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Minoxidil (Topical)

Generic name: minoxidil topical

Brand names: Rogaine, Ronoxidil, Rogaine Extra Strength, Rogaine Women's, Rogaine Men's Extra Strength, Hair Regrowth Treatment for Women, Hair Regrowth Treatment for Men

Dosage Forms

Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling.

Foam, External:

Rogaine Mens: 5% (60 g) [contains cetyl alcohol]

Rogaine Mens Extra Strength: 5% (60 mL) [contains cetyl alcohol]

Rogaine Womens: 5% (60 g) [contains cetyl alcohol]

Solution, External:

Hair Regrowth Treatment Men: 5% (60 mL) [contains alcohol, usp, propylene glycol]

Minoxidil for Men: 2% (60 mL); 5% (60 mL, 120 mL)

Rogaine: 2% (60 mL) [contains alcohol, usp, propylene glycol]

Rogaine Extra Strength for Men: 5% (60 mL) [contains alcohol, usp, propylene glycol]

Generic: 2% (60 mL); 5% (60 mL)


Mechanism of Action

Stimulation of hair growth is secondary to vasodilation, increased cutaneous blood flow, and stimulation of resting hair follicles.

Use: Labeled Indications

Alopecia: Treatment of alopecia androgenetica of the scalp


OTC labeling: When used for self-medication, do not use if your degree of hair loss is different than that shown on the product labeling; if you have no family history of hair loss; if your hair loss is sudden and/or patchy; if your hair loss is associated with childbirth; if you do not know the reason for your hair loss; in pediatric patients <18 years; if your scalp is red, inflamed, infected, irritated, or painful; or you use other medicines on the scalp. Do not use products on women that are labeled for use on men.

Dosage and Administration

Dosing: Adult

Alopecia: Topical: Note: Continuous therapy for 4 months may be necessary for hair growth.


Foam, aerosol 5%: Apply 1/2 capful once daily

Solution 2%: Apply 1 mL twice daily


Foam, aerosol 5%: Apply 1/2 capful twice daily

Solution 2% or 5%: Apply 1 mL twice daily


Topical: For topical administration on the scalp only; do not use on other parts of the body. Apply directly to the hair- thinning areas of scalp; massage into scalp with fingers; wash hands after application. Refer to manufacturer’s labeling for additional administration instructions.

Foam: May melt upon contact with warm fingers; rinse fingers in cold water and thoroughly dry prior to use


Foam: Store at 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F). Do not puncture or incinerate container. Do not expose to heat or store at temperatures >49°C (120°F).

Solution: Store at 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F).

Drug Interactions

CycloSPORINE (Systemic): May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Minoxidil (Topical). Specifically, hypertrichosis risk may be increased. Monitor therapy

Adverse Reactions

Dermatologic: Local erythema (6%), pruritus (6%)


Concerns related to adverse effects:

  • Hair color changes: Changes in hair color and/or texture may occur.

Disease-related concerns:

  • Heart disease: Due to potential systemic absorption with subsequent fluid/electrolyte changes, a careful risk to benefit assessment should be performed in patients with heart disease before the use of topical minoxidil.

Dosage form specific issues:

  • Flammable: Formulations are flammable; avoid fire, flame, or smoking immediately following application.

Other warnings/precautions:

  • Appropriate use: For topical use only on the scalp; do not apply to other parts of the body. Avoid contact with eyes, mouth, nose, or other mucous membranes. Not intended for frontal baldness or receding hairline Continued use is necessary to increase and maintain hair regrowth.
  • Self-medication (OTC use): When used for self-medication (OTC), discontinue use and contact your contact health care provider if chest pain, rapid heartbeat, faintness, or dizziness occurs; weight gain (sudden, unexplained) occurs; swelling of the hands or feet occurs; scalp irritation or redness occurs; unwanted facial hair growth occurs; if you do not see hair regrowth 4 to 6 months (product dependent).


Pregnancy Considerations

Adverse events have been observed in some animal reproduction studies following oral administration.

Patient Education

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to treat hair loss.

Frequently reported side effects of this drug

  • Change in hair texture
  • Hair discoloration

Other side effects of this drug: Talk with your doctor right away if you have any of these signs of:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Passing out
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Excessive weight gain
  • Swelling of arms or legs
  • Scalp irritation
  • Signs of a significant reaction like wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Talk to your doctor if you have questions.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Source: Wolters Kluwer Health. Last updated October 3, 2019.