Minoxidil

Minoxidil is a topical medication that is applied to the scalp to stimulate new hair growth in those experiencing hair loss.  Minoxidil belongs to a class of drugs known as vasodilators. It is not known how minoxidil causes hair growth however it is speculated that it increases hair growth by increasing blood flow to the hair follicles in the scalp. Minoxidil can increase the density and thickness of hair.

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Minoxidil
Disclaimer: This information is only meant for educational purposes, and it not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For any specific questions or concerns, please talk to a doctor.

About

Minoxidil is a topical medication that is applied to the scalp to stimulate new hair growth in those experiencing hair loss.  Minoxidil belongs to a class of drugs known as vasodilators. It is not known how minoxidil causes hair growth however it is speculated that it increases hair growth by increasing blood flow to the hair follicles in the scalp. Minoxidil can increase the density and thickness of hair.

Advantages

Minoxidil is a topical product, meaning you do not have to take a pill. It is directly applied to the hair to encourage growth, strengthen strands, and stimulate the hair follicles.

How to Use

Read and follow all directions on the product package before using this product. If you are uncertain about any of the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Clean and dry the scalp area before applying the medication. You may apply this product to damp hair. To use the solution, fill the applicator with 1 milliliter of medication (to the 1 milliliter line), or use 20 drops. Part your hair in the area of thinning and apply the solution evenly to the affected area of the scalp. Gently rub in. Allow the solution to dry completely before using other styling products (e.g., gels, mousse) or before going to bed.

To use the foam, rinse your hands in cold water and dry well. Apply about 1/2 capful of foam to the scalp and rub in gently. Allow the foam to dry completely before styling or going to bed.

If scalp irritation is a problem, you may need to avoid using minoxidil on the same days that you have your hair colored or chemically treated (for example, permed).

Do not use it on other parts of the body unless directed by your doctor. Do not use on skin that is red, painful, irritated, scraped, cut, or infected. Wash hands thoroughly after application. Avoid getting the medication in your eyes. If this occurs, rinse your eyes with large amounts of cool water.

Do not use this medication more often, apply more of it than as directed, or apply it to an irritated or sunburned scalp. Doing so can cause the drug to be absorbed into your body and result in serious side effects. This product may contain alcohol and can be irritating and drying to the scalp. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how to use this product safely.

It takes time for hair to regrow. Most people need to use this medication regularly for 4 months to see benefit. This medication must be used continuously to maintain hair growth. If your condition does not improve or worsens after using this medication for 4 to 6 months, or if you think you may have a serious medical problem, tell your doctor.

Common Side Effects

Burning, stinging, or redness at the application site may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, contact your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Warning and Precautions

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include:

  • Rash
  • Itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
  • Severe dizziness
  • Trouble breathing

Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur:

  • Unwanted facial/body hair
  • Dizziness
  • Fast/irregular heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • Chest pain
  • Swelling of hands/feet
  • Unusual weight gain
  • Tiredness
  • Difficulty breathing especially when lying down

Do not use if

  • Pregnant or Breastfeeding
  • If you are of child bearing age and would like to become pregnant in the future 
  • Less than 18 years old

Speak to doctor or pharmacist

About whether minoxidil is right for you if one of the following applies to you:

  • Diseases of the scalp (e.g., eczema, infection, cuts)
  • Heart problems (e.g., chest pain, heart attack, heart failure)
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease

How to store

Stop taking if

This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.

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