Skip to Content

Minoxidil Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to minoxidil: oral tablet

Along with its needed effects, minoxidil 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 immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking minoxidil:

More common
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • weight gain (rapid) of more than 5 pounds (2 pounds in children)
Less common
  • Chest pain
  • shortness of breath

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur while taking minoxidil:

More common
  • Bloating
  • flushing or redness of skin
  • swelling of feet or lower legs
Less common
  • Numbness or tingling of hands, feet, or face
Rare
  • Skin rash and itching

Some side effects of minoxidil may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
  • Increase in hair growth, usually on face, arms, and back
Less common or rare
  • Breast tenderness in males and females
  • headache

This medicine causes a temporary increase in hair growth in most people. Hair may grow longer and darker in both men and women. This may first be noticed on the face several weeks after you start taking minoxidil. Later, new hair growth may be noticed on the back, arms, legs, and scalp. Talk to your doctor about shaving or using a hair remover during this time. After treatment with minoxidil has ended, the hair will stop growing, although it may take several months for the new hair growth to go away.

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to minoxidil: compounding powder, oral tablet

General

Most patients receiving have experienced a decrease of preexisting adverse medical events attributable to their disease or previous therapy. The most frequently reported side effects were hypertrichosis, tachycardia, pericarditis, and an abnormal ECG.[Ref]

Cardiovascular

Very common (10% or more): ECG abnormal (up to 60%), tachycardia, pericarditis
Common (1% to 10%): Pericardial effusion, tamponade
Frequency not reported: Angina pectoris, hypotension[Ref]

Dermatologic

Very common (10% or more): Hypertrichosis (up to 80%), hair color changed
Rare (less than 0.1%): Stevens-Johnson syndrome, dermatitis bullous, rash
Frequency not reported: Toxic epidermal necrolysis[Ref]

Elongation, thickening, and enhanced pigmentation of fine body hair has been reported in about 80% of patients. This usually develops within 3 to 6 weeks after beginning therapy and is first noticed on the temples, between the eyebrows, between the hairline and the eyebrows, or in the sideburn area of the upper lateral cheek, and eventually extending to the back, arms, legs, and scalp. Upon discontinuation of this drug, new hair growth stops, however, 1 to 6 months may be required for restoration to pretreatment appearance. Endocrine abnormalities have not been found to explain the abnormal hair growth.[Ref]

Gastrointestinal

Common (1% to 10%): Gastrointestinal disorder
Frequency not reported: Nausea/vomiting, gastrointestinal intolerance[Ref]

Hematologic

Rare (less than 0.1%): Leukopenia, thrombocytopenia
Frequency not reported: Hematocrit decreased, hemoglobin decreased, erythrocyte count decreased

Metabolic

Common (1% to 10%): Fluid retention[Ref]

Genitourinary

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Breast tenderness[Ref]

Respiratory

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Pleural effusion

Other

Common (1% to 10%): Edema
Frequency not reported: Peripheral edema, weight gain, blood creatinine increased, blood urea increased, alkaline phosphatase increased[Ref]

References

1. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

3. "Product Information. Loniten (minoxidil)." Pharmacia and Upjohn, Kalamazoo, MI.

Some side effects of minoxidil may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. Drugs.com does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.

Hide