1 What is Rogaine?

Brand: Rogaine, Mens Rogaine, Rogaine For Men Extra Strength, Womens Rogaine

Generic: Minoxidil

Rogaine is widely indicated to promote hair growth in persons with male pattern baldness and alopecia areata. This medicine is generally applied to the scalp to stimulate hair growth in adult men and women.

The response in slow (takes 2-6 months) and incomplete, but up to 60% subjects derive some benefits. Baldness may recur when therapy is discontinued.

The exact mechanism of increased hair growth is not known; may involve:

  • The opening of potassium channels and enhanced microcirculation around the hair follicles.
  • Direct stimulation of resting hair follicles.
  • Alteration of androgen effect on genetically programmed hair follicles.

This drug is available in the market as an over-the-counter medicine. This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Foam
  • Solution

2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Rogaine, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. The suitable drug therapy is usually chosen by a doctor with the active participation of the patient.

There are some important factors such as drug interactions, the presence of any metabolic impairment, history of hypersensitivity reaction, pregnancy, lactation etc. which may alter the desired therapeutic effects of a medicine.

Sometimes the presence of other health disorders affects the beneficial effects of this medicine and even may cause serious toxic effects. If you have had any allergic reactions to any medicine then you must tell your doctor about that.

The use of minoxidil is contraindicated in patients with a history of hypersensitive to this medicine or any of the other ingredients in the formulation such as propylene glycol or ethanol.

Make sure you inform your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Any other skin problems, an irritation, or a sunburn on the scalp—these conditions may cause too much topical minoxidil to be absorbed into the body and may increase the chance of side effects.
  • Heart disease 
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)—topical minoxidil has not been studied in patients who have these conditions, but more serious problems may develop for these patients if they use more medicine than is recommended over a large area and too much minoxidil is absorbed into the body.

Because of drug-drug interactions, certain medicines should not be used along with this medicine. It is always recommended to consult with your doctor if you are in need of some other medications or even any over-the-counter medicine for another health problem in order to avoid unwanted toxic effects.

Besides, the following drug interactions should be kept in mind:

  • Absorption may be increased with corticosteroids, retinoid, and/or occlusive ointment bases.
  • Antihypertensive effect may be enhanced by other hypotensive drugs.
  • Severe orthostatic hypotension may occur with guanethidine.

Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect, and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Thus, this drug should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.

Besides, caution should be exercised when used in lactating women because studies in women for determining infant risk suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.

3 Proper Usage

To use Rogaine properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. The dosage schedule and the duration of drug therapy should be individualized and determined based on the physician’s advice.

The therapeutic dose may also vary with the patient’s condition or requirement and the strength of the medicine as well. This medicine comes with patient information.

You should read and follow the instructions carefully before using this medicine; however, different preparations and dosages for hair growth are listed below:

For topical solution dosage form:

  • Adults— 1 ml should be applied to the scalp twice daily for 4 months or more before evidence of hair growth can be expected.
  • Children— use and dose must be determined by the doctor.

For topical foam dosage form:

  • Adults— should apply half a capful to the scalp two times a day.
  • Children— use and dose must be determined by your doctor .

To apply minoxidil topical solution, follow these guidelines:

  • Hair and scalp should be thoroughly dry prior to topical application of minoxidil.
  • A dose of 1 ml solution should be applied twice daily to the total affected areas of the scalp, beginning in the center of the area. The total dosage should not exceed 2 ml.
  • Allow the minoxidil to completely dry for 2 to 4 hours after applying it, including before going to bed.
  • You should not use a hairdryer to dry the scalp after you apply minoxidil solution.
  • You should not shampoo your hair for 4 hours after applying for this medicine.
  • Immediately after using this medicine, wash your hands to remove any medicine that may be on them.

To apply minoxidil topical foam, follow these guidelines:

  • Open the container by matching the arrow on the can and then, pull off the cap.
  • Part the hair into one or more rows to expose the hair thinning area on the scalp.
  • Hold the can upside down and press the nozzle to put foam on your fingers.
  • Use your fingers to spread the foam over the hair loss area and gently massage into your scalp.
  • Immediately after using this medicine, wash your hands to remove any medicine that may be on them.

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. But, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use this drug in larger amounts, more often, or for a longer time than your doctor ordered.

Further, it is advised to store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature away from heat, moisture, and direct light. All kinds of medicines should be kept out of the reach of children. However, outdated medicines should be disposed of by an appropriate way.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Rogaine, there are some precautions you must take. Firstly, regular visits to your doctor are recommended to check that this medicine is working properly or not.

Additionally, the following guidelines should be followed to prevent unwanted complications as well as for the better prognosis of the patients:

  • Before using minoxidil, the user should determine that the scalp is normal and healthy.
  • Patients with known cardiovascular disease or cardiac arrhythmia should contact a physician before using this medicine.
  • This medicine contains alcohol which may cause burning and irritation of the eyes.
  • In the event of accidental contact with sensitive surfaces (eyes, abraded the skin and mucous membranes), the area should be bathed with a large amount of cool tap water.
  • Inform your doctor if you notice continued itching, redness, or burning of your scalp after you apply minoxidil. If the itching, redness, or burning is severe, wash the medicine off and check with your doctor before using it again.
  • Hair loss may continue for 2 weeks after you start using minoxidil. Check with your doctor if your hair loss continues after 2 weeks and/or your hair growth does not increase after using minoxidil for 4 months.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Rogaine. These side effects usually go away during the treatment episode as your body adjusts to the medicine.

Your healthcare professional may advise you about the ways how to prevent or reduce those unwanted side effects.

Sometimes you may need to consult with the doctor if you notice any of the following toxic effects:

  • Hypertrichosis (unwanted non-scalp hair growth)
  • Local erythema
  • Itching
  • Dry skin/scalp flaking
  • Exacerbation of hair loss

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.