Generic Name: minoxidil (min-OX-i-dil)
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on June 28, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
- Men's Rogaine
- Rogaine For Men Extra Strength
- Women's Rogaine
- Hair Regrowth Treatment
- Med Minoxidil
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Alopecia Agent
Uses for minoxidil
Minoxidil applied to the scalp is used to stimulate hair growth in adult men and women with a certain type of baldness. The exact way that minoxidil works is not known.
If hair growth is going to occur with the use of minoxidil, it usually occurs after the medicine has been used for several months and lasts only as long as the medicine continues to be used. Hair loss will begin again within a few months after minoxidil treatment is stopped.
In the U.S., minoxidil is available without a prescription.
Before using minoxidil
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For minoxidil, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to minoxidil or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of topical minoxidil in children. Safety and efficacy have not been established ..
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatrics-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of topical minoxidil in the elderly. However, studies have shown that the medicine works best in younger patients who have a short history of hair loss. Minoxidil has not been studied in patients older than 65 years of age .
Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of minoxidil. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Any other skin problems, an irritation, or a sunburn on the scalp—These conditions may cause too much topical minoxidil to be absorbed into the body and may increase the chance of side effects.
- Heart disease or
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)—Topical minoxidil has not been studied in patients who have these conditions, but more serious problems may develop for these patients if they use more medicine than is recommended over a large area and too much minoxidil is absorbed into the body.
Proper use of minoxidil
Minoxidil usually comes with patient instructions. It is important that you read the instructions carefully.
It is very important that you use minoxidil only as directed. Do not use more of it and do not use it more often than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of it being absorbed through the skin. For the same reason, do not apply minoxidil to other parts of your body. Absorption into the body may affect the heart and blood vessels and cause unwanted effects.
Do not use any other skin products on the same skin area on which you use minoxidil. Hair coloring, hair permanents, and hair relaxers may be used during minoxidil therapy as long as the scalp is washed just before applying the hair coloring, permanent, or relaxer. Minoxidil should not be used 24 hours before and after the hair treatment procedure. Be sure to not double your doses of minoxidil to make up for any missed doses.
To apply minoxidil topical solution:
- Make sure your hair and scalp are completely dry before applying minoxidil.
- Apply the amount prescribed to the area of the scalp being treated, beginning in the center of the area. Follow your doctor's instructions on how to apply the solution, using the applicator provided.
- Do not shampoo your hair for 4 hours after applying minoxidil.
- Immediately after using minoxidil, wash your hands to remove any medicine that may be on them.
- Do not use a hairdryer to dry the scalp after you apply minoxidil solution. Blowing with a hairdryer on the scalp may make the treatment less effective.
- Allow the minoxidil to completely dry for 2 to 4 hours after applying it, including before going to bed. Minoxidil can stain clothing, hats, or bed linen if your hair or scalp is not fully dry after using the medicine.
- Avoid transferring the medicine while wet to other parts of the body. This can occur if the medicine gets on your pillowcase or bed linens or if your hands are not washed after applying minoxidil.
To apply minoxidil topical foam:
- Open the container by matching the arrow on can ring with the arrow on cap. Pull off the cap.
- Part the hair into one or more rows to expose the hair thinning area on the scalp.
- Hold the can upside down and press the nozzle to put foam on your fingers.
- Use your fingers to spread the foam over the hair loss area and gently massage into your scalp.
- Immediately after using minoxidil, wash your hands to remove any medicine that may be on them .
If your scalp becomes abraded, irritated, or sunburned, check with your doctor before applying minoxidil.
Minoxidil topical foam or solution is for use on the scalp only. Keep minoxidil away from the eyes, nose, and mouth. If you should accidentally get some in your eyes, nose, or mouth, flush the area thoroughly with cool tap water. If you are using the pump spray, be careful not to breathe in the spray .
Do not use the foam near heat or open flame, or while smoking. Do not puncture, break, or burn the aerosol can .
The dose of minoxidil will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of minoxidil. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For hair growth:
- For topical solution dosage form:
- Adults—Apply 1 milliliter (mL) to the scalp two times a day.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by the doctor.
- For topical foam dosage form:
- Adults—Apply half a capful to the scalp two times a day.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor .
- For topical solution dosage form:
If you miss a dose of minoxidil, apply it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Flammable: Keep away from fire or flame.
Precautions while using minoxidil
It is important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that minoxidil is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.
Tell your doctor if you notice continued itching, redness, or burning of your scalp after you apply minoxidil. If the itching, redness, or burning is severe, wash the medicine off and check with your doctor before using it again.
Hair loss may continue for 2 weeks after you start using minoxidil. Tell your doctor if your hair loss continues after 2 weeks. Also, tell your doctor if your hair growth does not increase after using minoxidil for 4 months.
Minoxidil side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- Itching or skin rash (continued)
- Acne at site of application
- burning of scalp
- facial hair growth
- increased hair loss
- inflammation or soreness at root of hair
- reddened skin
- swelling of face
Signs and symptoms of too much medicine being absorbed into the body—Rare
- Blurred vision or other changes in vision
- chest pain
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- numbness or tingling of hands, feet, or face
- swelling of face, hands, feet, or lower legs
- weight gain (rapid)
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
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- En Español
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- Drug class: miscellaneous topical agents
- FDA Alerts (1)