What is minoxidil?
Minoxidil is a vasodilator that relaxes (widens) blood vessels and improves blood flow.
Minoxidil is used to treat severely high blood pressure (hypertension) that is causing symptoms or damaging your vital organs. Minoxidil is usually given together with two other medicines to help prevent serious side effects.
Minoxidil tablets should not be used to promote scalp hair growth. Only the topical form of minoxidil (Rogaine) is recommended for that use.
Minoxidil may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Minoxidil side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Minoxidil may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:
new or worsening chest pain;
chest pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder;
fast or pounding heartbeats;
swelling in your legs, ankles, or feet;
rapid weight gain, especially in your face and midsection;
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
fluid build-up in the lungs--pain when you breathe, feeling short of breath while lying down, wheezing, gasping for breath, cough with foamy mucus; or
severe skin reaction--fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.
Common side effects of minoxidil may include:
changes in color, length, or thickness of body or facial hair;
breast pain or tenderness.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
You should not use minoxidil if you have pheochromocytoma (adrenal gland tumor).
Minoxidil is usually given together with two other medicines to help prevent serious side effects. Use all medications as directed by your doctor.
Call your doctor at once if you have new or worsening chest pain, shortness of breath (even while lying down), pain when you breathe, or fast heartbeats.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use minoxidil if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
pheochromocytoma (tumor of the adrenal gland).
To make sure minoxidil is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
congestive heart failure;
kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
migraine headaches; or
epilepsy or other seizure disorder.
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. However, a newborn baby could have excessive hair growth if the mother has taken minoxidil during pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Minoxidil can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
Do not give this medicine to a child without medical advice.
How should I take minoxidil?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not use minoxidil in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Your doctor may want to give your first dose of this medicine in a hospital or clinic setting to quickly treat any serious side effects that occur.
Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice.
While taking minoxidil, you will need to measure your heart rate by checking your pulse. Your doctor or nurse can show you how to check your pulse.
Weigh yourself each day while you are taking minoxidil. Call your doctor if you gain more than 5 pounds quickly.
Your blood pressure will need to be checked often. Your heart function may also need to be checked using an electrocardiograph or ECG (sometimes called an EKG).
Keep using this medicine as directed, even if you feel well. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medicine for the rest of your life.
Do not share this medicine with another person, even if they have the same symptoms you have.
Store minoxidil at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose symptoms may include dizziness or fainting.
What should I avoid while taking minoxidil?
You may need to limit or reduce the salt in your diet while taking minoxidil. Do not use potassium supplements or salt substitutes, unless your doctor has told you to.
Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking a cough or cold medicine that contains a decongestant such as phenylephrine.
What other drugs will affect minoxidil?
Other drugs may interact with minoxidil, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
Topical minoxidil (Rogaine) appears to be effective for enhancing beards and stimulating hair growth in the lower facial region, although few studies have been reported. One trial found a significant improvement in beard growth as assessed by photography, as well as significant improvements in facial hair count after 16 weeks of twice daily topical minoxidil 3%. The participants in the trial also reported noticing that their beard growth had improved. There was no difference noted between the thickness of beard hairs in those who applied minoxidil compared to those who applied a placebo (an inactive) treatment. Continue reading
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Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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