Available without a prescription, Rogaine® (minoxidil) is a topical medicine applied directly on the scalp to help stimulate hair growth in adults. Specifically, Rogaine is a hair loss treatment used for men and women with androgenetic alopecia, also known as male and female pattern hair loss.
Rogaine is only approved to treat hair loss on the top of the scalp. It is not intended for other types of hair loss, including baldness in the front of the head or a receding hairline. It will not treat hair loss that occurs from the use of certain medications, chemotherapy, or medical conditions such as thyroid disease or severe nutritional problems.
Although it is not exactly clear how Rogaine works, it is thought that the medication stimulates resting hair follicles to enter into an active growth phase. Rogaine may also open the blood vessels around the hair follicles, allowing more blood to flow to the follicles, or it may directly stimulate and enlarge the hair follicles.
(To learn more about using this medicine for the treatment of hair loss, click Rogaine Uses. This article takes a closer look at how Rogaine works, possible off-label uses, and why it is only approved for adults.)
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Men's Rogaine Extra Strength [package label]. New Brunswick, NJ: Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products;2010 July.
Rogaine Web site. Available at http://www.rogaine.com/. Accessed February 1, 2011.
Rogaine. Drug Facts and Comparisons. Drug Facts and Comparisons 4.0 [online]. 2011. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed February 1, 2011.
Goldstein BG and Goldstein AO. Hair loss in women and men (androgenetic alopecia). In: UpToDate, Basow, DS (Ed), UpToDate, Waltham, MA, 2011.
Ellis JA, Sinclair R, and Harrap SB. Androgenetic alopecia: Pathogenesis and potential for therapy. Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine 2002; 4: 1-11.
Rogaine. In DRUGDEX System. Thomson Reuters (Healthcare), Inc. Available at: http://www.thomsonhc.com. Accessed January 31, 2011.
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