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Minoxidil

Pronunciation

Generic Name: minoxidil (mi-NOX-i-dil)
Brand Name: Generic only. No brands available.

Minoxidil may cause serious heart problems, including worsening of chest pain. Minoxidil is usually given with beta-blockers to prevent certain heart side effects and with diuretics to prevent serious fluid build-up. If you have severe, uncontrolled high blood pressure or if you take guanethidine, you should only begin taking minoxidil under direct medical supervision (eg, in a hospital). You will be monitored to prevent side effects, which may occur if your blood pressure lowers too much or too quickly.


Minoxidil is used for:

Lowering high blood pressure in patients who do not respond to other therapy.

Minoxidil is a vasodilator. It reduces blood pressure by relaxing and dilating (widening) blood vessels. Blood flows more freely and at a lower pressure through dilated blood vessels.

Do NOT use minoxidil if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in minoxidil
  • you have a tumor of the adrenal gland (pheochromocytoma)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using minoxidil:

Some medical conditions may interact with minoxidil. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have blood flow problems, congestive heart failure or other heart problems, or have had a heart attack
  • if you have kidney problems or are on dialysis

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with minoxidil. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Guanethidine because lightheadedness, especially upon standing, may occur

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if minoxidil may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use minoxidil:

Use minoxidil as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An extra patient leaflet is available with minoxidil. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Take minoxidil by mouth with or without food.
  • If you miss a dose of minoxidil, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use minoxidil.

Important safety information:

  • Minoxidil may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or changes in vision. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use minoxidil with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Minoxidil may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting; alcohol, hot weather, exercise, or fever may increase these effects. To prevent them, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Sit or lie down at the first sign of any of these effects.
  • Patients who take medicine for high blood pressure often feel tired or run down for a few weeks after starting treatment. Be sure to take your medicine even if you may not feel "normal." Tell your doctor if you develop any new symptoms.
  • Weigh yourself daily while you are taking minoxidil. Check with your doctor if you quickly gain 5 pounds or more or if there is swelling or puffiness of the face, hands, ankles or stomach.
  • Lab tests, including electrolyte counts, may be performed while you use minoxidil. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using minoxidil while you are pregnant. Minoxidil is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking minoxidil.

Possible side effects of minoxidil:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Changes in body hair; excessive hair growth; mild weight gain; nausea; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); changes in hearing or vision; difficulty breathing; excessive, sudden weight gain; fainting; lightheadedness; increased chest, arm, or shoulder pain; increased heart rate; pounding heartbeat; swelling.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include fainting; fast pulse; lightheadedness.

Proper storage of minoxidil:

Store minoxidil between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store in a tightly closed container. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Keep minoxidil out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about minoxidil, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Minoxidil is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take minoxidil or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about minoxidil. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to minoxidil. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using minoxidil.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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