Minoxidil (Oral)

Minoxidil is an antihypertensive medication which is taken orally to treat high blood pressure.

Overview

Minoxidil is a medication that is taken orally to lower blood pressure in patients who suffer from high blood pressure, or hypertension.

High blood pressure can cause physical damage to the blood vessels throughout the body, including those in the brain, heart, or kidneys. This happens in people who have had high blood pressure for an extended period of time, as the heart and blood vessels stop functioning correctly. The damage caused by long-term high blood pressure can increase a patient's risk of kidney failure, heart failure, and stroke.

High blood pressure is a prevalent medical issue in the United States, increasing the occurrence of dangerous cardiovascular events like heart attacks. Properly treating hypertension by reducing blood pressure will reduce the risks of heart failure, stroke, and kidney failure, by stopping the damage to the blood vessels.

Minoxidil works to improve the flow of blood by causing the blood vessels to relax. This lowers the blood pressure throughout the patient's body.

Minoxidil is only available with a prescription from your doctor.

Minoxidil has not been proven to be safe for use by pregnant women. It should only be taken if it is clearly needed. If you are pregnant, discuss with your doctor the risks you may face by taking minoxidil and make the decision with your doctor.

Minoxidil is available in topical form as Rogaine, a hair growth stimulator. Oral minoxidil should not be applied topically to the scalp. This is not its intended use, and it can be absorbed into the body and impact the functioning of the blood vessels and heart.

Tell your doctor about all the medications that you are taking, including over the counter medications, vitamins, and supplements, before you begin taking minoxidil. Do not begin taking new medications without talking to your doctor or pharmacist about it first.

Minoxidil can have other effects on the body that can be troublesome, including chest pain, weight gain, increased hair growth, and rapid heartbeat. Talk to your doctor about all of these effects before you begin taking minoxidil.

Minoxidil causes an increase in hair growth while you are taking it. Hair might grow longer and darker on the face, scalp, back, legs, and arms. This increased growth will be temporary and will stop when you have stopped taking minoxidil. It may take a few months for the new hair growth to cease.

Make sure you understand all the instructions you received about how to take minoxidil. If you do not understand any of these instructions, ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking minoxidil. Do not take minoxidil in any way other than how you have been instructed to take it. Do not change your dosage without your doctor's instructions. Talk to your doctor before you stop taking minoxidil.

Minoxidil will not cure your high blood pressure. If you stop taking it, it is likely that your blood pressure will go back up. Some patients need to take minoxidil for the rest of their lives in order to keep blood pressure at a healthy level and prevent serious issues.

Condition Treated

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

Type Of Medicine

  • Antihypertensive

Side Effects

All medications come with the risk of causing negative side effects as well as the effects that they are intended to produce. If you are uncomfortable with any of the side effects that you are experiencing, or have any questions about them, talk to your doctor or medical professional about them. Your doctor may be able to help you prevent or lessen some of the side effects that you are experiencing.

If you experience any of the following side effects, tell your doctor about them immediately:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Pain in chest
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual weight gain of over 5 lbs, or 2 lbs in children

You may also experience some of the side effects, listed below, that are considered normal and do not require medical attention. Side effects should lessen as your body gets used to the new medications. If your side effects continue after taking minoxidil consistently, or if they get worse, talk to your doctor.

  • Breast tenderness (in either men or women)
  • Headache
  • Increased hair growth (especially on arms, back, and face)

Minoxidil causes an increase in hair growth while you are taking it. Hair might grow longer and darker on the face, scalp, back, legs, and arms. This increased growth will be temporary and will stop when you have stopped taking minoxidil. It may take a few months for the new hair growth to cease.

It is also possible that you may experience other side effects that have not been listed here. If you are experiencing any other side effects, check in with your doctor to make sure they are not indications of any issues with your treatment or medical condition. You should also talk to your doctor if you have any concerns or problems with any of the side effects that you are experiencing.

You may also report any side effects that you experience to the FDA at 800-FDA-1080.

Dosage

Your doctor will prescribe you an individual dosage based upon factors like your weight, your medical history, and the severity of your depression. Do not alter the dosage that your doctor has prescribed without talking to him or her about it first. Increasing your dose will not increase the positive effects of the medication.

A typical dose is:

  • Adults and children over 12 years old: 5 to 40 milligrams per day
  • Children 12 years old and younger: 200 micrograms to 1 milligram per kilogram of body weight per day

You should take your dose at roughly the same time(s) each day. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you are close to the time you take your next dose, skip the forgotten dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose.

If you think you might be having an overdose, seek emergency medical help or call your local poison control center immediately.

Interactions

Many medications can interact with other medications in ways that can reduce their effectiveness or increase the risk of side effects. Make sure you talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any medications you are taking to make sure they won't have negative interactions. Do not start taking any new medications while you are taking minoxidil without talking to your doctor about it first.

Some foods may interact with certain medications. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you if there are certain foods that you should avoid, or if you need to maintain a special diet of any kind while taking minoxidil. If you have any questions about what you should eat while taking minoxidil, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Tobacco or alcohol may cause interactions with some medications. Make sure you talk to your doctor or pharmacist about your use of tobacco or alcohol. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you if you need to alter your use of tobacco or alcohol in order to ensure the optimal functioning of minoxidil.

Warnings

Do not stop taking minoxidil unless your doctor has instructed you to do so. Ceasing minoxidil can cause your blood pressure to return to a dangerously high level. Minoxidil only works when you are taking it; it does not cure high blood pressure.

Many medications can interact with other medications in ways that can reduce their effectiveness or increase the risk of side effects. Make sure you talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any medications you are taking to make sure they won't have negative interactions. Do not start taking any new medications while you are taking minoxidil without talking to your doctor about it first.

Make sure that you tell your doctor about your complete medical history. Tell your doctor about any medical conditions that you have or have had. Other medical conditions may affect the way your body reacts to minoxidil. Taking minoxidil if you have certain conditions may exacerbate them and endanger your health. If you have any of the following medical conditions, it is especially important that you tell your doctor about them.

  • Angina'may be exacerbated by minoxidil
  • Diseases of the blood vessels or heart'may have new problems due to fluid buildup caused by minoxidil
  • Kidney disease'kidneys may remove minoxidil more slowly from the body and increase minoxidil's effects
  • Pheochromocytoma'tumor may be more active from the effects of minoxidil
  • Recent stroke or heart attack'certain problems from your stroke or heart attack may be exacerbated by minoxidil's lowering of the blood pressure

Do not take minoxidil in any way except the way your doctor or pharmacist has instructed you to take it. If you do not understand how you are supposed to be taking minoxidil, talk to your doctor or medical professional before taking it. Do not share your prescription with others.

Before you take minoxidil, make sure you have told your doctor about all of your allergies. It is possible that minoxidil may contain inactive ingredients that you are allergic to.

Minoxidil is not expected to create different issues or side effects when taken by children. It is considered to be safe for use by children, but it is still important that you talk to your doctor about the risks before he or she prescribes it for your child.

Geriatric patients may be more sensitive to minoxidil than younger adults. This may mean that you have a higher risk of side effects. It may also make geriatric patients more sensitive to cold temperatures.

Minoxidil causes an increase in hair growth while you are taking it. Hair might grow longer and darker on the face, scalp, back, legs, and arms. This increased growth will be temporary and will stop when you have stopped taking minoxidil. It may take a few months for the new hair growth to cease.

Storage

Minoxidil should always be stored in a tightly sealed container, and kept at room temperature. Do not expose minoxidil to direct light, heat, or moisture, and do not allow it to freeze.

Keep all medications out of the reach of children and animals.

Do not used expired medications. Do not dispose of medications by flushing them down the toilet, pouring them in the sink, or putting them in the garbage. Ask your pharmacist how you should safely and appropriately dispose of unused medications.

Summary

Minoxidil is a medication that is used to treat high blood pressure. It is often prescribed to be used in combination with other medications that contribute to lowering blood pressure.

Minoxidil works to improve the flow of blood by causing the blood vessels to relax. This lowers the blood pressure throughout the patient's body.

Minoxidil is only available with a prescription from your doctor.

Minoxidil is the active ingredient in Rogaine, a topical hair growth stimulator. Oral minoxidil should not be applied topically to the scalp. This is not its intended use, and it may damage your health when absorbed into your body.

Minoxidil can have other negative effects on the body, including chest pain, weight gain, increased hair growth, and rapid heartbeat. Talk to your doctor about these effects before you begin taking minoxidil.

Minoxidil causes an increase in hair growth while you are taking it. Hair might grow longer and darker on the face, scalp, back, legs, and arms. This increased growth will be temporary and will stop when you have stopped taking minoxidil. It may take a few months for the new hair growth to cease.

Make sure you understand all the instructions you received about how to take minoxidil. If you do not understand any of these instructions, ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking minoxidil. Do not take minoxidil in any way other than how you have been instructed to take it. Do not change your dosage or stop taking minoxidil without your doctor's instructions.

Minoxidil does not cure high blood pressure. If you stop taking it, your blood pressure will probably go back up. You might need to take minoxidil for the rest of your life.