Minoxidil Side Effects: Exploring the Hidden Risks

Shilpi Jain
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Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
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Minoxidil Side Effects

Minoxidil is a medication used to treat hair loss and promote growth.

It is an FDA- approved medication for Androgenetic Alopecia and Female Pattern Hair loss.  

According to ISHRS, Minoxidil has been seen as effective in more than 60% of patients. 

While it is generally safe, it can have side effects like all medications. 

Minoxidil’s most common side effects include scalp irritation, itching, and dryness.

You should be aware of the potential side effects of the medication before starting treatment.

Read along to learn about Minoxidil side effects and how to avoid them. 

Common side effects of Minoxidil

Doctors mainly prescribe the topical solution of Minoxidil as a treatment for hair loss.

The common side effects of Minoxidil include, 

  • Scalp irritation: Some people may experience itching, dryness, or flaking of the scalp.
  • Burning sensation: The hair loss medication may cause a slight burning sensation on the application site.
  • Edema: Minoxidil can cause swelling in the hands, feet, and face.
  • Minoxidil Headaches: Some people may experience headaches while using Minoxidil.

It is generally a safe medication, rarely showing side effects. 

The side effects may also result from other ingredients used in the topical solutions. 

Rare side effects

In some cases, in around 0.1% of cases, Minoxidil may show some less common side effects. 

These side effects are often mild and might clear up within a few days. 

  • Dizziness: Minoxidil can lower blood pressure, which can cause dizziness in some people.
  • Severe allergic reactions: Some people may experience an allergic reaction to Minoxidil, which can cause hives and swelling of the face, throat, lips, or tongue.
  • Dyspnea: Intense tightening of the chest, pain, and shortness of breath can be caused, which may be a symptom of an underlying heart issue.
  • Blurred vision or other vision changes: Minoxidil can rarely cause vision changes or blurred vision.
  • Unwanted hair growth: Minoxidil can cause hair growth in areas where it was not intended, such as the forehead, cheeks, and arms. This side effect is more common in women than in men. 
  • Minoxidil Weight gain: Some people may experience rapid weight gain while using Minoxidil.

Rare Minoxidil side effects have been reported in very few cases. These side effects are mostly mild. 

If you are experiencing persistent effects, you should always consult your physician. 

What happens when you use Minoxidil longer than required

Minoxidil for longer than required can increase the risk of side effects and may not provide any additional benefit.

After the recommended treatment period, it may also lead to Minoxidil dependence.  

This means that the hair growth achieved through Minoxidil use may be lost once the medication is discontinued.

Using too much Minoxidil or applying it more frequently than recommended may increase the risk of unwanted side effects, which include,

  • Blurred vision
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Flushing
  • Numbness in hands and feet
  • Weight gain (rapid)

It is important to speak with your doctor if you have concerns about Minoxidil use duration.

Oral Minoxidil side effects

Showing hair lossSource: Africa_Images
Showing hair loss

Doctors often prescribe Minoxidil in the form of oral tablets to treat excessive hair loss. 

The oral tablets of Minoxidil are not FDA-approved but are available for off-label use on a prescription basis. 

It has also shown effectiveness in patients for whom topical Minoxidil did not work. 

But, it may show side effects similar to the topical formulation. 

Oral Minoxidil side effects include,

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Weight gain of more than 5 pounds
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bloating
  • Redness of skin
  • Swelling of feet or lower legs
  • Numbness or tingling of hands, feet, or face
  • Skin rash and itching

Some side effects may occur that do not need medical assistance. 

These side effects may disappear during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. 

Your physician may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce these side effects.

Oral Minoxidil for Hypertension:
Oral minoxidil is sometimes used to treat Hypertension or high blood pressure. However, it is typically not a first-line treatment and is usually only prescribed if other medications have been ineffective.

Can Minoxidil cause Hair loss

Some people can experience hair shedding or hair loss when they first start using the medication. 

This phenomenon is known as Minoxidil-induced hair shedding.

It is a common occurrence in the first few months of treatment.

Minoxidil causes hair follicles to shift from a resting phase to a growth phase.

It can temporarily increase the amount of hair that is shed.

This shedding is generally considered a sign that the medication works.

If hair loss persists after a few months of therapy, visit an expert to rule out other causes.

Are the side effects different for men and women

Minoxidil can have similar side effects in both men and women.

But there are differences in the type and frequency of side effects more commonly seen in each gender.

Minoxidil’s most common side effect in men is unwanted hair growth on the face and body and scalp irritation. 

In very rare cases, men may experience Erectile Dysfunction or a decrease in libido.

Minoxidil’s most common side effect in women is scalp irritation or itching. 

Women may also experience unwanted hair growth on the face, arms, and legs and changes in their menstrual cycle. 

Warning
Pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult a healthcare professional before using Minoxidil. Minoxidil in pregnant and breastfeeding women can cause serious side effects.

Does Minoxidil cause Erectile Dysfunction

There have been some reports of Erectile dysfunction associated with topical Minoxidil, but the scientific evidence is limited. 

Erectile dysfunction is more commonly associated with the oral form used to treat high blood pressure.

Minoxidil can cause a decrease in blood pressure.

This may contribute to the development of ED in some men. 

If you are experiencing ED while using Minoxidil, speak with a healthcare professional. 

Minoxidil side effects after stopping

Closeup of applying hair care solutionSource: skynesher_from_Getty_Images
Using hair product

There is no evidence to suggest that minoxidil use causes long-term side effects after discontinued treatment. 

However, people may experience increased hair loss or shedding when they stop using the medication.

Minoxidil extends the Anagen (growth) phase of the hair cycle. 

After stopping the medicine, the hair follicles may revert to their natural growth cycle.

It can result in hair loss or shedding

This shedding is generally temporary and will resolve on its own within a few weeks to a few months.

How long do Minoxidil side effects last after stopping

The duration of Minoxidil side effects after stopping use can vary depending on the individual. 

Side effects such as scalp irritation may resolve soon after the medication is discontinued. 

In other cases, unwanted hair growth may take several weeks or months for the effects to diminish.

Your doctor can guide managing side effects and developing an appropriate treatment plan.

How to avoid side effects of Minoxidil

To minimize the risk of side effects from Minoxidil, follow the recommended dosage and instructions given by your doctor.

Here are some additional tips to help avoid side effects:

  • Apply Minoxidil only to a clean, dry scalp
  • Avoid using other hair care products at the same time as Minoxidil
  • Do not exceed the recommended dosage, as this can increase the risk of side effects
  • Avoid getting Minoxidil in your eyes or on other parts of your body
  • If you experience any side effects of Minoxidil, inform your doctor
  • Inform your doctor before using Minoxidil if you have any health issues or are taking other drugs

Remember that while side effects can occur with any medication, many people use Minoxidil without experiencing any significant issues.

Conclusion

Minoxidil is an effective treatment for hair loss in men and women.

But, it can show some side effects.

Usually, these side effects are mild and clear up within a few days. 

These side effects are rare and show up only in a few cases. 

Hence, with your doctor’s advice, you can safely use Minoxidil to treat excessive hair loss

Quick Checkout:
You can purchase Minoxidil from WowRxPharmacy in different strengths:

  • Tugain 5%
  • Tugain Solution 10
  • Hair 4u 2%
  • Hair 4u 5%
  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Are minoxidil side effects serious?

    Minoxidil side effects can range from mild to severe, the most serious being chest pain, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat. But, the severe side effects of Minoxidil occur rarely and have a prevalence rate of 0.1%.

    Is it safe to use Minoxidil every day?

    Minoxidil is generally safe for daily use if it follows the manufacturer’s instructions. It is important to stay within the recommended dosage and to consult a doctor before starting any medication. 

    Who shouldn’t use Minoxidil?

    Minoxidil may not be suitable for those with a history of heart disease. It is also not prescribed for pregnant and breastfeeding women. 

    Does Minoxidil cause dandruff?

    Minoxidil may cause dryness and flakiness of the scalp, which can contribute to dandruff. However, this side effect is often temporary and does lead to severe dandruff formation. 

    Does Minoxidil cause acne?

    Yes, Minoxidil can cause acne as a side effect in some individuals. It occurs in people who use topical solutions. Alternatively, one can use Minoxidil foam to prevent acne. 

    Citations:
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