Minoxidil is a drug, which was originally used as a vasodilator for treatment of patients with hypertension or high blood pressure. It was found that the drug Minoxidil caused increased hair growth in these patients and it also helped to reverse baldness in some cases. The drug Minoxidil is now used in the treatment of hair loss and also for promoting hair growth for treating baldness.
1. Background of Minoxidil
Minoxidil is a drug, which was originally used as a vasodilator for treatment of patients with hypertension or high blood pressure. This drug was used under the name Loniten. The drug Minoxidil produced an interesting and surprising side effect in the patients who were using this drug as a part of hypertension treatment. It was found that the drug Minoxidil caused increased hair growth in these patients and it also helped to reverse baldness in some cases. This interesting discovering led to further research studies, which proved the capability of the drug as a hair growth stimulator. The drug Minoxidil is now used in the treatment of hair loss and also for promoting hair growth for treating baldness.
2. Applications forms
The drug Minoxidil is now available in two forms. It can be used for treating two different conditions. One is the oral form of the drug, which is usually prescribed for treatment of high blood pressure. Another form of the drug is a topical solution called Rogaine, containing 2% Minoxidil which is used for the treatment of hair loss and baldness. The topical solution form of the drug Minoxidil was developed by UpJohn Corporation in the year 1980 and Minoxidil is the first drug to get the approval of the FDA, for the treatment of hair loss .The drug Minoxidil is now used as a specific treatment for Androgenetic alopecia. Different generic forms of this drug have now been developed for hair loss treatment.
3. Mode of action
The mechanism of action of the drug Minoxidil as a hair growth stimulator is not known. But it was found that that drug has the ability to promote hair growth in the areas of the scalp where the hair growth is not present. In other words, it can stimulate hair growth even in bald persons. The drug Minoxidil gained immense popularity in the field of cosmetology .A head full of beautiful hair is every persons dream and definitely the most longing wish of a bald person. It helps the person to regain his self-confidence and gives a new lease of life.
4. Hair loss treatment with Minoxidil
As stated earlier, for the treatment of hair loss, a topical solution of the drug Minoxidil is used. A 2-5% Minoxidil in propylene glycol solution is used for the treatment. Propylene glycol helps in the spreading of the drug Minoxidil in the affected area and it also helps to promote the absorption of the drug by the skin. About I milliliter of the topical solution is applied on the affected area of the scalp either manually using finger tips or by using a pump spray. The solution should be applied in such a way that it spreads evenly all over the affected area which is to be treated.
5. Application of the drug and after care
Before treatment with Minoxidil, the scalp should be properly cleaned and dried. The topical solution of the drug should be applied only on the affected areas. Any area of the body which accidentally comes in to contact with the drug say for example your hand should be immediately washed after application to prevent growth of hair. After application of the drug on the affected the area, the area should be allowed to air dry for at least two to four hours. The patient should not wear any type of clothing such as, a hat on to your head during this period. The patient should not go to bed too as the Minoxidil solution may cause stains on the bed clothing and linen. The Minoxidil solution should be allowed to dry naturally and you should not use any alternative methods to speed up the drying process such as the use of a blow dryer because it may interfere with the absorption and mechanism of action of the drug. The patient should not wash or rinse the hair with any soap or shampoo for at least 5 hours after the treatment.
6. Regrowth of hair
The drug Minoxidil was found to be very effective in patients with crown baldness that is baldness on the top of their head. It cannot be pronounced that Minoxidil will be definitely effective in all the patients who receive the treatment. The effectiveness of the drug may differ in the patients and the exact reason for this is not known. Many research studies and clinical tests were carried out using this drug and it was found that the drug was effective in nearly 48 % of the patients with crown baldness. These patients reported moderate to dense re-growth of hair in the affected areas. About Thirty six percent of the patients reported minimal re-growth while the drug was found to be ineffective in sixteen percent of the patients who reported no re-growth of hair.
The re-growth of hair in the patients is a slow process and it does not occur immediately after treatment with Minoxidil solution. The patient should use the drug regularly for at least six months to get the desired effects. The first sign of hair re-growth can be observed only after 90 days of treatment with Minoxidil solution. The newly grown hair may be very soft and barely visible in the initial stages. As the treatment proceeds this hair develops in to hair of similar color and texture as seen in the other areas of the head of the patient. The patient can also observe that the loss of hair has been considerably reduced after starting the treatment with Minoxidil.
Minoxidil can be used only as a treatment for hair loss and it cannot be used as a complete cure for alopecia. The re-growth of hair can be observed only as long as the patient takes the treatment with the Minoxidil drug. If the patient discontinues the treatment, he may lose the re-grown hair and there will not be any further hair growth in the affected area.
7. Precautions to be taken while using the treatment
This treatment should not be taken by persons who are prone to allergic reactions or those who are hypersensitive to drugs like Minoxidil. Propylene glycol is a non-active element of the drug Rogaine (brand name of Minoxidil topical solution). But some persons may be allergic to this solution and they cannot use this drug. The topical solution of Minoxidil cannot be used by persons who exhibit allergic reactions to dyes and preservatives because they may be at a risk of developing allergy to the drug Minoxidil too.
The treatment with Minoxidil solution cannot be taken simultaneously with any other medications such as use of corticosteroids, petroleum jelly and retinone on the scalp or hair. People using such medications should consult with their doctor before using the Minoxidil treatment. Use of corticosteroids can cause increased absorption of the Minoxidil in to the body, which may cause certain undesirable side effects. Minoxidil treatment cannot be used by patients who are prone to skin irritations and other skin problems of the scalp. Such persons may be at the risk of increased side effects of Minoxidil.
8. Side effects of Minoxidil treatment
Use of Minoxidil treatment for hair loss can cause some unwanted side effects in some patients. Some patients may be allergic to the drug m Minoxidil itself while some other may be allergic to the non-active principle propylene glycol. The most common side effect observed in the patients was itchiness of the scalp after treatment with the drug Minoxidil. Other common side effects noticed in the patients were acne on the area where the drug is used, hypertricosis, flushing of the skin, light headedness, tingling sensation in the hands and feet, irregular heart beat, hives and swelling on the lower legs and feet. Some persons may also experience rapid weight gain and loss of sexual desire after the use of the treatment. Most of these side effects are seen only in patients where there is excessive absorption of the drug Minoxidil.
Minoxidil is an effective drug, which is predominantly used as a hair growth stimulant, though the oral form of the drug is still used as a vasodilator. Rogaine or the topical Minoxidil solution promotes hair growth on the bald spot on the top and back of the head in men. Rogaine was found to be very effective in older patients who have larger areas of baldness. In the case of women, it can be used to treat thinning of hair on the scalp and also on the forehead areas. However the drug Minoxidil should be used continuously to maintain the re-growth of hair. Discontinuation of the treatment can reverse the condition and the patient may lose the hair again. The drug Minoxidil should be used with caution as it may cause severe side effects when used excessively. Patients using any other treatment for hypertension and skin disorders should consult with their doctor before starting the Minoxidil treatment