minoxidil (Rogaine)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

What is minoxidil, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Minoxidil is a drug that is used for treating male-pattern baldness and hair loss in women. Oral minoxidil was originally used for treating high blood pressure, but patients and health care providers noticed that hair growth was a side effect of treatment. This led to the development of topical (solution applied to the skin) minoxidil for the treatment of male-pattern baldness. The mechanism of action leading to growth of hair is unknown. The FDA approved minoxidil in August 1988.

What brand names are available for minoxidil?

Rogaine (for men or women)

Is minoxidil available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for minoxidil?

No

What are the uses for minoxidil?

Minoxidil is used to treat male-pattern baldness. In women, it is used to treat diffuse loss of hair or thinning of hair in the frontal areas of the scalp.

What are the side effects of minoxidil?

Common side effects of minoxidil include:

Other side effects include:

  • headaches,
  • dizziness,
  • fainting,
  • lightheadedness,
  • chest pain, and
  • increased or decreased blood pressure.

An increase in the absorption of minoxidil from the scalp can occur in patients with damaged skin, leading to increased side effects. Minoxidil's contains alcohol that can irritate the eyes. In case of accidental contact with eyes or other sensitive areas, the exposed area should be washed with cool water. Tendonitis has also been reported.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/1/2016

Quick GuideHair Loss: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

Hair Loss: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention
FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

RxList Logo

Need help identifying pills and medications?

Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Skin Care & Conditions Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors