Drugs Home > Minoxidil

Available without a prescription, minoxidil is a product used to help stimulate hair growth in men and women with androgenetic alopecia (also called male or female pattern hair loss). Minoxidil comes as a liquid solution or a foam and is typically applied to the scalp twice daily. Although generally well tolerated, side effects may occur and can include a dry, flaky, and itchy scalp.

What Is Minoxidil?

Minoxidil (Rogaine®) is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication used in the treatment of male and female pattern baldness, a condition medically known as androgenetic alopecia. It is applied directly on the scalp to stimulate hair growth.
 
Minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine, is also available as an oral tablet (Loniten®), which is used to treat severe hypertension (high blood pressure). Although these medications contain the same active ingredient, they are not the same medication. Loniten should not be used to promote hair growth, as it may cause serious and potentially dangerous side effects. This article applies only to minoxidil formulations that are applied directly on the scalp.
 
(Click What Is Minoxidil Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Are There Side Effects?

Just like any medicine, minoxidil can cause side effects. However, not everyone who uses the drug will experience problems. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well.
 
If reactions do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider. Serious reactions are less common.
 
Common side effects of minoxidil may include but are not limited to:
 
  • Dry, flaky, and itchy scalp
  • Red, irritated scalp.
 
(Click Side Effects of Minoxidil to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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