Hair loss is a problem that is very common to people nowadays. A lot of treatment options are available, however, and one of the most prevalent remedies today is a vasodilator medication known as Minoxidil. Vasodilators are used to widen the blood vessels to regulate normal blood flow. This is why Minoxidil was originally developed to treat high blood pressure. It then became a treatment for preserving thinning hair after having discovered one of the side-effects of this drug which was the increased growth of fine body hairs. Now, it is being used to slow balding and stimulate hair growth.
Minoxidil is most effective on younger people usually people between 18 to 40 years of age when hair loss is recent. A topical solution with 2% Minoxidil is available under the brand name Rogaine in the United States and Canada and Regaine for Europe and Asia-Pacific. Concentration of the Minoxidil solution may vary: 5% concentration solution is designed for men and 2% for women. A foam-based formula with 5% Minoxidil concentrate was introduced in 2007 and was proven to be as effective as the liquid-based treatment. Application of Minoxidil must be used for six months in order to see the benefits.
Application and Dosage
The application of Minoxidil is crucial because using more or less of the prescribed solution may result to unwanted effects. Topical solutions must be applied two times daily (in the morning and at night) and be used exactly as directed. Minoxidil should only be applied in the scalp and not in damaged, irritated and sunburned areas.
Consultation with a doctor will be necessary before discontinuing the use of Minoxidil, as some conditions may become worse and in fact, new hair may even fall out if abruptly discontinued. A gradual decrease in dosage to wean one off the formula may be required. Also, before taking Minoxidil, the patient must inform the doctor about his or her medical history especially those with heart and kidney problems and allergies. For oral intake of Minoxidil, the doctor must also be informed about all the prescribed and non-prescribed drugs being taken or has taken for the past three weeks by the patient to verify its compatibility with Minoxidil.
Minoxidil may instigate certain adverse effects to the body, particularly in the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, dermatologic, and immunologic and nervous systems. Minoxidil may thus have different side effects depending on the user. Some of the common adverse reactions of Minoxidil include the following:
· dry cough, stabbing chest pain;
· chest pain spreading to the arm or shoulder
· breathing problems
· rapid weight gain of 5 pounds or more
· fast or pounding heartbeats
· nausea, sweating, vomiting, general ill feeling
· fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash
· hypersensitivity – easy bruising or bleeding
· changes in the color, length, or thickness of body or facial hair
· decreased hemoglobin
· swelling in your legs, ankles, or feet
· sudden numbness, weakness, headache, confusion
· problems with vision, speech, or balance
· breast pain or tenderness