Minoxidil (Rogaine) was originally marketed as an antihypertensive vasodilator drug but it was found to have a positive side effect on baldness and hair loss problems. It was discovered to be effective in lessening or stopping hair loss and can even promote hair regrowth. It is now available as an over-the-counter medicine which is FDA approved for the treatment of alopecia in both men and women. Minoxidil is now available in the market under the trade name of Rogaine/Regaine. Minoxidil may cause darkening of fine hairs, increase growth of hair or at times, cause significant abundance of hair. Also, it was found out to be effective in treating hair loss in younger men who have been experiencing alopecia symptoms for a duration of less than 5 years. When it is discontinued, the loss of hair or baldness may go back to its normal rate in a span of 30 days to 60 days. Positive minoxidil reviews extended by its users serve as additional proof of the drug's efficacy in the treatment of adrenergic alopecia which can be evident in a few months of use.

Upjohn Corporation was able to produce a topical minoxidil solution which contained 2% of minoxidil which is safe for the treatment of baldness and hair loss. The company marketed it as Regaine in Europe and Asia. In the United States of America and Canada, it was sold as Rogaine. Formulations have also been made to treat alopecia in both sexes. Minoxidil for women usually contain 2% of minoxidil in their formulations while minoxidil for men usually have 5% minoxidil concentration. In 2007, Rogaine foam/ Regaine foam was introduced by the same company. It was a foam-based formula which contained 5% minoxidil concentration and its efficacy is considered equal to its liquid-based formula counterpart.

Minoxidil (Rogaine) - How It Works

Although minoxidil is proven to be effective in the treatment of alopecia, it is still not yet fully understood how it works to promote hair growth. It can act as a nitric oxide agonist as it contains the nitric oxide chemical moiety. It can also cause hyperpolarization of cell membranes since it can be used as a potassium channel opener. Lastly, it was originally intended as a vasodilator hypertensive medication. Theoretically, by broadening blood vessels and promoting the flow in potassium channels, it lets more nutrients, blood and oxygen into the follicle and this causes a replacement of old hairs with thicker and healthier hairs.

How to Apply Minoxidil (Rogaine)

To use minoxidil to promote hair growth, it must be used once or twice daily. It can be used in an indefinite amount of time because in order to avoid the disintegration of hair and baldness, the medication is to be used as maintenance of hair regrowth and as a continued support for the hair follicles. For maximum efficacy, the medication should be applied four hours before allowing hair to get wet.

Side Effects of Minoxidil (Rogaine)

In general, medications can interact in a lot of ways depending on receiver of the drug. Medications may react in a negative or positive way with regards to a person's present health condition and lifestyle habits. Minoxidil side effects do not occur often and most people are tolerant with it; however, there is still a possibility of experiencing one of its side effects which will be discussed here.

Common side effects brought on with the use of minoxidil include: irritation/redness of the area applied with the drug, itching or burning of the eye and unwanted or unintended hair growth in other areas of the body. It can also cause dandruff due to the alcohol present in the liquid or foam preparations of minoxidil for topical use.

The patient should stop the medication in the occurrence of serious side effects. Do not take the medication and contact your health care provider if you experience chest pain; fast heartbeat; dizziness; unexplained or sudden weight gain; fainting; swollen hands or feet and severe allergic reactions which can manifest through hives, rashes, difficulty breathing, itching, swelling (tongue, mouth, lips, face) and chest tightness.

Some topical minoxidil preparations have the ingredient propylene glycol which may cause allergic reactions to some people.

Ironically, hair loss is one of the side effects which are considered relatively common in minoxidil treatment. This hair loss is actually induced by the drug in the process of shedding the old hairs to promote growth of new hair. Although this has been proven in a lot of clinical trials, manufacturers do not offer a guarantee in the event that the hair is not replaced with new hair. However, shedding of hair is an essential part of the treatment to ensure that healthy hair in its anagen phase scan surface on the scalp.

Manufacturers warn some caution with minoxidil on cat owners. The drug is found to be highly toxic to cats and may cause the death of felines with unintended skin contact of the drug.