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Rogaine (Minoxidil)


Updated June 01, 2010

Rogaine Basics:

Rogaine (minoxidil) is one of the brand names for the drug minoxidil. It is in a class of drugs called antihypertensives. It relaxes the smooth muscles of the arteries, causing vasodilation and lowering of blood pressure on the walls of the blood vessel.

What is Rogaine Used For:

Most people are most familiar with its use directly on the skin to treat hair loss caused by male pattern baldness (for both men and women).

Forms of Rogaine:

For use to help regrow hair, Rogaine is supplied as a topical 2% or 5% solution. It is applied directly to the areas of the head experiencing hair loss, usually twice daily.

Facts About Rogaine:

Rogaine was originally developed to treat high blood pressure (oral) that was unresponsive to other therapy. It generally takes several months of use to see results in hair growth. If this medication is discontinued hair loss will begin again within a few months of stopping treatment. This medication is available without a prescription in the US, but does require a prescription in Canada.

Side Effects of Rogaine:

Side effects are few, but can include:
  • irritation
  • itch
  • contact dermatitis
  • hives
  • swelling
  • allergic sensitivity
  • growth or darkening of facial hair (this is rare, and will disappear when the medication is stopped)

Who Should Not Use Rogaine:

Rogaine should not be used by:
  • pregnant women
  • nursing mothers
  • anyone who is allergic to Rogaine

What You Need To Know About Rogaine:

  • Use only as recommended -- for hair growth, use only on the scalp.
  • Using more than the recommended amount will not make hair grow faster.
  • Using more than recommended amount can increase the amount absorbed by the body. This could increase the risk of dangerous blood pressure drops.
  • New hair growth during therapy will be lost if therapy is stopped.


MedlinePlus Drug Information, 11/2003

Nursing Drug Reference, Mosby, 2004

Additional Information on Rogaine

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