Minoxidil (Rogaine®)

Originally developed as an oral medicine for reducing blood pressure, it was observed that this vasodilator drug had an interesting side effect: it encouraged hair growth. The drug was first introduced in the USA in 1988 under the name Rogaine and in Europe under the similarly protected brand name Regaine. It is available as a lotion and contains Minoxidil.

The lotion is offered as a 2 %, 5 %, 12 % or 15 % solution, whereby a higher percentage achieves a greater effect. The 2 % solution is available in European pharmacies without a prescription, whereas the solutions with higher percentages require a prescription. The difference becomes clear when considering that the 5 % solution is 45 % more effective than the 2 % one. Minoxidil should however only be used in the 5 % (or higher) solution in consultation with one's doctor.

Convincing results

In contrast to many other medicines used to combat hair loss, the Minoxidil lotion contains no hormones at all. It has no negative effect on hormonal activity and can therefore be applied to various kinds of hair loss without problem. Minoxidil (Rogaine®) is suitable for use in both men and women. Results show that in 80 % of cases hair loss is more or less stopped, with hair growth being clearly stimulated. 8 - 30 % of users were pleased with the results. However no new hair growth occurs on completely bald patches. Very good results were achieved with patients - both men and women - who had only been suffering from hair loss (mainly at the top of the head) for the last 5 - 10 years. To achieve long-term results, Minoxidil needs to be applied directly to the scalp twice a day (morning and evening). Best results are achieved when hair has just been washed, i.e. when the scalp is wet. The treated areas of the scalp become "addicted" to Minoxidil, with hair loss restarting once the treatment is stopped. This is also the case when a combination of medicines is used. Androgenetic hair loss can be counteracted to a certain extent by the lotion, but not completely prevented. A combination of the Minoxidil lotion with other drugs such as Finasteride is often used to treat androgenetic hair loss. Studies and experience have shown that this combination is more effective than when applied separately.

Minor side effects

When Minoxidil is correctly used, i.e. topically and not orally, it is a very safe agent whose only possible side effects are dry skin, irritation, dizziness and headache. A slight increase in body hair and increased beard growth can occur, as, even when applied topically, small amounts of the lotion can get into the bloodstream. When taken orally it can cause unwanted hair growth of body hair. Certain doctors are of the opinion that people suffering from heart or vascular conditions may be endangered by Minoxidil.

Better tolerated and easy to use  Rogaine Foam

A new application form, Rogaine Foam, has recently become available on the US market. This is easier to use and is preferred by patients. Unlike Rogaine solution, the foam does contain any propylene glycol, an agent that commonly causes irritation. The foam consists of a 5% Minoxidil solution and targets men, though it can also be used by women. We will inform you as soon as Rogaine Foam becomes available on the European market.