Uses, Dosage, Interactions & Side Effects of Minoxidil
Minoxidil is a prescription drug available as a liquid solution, topical solution, oral solution, and foam. As an oral or liquid solution, it is used to treat high blood pressure. As a topical solution and topical foam, it is most often used to treat hair loss. In this article we discuss the uses, dosage, side effects, and interactions of minoxidil. We also answer the questions how does minoxidil work and how should I take minoxidil?
Minoxidil is a prescription drug available as a liquid solution, topical solution, oral solution, and foam. As an oral or liquid solution, it is used to treat high blood pressure. When used to treat hair loss, minoxidil is available as a topical solution and foam. It can also be used to stimulate hair growth and slow balding. It is commonly sold as the brand name drugs Rogaine and Loniten.
As a liquid and oral solution, minoxidil is used with other medications to treat high blood pressure. It can help prevent strokes and heart attacks.
Do not apply minoxidil on other parts of the body besides the hair unless directed by your doctor. Do not use on skin that is red, painful, irritated, scraped, cut, or infected. Wash your hands thoroughly after applying minoxidil to any part of your body.
How To Use Minoxidil
Do not use minoxidil more often than directed, apply more of it than as directed, or apply it to an irritated or sunburned scalp. Doing so can cause the drug to be absorbed into your body and result in serious negative side effects.
It can take quite a while for hair to completely regrow. Most people need to use this medication regularly for 4 months to see the benefits they are looking for. Minoxidil must be used continuously to maintain hair growth. If your condition does not improve or worsens after using this medication for 4 to 6 months, talk to your doctor about possible interactions.
Minoxidil For Hair Loss
As a topical solution, minoxidil is used to stimulate hair growth and slow balding. It does not have any effect on receding hairlines, but it can be used to help quicken hair growth.
Minoxidil can help thicken hair in women who are experiencing thinning hair. For men, minoxidil topical can help mitigate the effects of male pattern baldness and prevent the hairline from receding.
How Does Minoxidil Work?
Minoxidil works by relaxing and widening the blood vessels in the body. This boosts blood flow and decreases blood pressure.
Minoxidil topical works by shortening the telogen (resting) phase of the hair cycle, and lengthening the anagen (active) phase. Minoxidil topical also works to stimulate hairs to enter the anagen phase earlier than they would naturally.
How Do I Take Minoxidil?
Minoxidil is available as an oral tablet, liquid solution and foam. It can be purchased under the brand name drugs Rogaine and Loniten. As an oral tablet, minoxidil is available at a strength of 5 mg. As a topical solution, minoxidil comes at concentrations of 2% and 5%. As a topical foam, it comes at one concentration of 5%. Dosage recommendations for minoxidil can depend on factors including:
- Your age
- Your weight
- Severity of hair loss or high blood pressure
Dosage for Androgenetic Alopecia (Hair Loss)
Male: Apply 1 mL of 2% or 5% solution to the affected area of the scalp twice per day.
Female: Apply 1 mL of 2% solution or 5% foam to the affected area of the scalp twice per day.
Dosage for High Blood Pressure
Initial Dose: 5 mg orally once a day. Dosage may be increased to 40 mg daily based on doctor recommendation.
Maximum Dosage: 100 mg orally once a day.
Side Effects Of Minoxidil
Minoxidil does have potential side effects. Some are more common; others are less common but more serious.
Common Side Effects
Common side effects of minoxidil include:
- Chest pain
- Fast heartbeat
- Unwanted growth of facial hair
- Changes in color or texture of hair
If these side effects are mild, they may disappear within a few days. If you have stopped taking your medication and the effects are still present, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious Side Effects
If you are experiencing any of the following serious side effects, contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately. Call 911 if you think your symptoms are life threatening.
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid weight gain
- Trouble breathing
- Severe pain in the chest
- Severe scalp irritation
Tell your doctor right away if you are taking any other medications or products used to treat high blood pressure. Minoxidil can interact with another drug used to treat blood pressure called guanethidine. Taking minoxidil and guanethidine at the same time can cause serious unwanted side effects.
Uses, Dosage, Interactions & Side Effects of Minoxidil: Summary
Minoxidil is a prescription drug available as a liquid solution, topical solution, oral solution, and foam. It is available as the brand name drugs Rogaine and Loniten.
As an oral or liquid solution, it is used to treat high blood pressure. As a topical solution and topical foam, it is most often used to treat hair loss.