Authors: Blythe N. Ke, Ma. Lorna F. Frez


Background: Androgenetic alopecia (AGA), also known as pattern hair loss, is the most common type of hair loss in men and women. This review aims to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a potential treatment option, topical adenosine, for androgenetic alopecia in male and female adults versus placebo and other comparators.

Methods: A search of databases (Cochrane Library, Pubmed Medline, and others) was performed with no time limitations placed. We included human interventional studies published in English involving the use of topical adenosine for AGA in healthy adult males and females. Risk bias assessment was then performed using the Cochrane Collaboration criteria.

Results: All four (4) trials (with a total of 260 participants) included in this review used 0.75% topical adenosine lotion (1 or 3 ml) BID for a period of 6-12 months. Comparators were placebo (2), topical niacinamide (1), and topical minoxidil (1). Parameters evaluated included baldness grades (dermatologist/investigator assessments and self-assessments), anagen growth, thick/thin/vellus hair ratio, and hair density. Two trials found a significant improvement with thick hair ratio (>60 or >80 μm) while 3 trials showed significant improvement via self-assessment (thickness, new growth, prevention of hair loss). Very few adverse effects such as pruritus and folliculitis (seen in 1 trial) were associated with the use of topical adenosine.

Conclusion: There may be a significant difference between topical adenosine vs. comparators/placebo in terms of increasing thick hair ratio and improving self-perception of hair growth. It has very minimal to no adverse effects and may serve as adjunct to present treatment options.





Androgenetic, Alopecia, AGA, hair loss

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