elizaquibel/istockphoto

Just like any medication, weight loss drugs also come with the possibility of side effects.

When it comes to injectibal drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy, there are some broad side effects that apply to all injectibals — like swelling, redness or other discomfort at the injection site — but generally, the side effects profiles of these drugs are similar regardless of delivery method.

The most common side effects of many of these weight loss medications include:

  • Stomach pain or constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

Some, like liraglutide and naltrexone-bupropion, may cause an increased heart rate or headaches.

Liraglutide and semaglutide may also increase the risk of pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas). You may also have a higher risk of developing tumors or thyroid cancer when using liraglutide or semaglutide, although these serious side effects are very rare.


There’s a good chance you’ve heard of weight loss medications like Ozempic or even Wegovy, but there’s also a good chance that the headlines and celebrity-focused articles didn’t answer all your questions. Here’s what you need to know about whether they’re effective.

  • There are several FDA-approved weight loss drugs, including semaglutide, orlistat, phentermine-topiramate, naltrexone-bupropion and liraglutide. Metformin is another common medication used off-label for weight management.

  • These drugs all work slightly differently, but many decrease your appetite and help you stick to a lower-calorie diet. Healthcare providers often recommend they be used alongside regular exercise and healthy habits to maximize sustained weight loss.

  • However, there are side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation and, for the injectibals, injection-side irritation, injury or discomfort. Often, these are mild and serious side effects rarely happen.

  • Cost is also worth considering. Injectibals like Ozempic and Wegovy can generally cost anywhere from $800 to $1,000 per prescription, where a generic like metformin can be had for a fraction of that — usually for under $100 a month.

There’s no one “best weight loss medication” — there’s only what’s best for your particular needs. If you’re curious about medication for weight loss, you can talk to your healthcare provider for medical advice and to explore your options. And if you’re interested in other weight loss treatments online, we can help. 

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by



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