Drugs Home > Precautions and Warnings With Minoxidil

You may not be able to safely use minoxidil if you have certain medical issues, such as scalp problems, heart disease, or certain allergies. Other precautions and warnings with minoxidil include the danger of potentially serious side effects, the safety of using it when pregnant or breastfeeding, and possible drug interactions.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Using Minoxidil?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to using minoxidil (Rogaine®) if you have:
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(This article applies only to minoxidil formulations that are applied on the scalp. An oral form of minoxidil is available by prescription and is used to treat severe hypertension. Oral minoxidil should not be used to treat hair loss, as it can cause serious side effects. Click Loniten for more information.)

Specific Minoxidil Precautions and Warnings

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to using this medicine include the following:
  • Minoxidil is meant for external use only, to be applied directly on the scalp. It should not be taken by mouth or applied to other areas of the body.
  • Some people may grow unwanted facial hair while using this medication, which may be quite troubling for women. Because this side effect is more likely to occur with the minoxidil 5% strength, it is recommended that women only use minoxidil 2% solution. Also, make sure to wash your hands after applying the medication, before touching your face.
  • Minoxidil is only approved to treat male or female pattern baldness, which is usually associated with a family history of hair loss. It should not be used to treat the following problems:
    • Frontal baldness
    • A receding hairline
    • Sudden or patchy baldness
    • Hair loss on other areas of the body
    • Baldness of an unknown cause.
  • Avoid applying this product to a red, irritated, infected, or inflamed scalp. Doing so may increase the amount of the medication absorbed into your bloodstream, potentially increasing your risk for serious side effects.
  • Some people may experience a change in hair color or hair texture while using this product. This is not usually a cause for concern. If it is troubling to you, stop using the medication.
  • You may notice an increase in hair loss when you first start using this medication. If the increased hair loss continues for longer than two weeks, stop using minoxidil and contact your healthcare provider.
  • Although very little of the medication is expected to be absorbed into the bloodstream after normal use, some people may absorb enough of the medication to experience side effects. Stop using the medication and contact your healthcare provider immediately if you notice any of the following side effects:
    • Decreased blood pressure
    • Increased heart rate
    • Sudden and unexplained weight gain
    • Chest pain
    • Dizziness or fainting
    • Swelling in your face, hands, legs, or feet.
  • Minoxidil contains alcohol and is, therefore, flammable. Keep it away from fires or flames. The alcohol in the product may also be irritating to the eyes, nose, mouth, and throat. Therefore, be careful not to touch your eyes or inhale the medication when applying it.
  • Minoxidil is a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that this medication may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are currently unknown. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using minoxidil during pregnancy (see Rogaine and Pregnancy).
  • It is unknown if minoxidil passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to using the drug (see Rogaine and Breastfeeding).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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