minoxidil (Rogaine)

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?


Do I need a prescription for minoxidil?


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:

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.


Your Hair and Scalp Can Say a Lot About Your Health See Slideshow

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).


Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a topical solution applied to the dry scalp and promotes hair growth for men with male-patterned baldness. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and safety during pregnancy information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.

Treatment & Diagnosis

Medications & Supplements

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Skin Care & Conditions Newsletter

By clicking "Submit," I agree to the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. I also agree to receive emails from MedicineNet and I understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

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.

Medically reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP; Board Certified Emergency Medicine


FDA Prescribing Information.