Rogaine is a nonprescription medication used to help stimulate hair growth in men and women. Although it is not a cure for baldness, the medicine can help inactive hair follicles to enter into an active growth phase. The medicine comes in the form of a liquid and a foam, and is applied directly on the scalp twice daily. Potential side effects may include a dry, flaky, and itchy scalp.
What Is Rogaine?
Rogaine® (minoxidil) is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication used in the treatment of male and female pattern baldness, a condition medically known as androgenetic alopecia. It is applied directly on the scalp to stimulate hair growth.
Minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine, is also available as an oral tablet (Loniten®), which is used to treat severe hypertension (high blood pressure). Although these medications contain the same active ingredient, they are not the same medication. Loniten should not be used to promote hair growth, as it may cause serious and potentially dangerous side effects. This article applies only to minoxidil formulations that are applied directly on the scalp.
Brand-name Rogaine is made by Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products. Generic versions are made by various manufacturers.
How Does Rogaine Work?
It is not exactly known how this medication works to cause hair growth. It is thought that the medication stimulates resting hair follicles to enter into an active growth phase and, therefore, grow hair. Rogaine may open the blood vessels around the hair follicles, allowing more blood to flow to the follicles. It could also directly stimulate and enlarge the hair follicles.
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.
National Library of Medicine (US). Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?HSDB. Accessed February 1, 2011.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed February 2, 2011.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed February 1, 2011.
Rogaine. In DRUGDEX System. Thomson Reuters (Healthcare), Inc. Available at: http://www.thomsonhc.com. Accessed January 31, 2011.
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