Minoxidil (On the skin)
Used to cause hair growth in certain types of baldness.
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When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
How to Use This Medicine
- Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use. Do not use more than directed.
- Using more medicine than your doctor has prescribed will not speed up hair growth and may increase your risk of side effects.
- Follow the instructions on the medicine label if you are using this medicine without a prescription.
- Use only the brand of medicine your doctor prescribed. Other brands may not work the same way.
- It is important to carefully follow the instructions for applying this medicine. This medicine is for use on the scalp only. Do not use this medicine on other parts of your body.
- Hair growth usually occurs after this medicine has been used for several months. However, you will need to continue using this medicine to have hair growth. Hair loss will begin again within a few months after minoxidil treatment is stopped.
- Wash your hair and make sure your hair and scalp are completely dry before putting on minoxidil.
- When you are using the minoxidil foam, hold the can upside down and press the nozzle to release the foam into your fingers. The total amount of the foam you use each time should not be more than half a capful.
- Apply minoxidil to the center of the bald area and spread it in a thin layer. Use only the applicator that came with your medicine.
- Wash your hands with soap and water after putting minoxidil on your scalp.
- If you accidentally get the medicine in your eyes, nose, or mouth, wash the area thoroughly with water. If using the pump spray, be careful not to breathe in the mist.
- Do not use a hair dryer to dry your scalp after putting on minoxidil.
- If you use minoxidil at bedtime, do not lie down for at least 30 minutes after putting on the medicine.
- Do not use the foam near heat or open flame, or while smoking. Do not puncture, break, or burn the aerosol can.
If a dose is missed:
- Apply a dose as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and apply a regular dose. Do not apply extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
- Ask your pharmacist or doctor how to dispose of the medicine container and any leftover or expired medicine.
- Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using minoxidil tablets (Loniten®) for high blood pressure. Using both oral and topical minoxidil may increase the chance of side effects.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are taking high blood pressure medicine such as diltiazem (Cardizem®), metoprolol (Lopressor®), nifedipine (Procardia®), propranolol (Inderal®), or verapamil (Calan®).
- Minoxidil may not work properly if you also use cortisone drugs, petroleum jelly (Vaseline®), or tretinoin (Retin A®) on your scalp. Tell your doctor if you are using these or any other skin care products on the same area of your scalp.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Some brands of minoxidil are not recommended for use in women, especially those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you have a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, or fluid retention (edema).
- Do not give this medicine to your child unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
- Check with your doctor first before using minoxidil if you have a cut or scrape on your skin, a rash, a sunburn, or any redness, swelling, infection, irritation, or pain on your scalp. Do not use this medicine for a skin or scalp problem that has not been checked by your doctor.
- Some people who have used this medicine had changes in hair color and texture. Talk with your doctor if this is a concern for you.
- Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
- Chest pain.
- Dizziness or fainting.
- Facial hair growth.
- Fast or irregular heartbeat.
- Severe itching, burning, or redness of scalp.
- Sudden, unexplained weight gain.
- Swelling of face, hands, or feet.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Change in hair color or texture.
- Dry, flaking, or red skin.
- Increased hair loss.
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
- Last reviewed on 4/8/2016
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