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What is Minoxidil?

What was initially used as a drug for hyper tension or blood pressure resulted in hair regrowth (hypertrichosis) as a side-effect in some patients and eventually evolved into only one of the very few FDA approved drugs commonly known as Minoxidil or Rogaine which are used world over to treat hair loss. Minoxidil is sold by the brand name Rogaine. It is an anti balding drug and the only FDA approved drug considered safe for women. Researches world over although could not tell exactly why it works however they certainly have shown that minoxidil solution applied topically is very beneficial in preventing hair loss.

Quick facts about Minoxidil you should know:

  • Minoxidil is used to treat Male Pattern Baldness or Androgenic alopecia.
  • Minoxidil was the first FDA approved drug for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia.
  • Minoxidil appears to increase hair follicles and stimulate hair growth.
  • Minoxidil is in the FDA pregnancy category C which means it is unknown if it would be harmful to an unborn child if taken by the mother during pregnancy. Additionally it is also considered unsafe for women when they are nursing a baby.
  • Minoxidil may pass from mother to child through breast milk.
  • In women, minoxidil may promote hair growth on face, especially on the forehead and cheeks.
  • Minoxidil is a vasodilator that relaxes blood vessels and improves blood flow.
  • Minoxidil is not considered safe for heart patients.
  • It should not be used if the scalp skin is either broken, cut, damaged or irritated as in these cases it could lead to access absorption of minoxidil by the body proving dangerous.
  • Minoxidil may also enhance hair growth by reducing the calcium influx in the cells.
  • Maximum safe dosage of minoxidil per day is 2 ml when applied on scalp in topical solution form.
  • Minoxidil effects are usually seen in 2-3 months so even after 4 months if you do not see any effect you should consider discontinuing any further use as it usually means you are one of the people for which minoxidil is not effective.
  • It should not be used on any other parts of the body apart from the scalp as otherwise it is considered dangerous to health.
  • If use of minoxidil is stopped hairs would start falling again and in some cases at a rapid rate.

What are the side effects of Minoxidil or rogaine?

  • Very low blood pressure.
  • Acne or some other severe allergic reaction.
  • Changes in body hair size as well as color
  • Excessive hair growth in other areas of the body
  • Mild weight gain
  • Headache, nausea and vomiting
  • Breast tenderness
  • Burning of scalp
  • Irregular or fast heart beat
  • Partial or complete impotence
  • Chest Pain

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