Hair loss is never an easy truth to face, but there is quite the chance that you just might have to; but thankfully, with the advances in medicine, there are ways to combat almost everything, including hair loss. Two of the most commonly used terms in medicines associated with treating hair loss are minoxidil and finasteride and because the first is an over-the-counter drug, Minoxidil topical solution is quite popular.

What is minoxidil (Rogaine)?

The introduction of Minoxidil as an oral medication was in the 1970s, when it was used as a medication for hypertension treatment; but generalized hypertrichosis (excessive hair growth) was noticed in balding persons, which is when another prospective usage of minoxidil was discovered. It was in the 1980s that the first version of 2% minoxidil solution was introduced in the market, targeted at allowing hair regrowth and in the 1990s, the 5% solution appeared on the shelves. Till date, topical minoxidil is the first step treatment for androgenetic alopecia and several other forms of hair loss. Click here to know more about Minoxidil.
Common Side Effects of Minoxidil

What are the possible medical interactions?

The good news is that overall, there are no serious medical interactions of minoxidil and the chances of negative drug interaction are minimal too. However, that does not mean that you need not be careful before starting on a course, because oral Minoxidil needs to be taken with medical supervision. This is why it is imperative that you tell your doctor about all the medications you are in, even if it is vitamins or herbal products. Clarifying all these details with your doctor is essential because minoxidil is known to known interact with guanethidine and it could possibly lead to “profound orthostatic hypotensive effects.”

On the other hand, topical minoxidil has a synergistic relation with other topical medications such as tretinoin – this means that when they are used together, they could possibly increase the benefits that either would offer. Yet, it would be wise to take proper medical advice in advance, especially since the medication has impact on hypertension.

What are the most common precautions that you need to take?

Even though Minoxidil topical solution is considered an over-the-counter medication and can be purchased quite easily, it is at the end of the day, a medication and there are some precautions that you need to take.

Your very first step should be to do a patch test, so that you can adjudge whether you have any allergies – in case you have any allergic reaction, you need to consult a doctor. If you are using the topical version, you need to make sure that your hair and scalp are absolutely dry and you apply on the prescribed amount and only on the areas being treated. As soon as you are done, you need to make sure that you wash your hands immediately with a good quality soap. It is important that you allow the medication to dry completely and the medication not be transferred to any other parts of the body. If the solution goes into your eyes, nose or mouth, you need to wash it thoroughly with clean water.

What are the most common side effects of minoxidil?

Although minoxidil is considered to be safe overall, it is a medication after all, and Minoxidil side effects are not completely unheard of. What is good is that most of the side effects are mild and don’t last for more than a few hours or at the most, a few days. And in most cases, the side effects are known to resolve on their own, without the need of any other interventions. Here are some of the most common side effects of Minoxidil:

  • Contact dermatitis – leading to itching and skin scaling (studies have shown that the chances of the same are lesser with 2% concentration, as opposed to 5%)
  • There could be itching in the eyes or redness and irritation
  • In case there is an allergic reaction, there could be swelling in the mouth, face, lips and even tongue
  • Some people could feel slightly dizzy or nauseous
  • There have been cases of temporary hair loss as well as emergent dandruff

What are the more serious side effects of minoxidil?

Now that we have looked at the more common side effects of topical Minoxidil, we need to move onto the more severe side effects and it has been observed that these tend to present more often in oral minoxidil. These are the more serious side effects:

  • Minoxidil can increase your heart rate and that could lead to chest pains or shortness of breath
  • There could be a sudden weight gain or swelling in hands and feet
  • In very rare cases, the person using Minoxidil could feel severe anxiety or depression
  • There could be decreased libido and erectile dysfunction

Does Minoxidil really work on hair loss?

There are those who are constantly questioning the efficacy of this medication – they wonder if it really works. The combination of chemicals in minoxidil are meant to instigate the hair follicles and that leads to hair growth – ideally, you can start using this medication if you are just starting to see hair loss or have been observing a receding hair line. When the stimulation happens properly, there is a strong chance that the new hair that grows in is thicker, offering you more dense hair.

However, it might not be possible to regrow hair on a completely bald head – this is one of the facts that you need to understand, rather than blindly using Minoxidil or Rogaine (one of the more popular brand names for minoxidil) and then having to undergo Rogaine side effects.

Is there any way to avoid the side effects of oral minoxidil?

If you are looking to try an oral version of Minoxidil, then you need to make sure that you are prescribed a beta blocker as well as a diuretic along with it. Swelling that is often associated as a common side effect of oral Minoxidil is mainly caused due to the retention of fluids in the body and that can be handled by a diuretic. This could also tackle the sudden weight gain that could be caused by water retention – more importantly, if not treated on time, these excess fluids could lead to congestive heart failure.

Similarly, a beta blocker will help keep the blood pressure on the lower side, because minoxidil was originally a medication given to control heart conditions. When the epinephrine is blocked by the said beta blocker, the chances of blood pressure elevating are significantly decreased.

Is there any way to avoid the side effects of topical minoxidil?

In case you are using topical minoxidil or Rogaine, the easiest way to avoid side effects is to use it as directed – there will be a specific set of instructions and it is imperative that the same be followed. Do not rush the process, because hair growth is not an instant miracle; it will take time. Make sure that you apply the doses on the right time – if you miss a dose, apply it as soon as possible and if the time for the next dose is near, wait for the time. Double doses will not fasten the hair growth process; rather it could lead to any of the Minoxidil 5 side effects such as itching, swelling, rashes, nausea and dizziness.

Frequently asked questions about Minoxidil & its Side Effects:

 

What are the consequences of stopping Minoxidil?

Whether your hair loss will start again or you will retain your hair after stopping minoxidil will depend on what kind of hair loss you have had. If it is genetic, chances are that you might retain a few hair that you gained and lose the rest; but let’s say you lost your hair due to a medical treatment and once the treatment protocol has been completed, there is a chance that your hair will grow back, irrespective of you stopping the medication. Remember that this is not a treatment that you can start and stop when you want – if you want your existing hair to grow thicker and longer, then you will have to continue with the treatment, because the moment you stop, the hair loss will possibly return.

Is it okay to drink alcohol while taking minoxidil?

If you are taking oral minoxidil, then you will be asked not to take alcohol, because there could be an adverse drug reaction, that could lead to a drop in blood pressure. However, this should not be a problem with the topical version – but alcohol is known to dry the skin out, which could lead to scalp irritation as well.

Should I take finasteride when using minoxidil?

While taking finasteride in tandem with minoxidil is not unsafe, there can be some side effects, especially for pregnant or lactating women. It is important to keep in mind that Minoxidil side effects after stopping can appear should you stop either or both, the main being hair loss starting again.

What happens if I stop taking Minoxidil and start taking Propecia (Finasteride)?

There is actually no telling what will happen – for some people, minoxidil works better and for some, finasteride. There is no guarantee that you will not see elevated hair loss after stopping minoxidil or you will immediately see better hair growth with finasteride.

References:
https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-3503/minoxidil-topical/details
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoxidil
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6691938/
https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/minoxidil-topical-route/side-effects/drg-20068750?p=1
https://www.forhims.com/blog/minoxidil-interactions
https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/minoxidil-topical-route/precautions/drg-20068750?p=1#:~:text=Minoxidil%20topical%20foam%20or%20solution,to%20breathe%20in%20the%20spray%20.

NOTE: This content of this post is written by the experienced dermotologist based on formal medical studies. It is reliable and scientifically verified, reviewed and edited by concerned doctors or health professionals to provide objective information on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. If you are a doctor or health scientist and find inaccuracies, errors or omissions, please contact us at info@akclinics.com

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What is Minoxidil?

Minoxidil is an anti-hypertensive peripheral vasodilator drug being primarily used for different patterns of baldness and hair loss in men & women. It belongs to the drug class of pyrimidine derivatives (Arteriolar smooth muscle). It is commonly known by the trade name as “Rogaine”outside of India and Mintop, Tugain, Regaine, etc. in India.

How Minoxidil was discovered and what were the earlier forms of Minoxidil?

Earlier, Minoxidil was used to treat the hypertension in the form of pills named as “Loniten.” But researchers noticed that it also helps in the hair growth. So, its use as medicine for hair growth was started. Since it led to hair growth all over the body, it could not be used in the same form. The researchers then opted for a new formulation in the form of lotion that could be directly applied to the scalp without affecting other body parts.

How minoxidil transformed from an anti-hypertensive drug to hair fall drug?

Minoxidil emanated from a research program which was held in 1960 by Upjohn chemists. They were evaluating the gastric acid effects of a compound named “DAM” (N, N- diallymelamine) from a chemical catalogue. On analyzing,

  • They panned out that DAM reduced blood pressure in dogs but not in humans.
  • They opted for DAM metabolites named DAMN-O which went into several clinical trials in patients suffering from hypertension in 1961. It resulted in the lowered blood pressure but caused some side effects including salt and water retention, even heart failure. So DAMN-O was withdrawn from the study.

Further Upjohn researchers amalgamated several DAMN-O analogues including Minoxidil keeping the factors of side effects in mind and avoiding it. Along with minoxidil, several diuretics and beta blockers were added in the study to reverse the water and salt retention. Minoxidil showed reduction in blood pressure levels with minimal side effects during clinical trials. As word from people got out that minoxidil resulted in hair re-growth, Upjohn researchers in Kalamazoo headquarters, Michigan, inundated with the volunteers for hair loss trials with a topical formulation. This trial was performed on macaques (a species prone to hair thinning) and re-growth of hair was observed. After that, Upjohn launched minoxidil as “Regaine” topical solution of 2% in UK in 1988. Minoxidil was the first drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in August 1988 for the treatment of male patterned hair loss (Androgenetic alopecia).

How Does Minoxidil works and how it reduces the hair fall?

  • Minoxidil is known as a potent vasodilator which helps to stimulate the growth of hair. Minoxidil when applied on the scalp:
    1. Is converted into an active form Minoxidil sulphite with the help of the enzyme sulfonyl transferase.
    2. It works by opening the potassium channels which facilitates the cell membrane hyper-polarization and expansion of blood vessels.
    3. Thus, oxygen becomes readily available to the hair follicles in the scalp which results in hair growth by conversion of Telogen (resting) hair into anagen (growing) hair.
    Activation of Minoxidil
  • Minoxidil also directly stimulates the hair growth through the activation of prostaglandin endoperoxide synthase-1 (PGHS-1, main isoform present in the dermal papilla cells).
  • It also produces an increase in number of dermal papilla cells by activating ß-catenin activity.
    How Topical Minoxidil Works

How does Minoxidil promote hair re-growth?

Minoxidil is best known for treatment in men and women with hair loss or thinning at the top of the scalp. It promotes hair growth by:

  • Increasing the follicular size and hair shaft diameter of hair
  • Reversing hair follicle miniaturization
    How Minoxidil Causes Hair Growth

What are the different formulations of Minoxidil?

Common customized and most commonly used formulations of minoxidil are 2% and 5%. Apart from this, 10% and 15% formulations of minoxidil, with added active ingredients are also available but no scientific data is available for these formulations. The various formulations are as follows:

  • Loniten: Oral antihypertensive drug. It is not prescribed for long term treatment of hair loss.
  • 2% Topical Solution: Commonly known as Rogaine (first liquid formulation). It is no longer recommended for men but still in use by women to reverse hair loss.
  • 5% Topical Solution (Minoxidil Solution and Minoxidil Lotion): Recommended for men, newly formulated. Higher success rate than 2% solution of minoxidil.
  • 5% Aerosol Foam (Minoxidil Foam): More advanced formulation specially introduced for men suffering from contact dermatitis due to the use of minoxidil formulations. Shows success rate of approximately 85% in men.
  • Higher than 5% Formulations: Shows significantly less hair re-growth than 5% formulations, also produces more side effects.

Minoxidil 2% helps to stop hair loss and promotes hair re-growth in 30% of men, whereas 5% solution of minoxidil gives the success rate of approximately 65%.

What are the differences between formulations of Minoxidil?

  • The main difference between the various types of minoxidil formulation (2%, 5%, 10% & 15%) is the type and the volume of the solvent being used.
  • Generally, 5% formulation is considered as a standard formulation.
  • Higher concentrations include high amount of glycerin along with propylene glycol. They both act as humectants (preserves moisture) which make the product viscous, sticky and it takes more time to dry.
Brand name Company Name Formulation Composition M.R.P(Range b/w)
Rogaine Rogaine Sol. 5% & Foam 5% Minoxidil 5% ,Alcohol, 30% v/v, propylene glycol, 50% v/v $40.39 – $606.84
MINTOP Dr. Reddy’s Lab Sol. 2% & Lotion 2% Minoxidil 2% = 20 mg Rs.256
MINTOP Dr. Reddy’s Lab Sol. 10% & Foam 10% Minoxidil 10% = 100mg Rs760- Rs.886
TUGAIN Cipla Sol. 5% , Foam 5% & Gel 5% Minoxidil + Abs. Alcohol
5% + 30%
Rs.598.50 – Rs. 805
TUGAIN Cipla Sol. 10% Foam 10% Minoxidil + Abs. Alcohol
10% + 40%- 50.63%
Rs. 841- Rs. 917.50
Amexidil-5 Sun Pharmaceutical Sol. 5% Aminexil (1.5% w/v) + Minoxidil Topical (5% w/v) Rs. 510
Regaine Jannsen Pharmaceutical Sol. 2% , 5% Minoxidil 2% +Propylene glycol 208 mg/ml &
Minoxidil 5%,
Rs. 357 – Rs. 735
Disclaimer: The above indicated prices are not fixed. They may vary with respect to time.

Drug Interactions

Minoxidil is a relatively safe drug but you must tell you doctor all the drugs (and also herbal supplements, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol) which you are using as it may lead to some of the interactions as shown below.:

Drug Interactions of minoxidil
  • Amifostine: Using minoxidil within 24 hours of receiving amifostine could lower your blood pressure to unsafe levels.
  • Guanethidine: It may cause profound orthostatic hypotensive effects (It is a form of low blood pressure that happens when you stand up from sitting or lying down. Orthostatic hypotension can make you feel dizzy or lightheaded, and maybe even faint).
  • Rituximab: It may increases the hypotensive effect of minoxidil.
  • Tretinoin: The risk or severity of adverse effects can be increased when Minoxidil is combined with Tretinoin.
  • Others: May induce profound hypotensive state.

Contraindications

  • Hypersensitivity to minoxidil or any other ingredient in the formulation
  • Other topical medications

Medical uses of Minoxidil:

Men and women have different patterns of baldness. For women, 2% minoxidil is effective while for men, 5% minoxidil is recommended.

  • Women: Minoxidil 2% is the only drug which is FDA-approved to treat female pattern baldness. Doctors refer to the Ludwig classification for the description of female pattern of hair baldness. In women, it is used to treat hair loss due to:
    1. Androgenic alopecia
    2. Post menopause
    3. Hereditary hair loss aged 18-65 years
  • Men: Minoxidil 5% is FDA-approved for men with male pattern hair loss.
    1. Androgenic alopecia
    2. Hereditary hair loss
  • Other uses: Minoxidil 5% is FDA-approved for men with male pattern hair loss.
    1. Hair transplant
    2. Chemotherapy induced alopecia
    3. Alopecia Areata
    4. Alopecia Areata Incognita
    5. Scarring alopecia
    6. Hereditary Hypotrichosis
    7. Monilethrix
    8. Retards the ageing of human keratinocytes

How to use Minoxidil?

Minoxidil is applied to the scalp to stimulate the hair growth. The patient should follow the necessary instructions before the application of minoxidil.

Liquid/ Lotion:

How to apply Minoxidil Lotion

Foam:

How to apply Minoxidil Foam

If you are using spray, spray evenly on the bald area. Make sure that the hair are dry before application of the medicine.

Recommended Dosage of Minoxidil for Hair loss:

  • Men:
    1. 1ml of 2% or 5% solution to affected area, twice daily
    2. Half capful of 5% foam to affected area, twice daily
  • Men: Minoxidil 5% is FDA-approved for men with male pattern hair loss.
    1. 1ml of 2% solution to affected area, twice daily.
  • If a dose is missed:
    1. Skip the dose missed and use only the prescribed next dose. Do not use a double dose to make up for the missed doses.

Possible Side effects of Minoxidil

The most common side effects of minoxidil are:

  • Minoxidil induced hair fall or Telogen Effluvium: Sometimes, when the hair start getting stimulated from the telogen to the anagen phase, they fall off. This is a positive sign and the patient should not stop the medication for the fear of hair fall.
  • Contact Dermatitis
  • Scaling
  • Exacerbation of Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Skin irritation or itching
  • Yellowish discoloration of hair
  • Tachycardia or irregular heartbeats (Rare)

Precautions:

  • Before Using;
    1. Non-hereditary Factors: Hormonal factors like Thyroid can also lead to hair fall. Overactive or underactive thyroid gland may cause hair to fall out. So, you must take the treatment of that from your doctor.
    2. Scalp Disorders: If you are suffering from skin disorders like scalp psoriasis, avoid using minoxidil. Scalp psoriasis can cause dry and itchy scalp along with inflammation.
    3. Shaved scalp: If you have recently shaved your scalp, avoid using minoxidil immediately. This may lead to redness or itchy scalp.
    4. Wound: If you have any open wound or cut on the scalp, avoid using minoxidil. It can cause burning sensation on the skin.
  • While Using:
    1. Do not apply on the other parts of the body.
    2. Avoid contact with the eyes.
  • After Using:
    1. Wash your hands properly.
    2. Do not apply more than the recommended dosage.
    3. Do not use any hair color after the application.
    4. Avoid going to bed immediately after the application. Use at least before 1 hour.
    5. Do not use hair dryers or do not perm your hair after the application.
    6. Avoid direct contact to sun rays.

Duration and Results of the treatment:

Duration
As hair won’t re-grow overnight, procedure will take time. It can take up to 4-6 months while in some cases; it can take more than 8-9 months. It varies from patient to patient.
Regrowth
Re-growing hair and taking care of them is just like the same as we take care of our other body parts. The more you stick to the instructed routine, better the Minoxidil results will be.
Caution
  • If pregnant or breast-feeding, ask a health professional before use. Keep out of reach of children.
  • If swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.
  • Do not use on children or babies.

 

Physiology Pharmacology
White to off-white, odorless, crystalline solid Peripheral vasodilator
Soluble in water to the extent of approximately 2 mg/mL 90% absorbed from the GI tract
Insoluble in acetone, chloroform or ethyl acetate Average plasma half-life in man is 4.2 hours.
Inactive ingredients include colloidal silicon dioxide, corn starch, lactose anhydrous, magnesium stearate and microcrystalline cellulose. Minoxidil does not bind to plasma proteins and does not cross the blood brain barrier

Chemically, Minoxidil is 6-(Piperidin-1-yl) pyrimidine-2, 4-diamine 3-oxide used as hair growth stimulator. In US pharmacopeia, Minoxidil is used officially under the labeled amount i.e. not less than 90% and not more than 110%.

For its determination in pharmaceutical formulations and biological samples, different methods have been proposed. Following techniques are used for the determination of dosage forms and quantitative analysis of the minoxidil with the added benefits of cost savings.

  • HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography) with UV detection
  • Electrochemical detection
  • Gas chromatography (GC)
  • Radioimmunoassay (RIA)

Many scientific research or clinical studies have been conducted on minoxidil and various physical or chemical data have been collected which is as follows:

Clinical Data:

  • Common Trade name: Rogaine
  • Pregnancy category: C
  • Routes of Administration: Oral/ Topical
  • ATC code:C02DC01 & D11AX01

Legal Status:

  • UK:P (Pharmacy medicines) (for topical use, otherwise POM. Cannot be prescribed on the NHS)
  • US:OTC Rx only for by mouth form

Pharmacokinetic Data:

  • Metabolism:Primarily hepatic
  • Biological half life: 4.2 h
  • Excretion:Renal

Clinical & Physical Data:

  • Formula: C9H15N5O
  • Melting point:Melting point: 248 °C (478 °F)
  • Molar Mass: 209.251 g/mol
  • Solubility in water: <1 mg/mL(20 °C)

*POM= Prescription only medicine, OTC= Over the counter, ATC= Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification system

 

Physiology Pharmacology
White to off-white, odorless, crystalline solid Peripheral vasodilator
Soluble in water to the extent of approximately 2 mg/mL 90% absorbed from the GI tract
Insoluble in acetone, chloroform or ethyl acetate Average plasma half-life in man is 4.2 hours.
Inactive ingredients include colloidal silicon dioxide, corn starch, lactose anhydrous, magnesium stearate and microcrystalline cellulose. Minoxidil does not bind to plasma proteins and does not cross the blood brain barrier

Chemically, Minoxidil is 6-(Piperidin-1-yl) pyrimidine-2, 4-diamine 3-oxide used as hair growth stimulator. In US pharmacopeia, Minoxidil is used officially under the labeled amount i.e. not less than 90% and not more than 110%.

For its determination in pharmaceutical formulations and biological samples, different methods have been proposed. Following techniques are used for the determination of dosage forms and quantitative analysis of the minoxidil with the added benefits of cost savings.

  • HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography) with UV detection
  • Electrochemical detection
  • Gas chromatography (GC)
  • Radioimmunoassay (RIA)

Many scientific research or clinical studies have been conducted on minoxidil and various physical or chemical data have been collected which is as follows:

Clinical Data:

  • Common Trade name: Rogaine
  • Pregnancy category: C
  • Routes of Administration: Oral/ Topical
  • ATC code:C02DC01 & D11AX01

Legal Status:

  • UK:P (Pharmacy medicines) (for topical use, otherwise POM. Cannot be prescribed on the NHS)
  • US:OTC Rx only for by mouth form

Pharmacokinetic Data:

  • Metabolism:Primarily hepatic
  • Biological half life: 4.2 h
  • Excretion:Renal

Clinical & Physical Data:

  • Formula: C9H15N5O
  • Melting point:Melting point: 248 °C (478 °F)
  • Molar Mass: 209.251 g/mol
  • Solubility in water: <1 mg/mL(20 °C)

*POM= Prescription only medicine, OTC= Over the counter, ATC= Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification system

Quick Facts

  • Did you know that approximately 35 million men and 21 million women suffer from hair loss?
  • A year- long test of the minoxidil (Rogaine) on 1833 men had actually convinced doctors regarding Rogaine’s safety and in some cases patients administered with the drug actually grew hair.

Frequently Asked Questions about Minoxidil

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, are advised to stop using minoxidil. Minoxidil can get absorbed into the skin and can cause birth defects. When women are pregnant, there is an increase in the hormone levels which makes hair look thicker. After the delivery, shedding of hair known as post partum hair loss usually occurs. Once you have finished breastfeeding, you can use minoxidil.
No, it won’t work faster. Hair will grow according to the hair growth cycle. Always use the recommended dosage of minoxidil as frequent application of it can cause side effects.
No. it is not necessary to wash your hair before the application. Make sure your hair are completely dry because there are chances that minoxidil gets evaporated or diluted on the wet hair.
Yes, you can continue but be careful while using products. Choose mild or gentle shampoo or conditioner. Do not use hair styling tools like dryers, straighteners or curlers after the application of minoxidil.
If the treatment is stopped, you will not lose your hair that grew but they can revert to their previous pattern of hair loss. So consult doctor before you stop using minoxidil.
Taking a break of one week will cause no problem. It becomes crucial after one month.
After stopping minoxidil application, you can face hair fall again after one month. It may vary from patient to patient. So consult with your doctor before stopping minoxidil.

About Author & Bibliography

Bibliography

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17. Drug Facts [Internet]. FDA. 2017 [cited 10 August 2017]. Available from: https://www.fda.gov/downloads/drugs/guidancecomplianceregulatoryinformation/guidances/ucm078877.pd

18. Post Hair Transplant usage of Minoxidil Increases Hair Growth [Internet]. Hair Loss Resources, Articles, Products & Forums. 2017 [cited 10 August 2017]. Available from: http://hairloss.org/hair-loss-products/minoxidil-treatment-for-post-hair-transplant/

19. Minoxidil [Internet]. Regaine UK HCP. 2017 [cited 10 August 2017]. Available from: https://www.regaineprofessional.co.uk/minoxidil

20. TUGAIN Foam [Internet]. CiplaMed. 2017 [cited 10 August 2017]. Available from: https://ciplamed.com/content/tugain-foam

NOTE: This content of this post is written by the experienced dermotologist based on formal medical studies. It is reliable and scientifically verified and reviewed and edited by concerned doctors and health professionals to provide objective information on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. If you are a doctor or health scientist and find inaccuracies, errors or omissions, please contact us at info@akclinics.com

About Author: This post is written by Dr. Aman Dua, MBBS, MD, FISHRS having 14 year of experience in the fields of Dermatology and Hair Transplant. She is the Chief Dermatologist, Co-Founder & Managing Director At AK Clinics.

Reviewed by: This post is reviewed by Dr Kapil Dua, MBBS, MS, Dipl. American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery (ABHRS), Member, FUE Advancement Committee, ISHRS, USA to improve readability and authority of the written content.


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If you’re looking for a topical treatment of hair-loss.It is likely that your doctor may suggest you to go for Minoxidil. Minoxidil is the first drug approved by FDA (Food & Drug Administration) for hair loss treatment. Before that, the medicine was used to treat high blood pressure. In a chance happening, a person applied some liquid Minoxidil on his skin. Later on, it was noticed that the area which came into contact with Minoxidil had much more hair density than before. The rest, as they say, is history. Minoxidil is a very popular treatment for hair loss, which can be used both by men & women. The medicine is readily available and is relatively pocket friendly. It should be applied directly onto the scalp, starting from center to outward area by taking approximately 1 ml of Minoxidil. The solution should not be used more than twice a day.

Q. Does a higher percentage of Minoxidil meanbetter results?

A.The drug is available in two forms i.e. oral and topical. Oral Minoxidil treats high blood pressure while topical Minoxidil treats hair loss and baldness. Minoxidil promotes the survival of human dermal papillary cells (DPCs) by extending the anagen phase of hair cycle. The hair follicles which reach the maturity then become thick and dark. It is a Potassium Channel Opener, which has vasodilating effect on the hair follicles. Thus, leading to stimulation of cell proliferation, inhibition of collagen synthesis, prostaglandin synthesis &stimulation of vascular endothelial growth factor.

The topical solution of Minoxidil is available in variants such as 2%, 5%, 8%, 10%, and 12.5%. Minoxidil 10% doesn’t have any advantage over 5%. Also, the 10% and 12.5% variants are yet to get certification from FDA. Minoxidil 2% is generally suggested to women suffering from alopecia, while 5% solution is prescribed to men. Topical Minoxidil is relatively effective at curing baldness that permeates in the top, or crown area of the head. Studies have shown that results of Minoxidil can’t be predicted as for some it may work while for others it may not. It is thus that you should discuss what results you might expect from Minoxidil with your doctor. If Minoxidil is effective for you, then you might notice some amount of hair growth whichis likely to turn into thick hair with prolonged treatment.

Q Are there any side effects of the medicine?

A.As far as the side-effects of Minoxidil are concerned, the alcohol present in it may dry out the scalp, resulting in itchiness & irritation. But this issue subsides after using the medication continuously for a period of two to three weeks. If the symptoms linger on, then one should consult his doctor again. There are also some extremely rare sides-effects associated with the medicines such as headache, lightheadedness, problem with vision, and rapid weight gain. At AK Clinics a clinical study was conducted on a group of men who were suffering from baldness on the crown area of the head. It was reported that virtually 52% of men who used the medicine for a minimum of a year received moderate to dense hair growth, 34% of men claimed minimal re-growth of hair and the rest 14% reported no hair re-growth. The data was quite similar in the study that was conducted on women.

Q. Is it true that Minoxidil induced hair growth disappears after you stop taking the medicine?

A.It is always better to continue using Minoxidil to keep your hair intact and to prevent hair loss. It is likely that you may lose the hair that has grown back if you stop using Minoxidil. This phenomenon usually occurs about three or four months after stopping the medication. It is to be always kept in mind that the results of Minoxidil may vary from person to person. But if it is effective in your case, then it can work wonders for you. And maintaining hair on your scalp at the cost of applying one lotion daily is surely not a big price to pay!!!! So, it is really important that one should use minoxidil in combination with AK Clinics’ Cyclical therapy for the best results. For more information or online consultation, write to info@akclinics.com.


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