- What is minoxidil, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for minoxidil?
- Is minoxidil available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for minoxidil?
- What are the uses for minoxidil?
- What are the side effects of minoxidil?
- What is the dosage for minoxidil?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with minoxidil?
- Is minoxidil safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about minoxidil?
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 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:
- 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.
Quick GuideHair Loss: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention
What is the dosage for minoxidil?
Minoxidil should be applied as 1 ml of solution or half a capful of foam to dry hair and scalp once in the morning and again in the evening. It should be spread evenly over the affected areas, and then the hands should be washed with warm water (if the hands are used for application). Minoxidil must be applied on the scalp at least twice daily and for at least four months to see results. Minoxidil works less well in patients that are older, have larger areas of baldness, and have been bald for longer periods of time. Minoxidil should be applied to a dry scalp only, and left in place for at least four hours. Minoxidil must be continued in order to maintain or increase the hair growth achieved.
Which drugs or supplements interact with minoxidil?
Minoxidil should not be used with other topical medications because they may increase its absorption and side effects.
Is minoxidil safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Minoxidil should not be used in pregnancy because it has not been studied adequately in pregnant women.
Minoxidil should not be used by nursing women because it has not been evaluated adequately in nursing mothers.
What else should I know about minoxidil?
What preparations of minoxidil are available?
Solution: 2 and 5%; Foam: 5% (for topical use only, do not confuse topical minoxidil with oral minoxidil).
How should I keep minoxidil stored?
Minoxidil should be stored at room temperature, 20 C - 25 C (68 F - 77 F).
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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.
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Alopecia AreataAlopecia areata is a condition that causes hair loss on the scalp and sometimes other parts of the body. It is believed to be caused by an abnormality of the immune system that causes the body's immune system to attack the hair follicles. Typically, hair regrows within a year without treatment. Steroid injections, creams, and shampoos may be used during treatment.
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