Rogaine Foam 5% (Minoxidil)
What is Rogaine Foam 5% (Minoxidil)?
Rogaine Foam 5% contains the active ingredient minoxidil, which is traditionally prescribed to treat chronically high blood pressure (hypertension). A side effect of this treatment was increased hair growth, which prompted research into creating a topical medication for the treatment of hair loss. Thus, Rogaine Foam was made.
Minoxidil is a topical application that stimulates hair growth by dilation of small blood vessels. It is thought that this enhances cell proliferation, and influences hair follicle immune cells, leading to increased hair growth. Rogaine Foam 5% is now prescribed for both male and female pattern hair loss. Rogaine Foam is applied once or twice daily to the scalp for a minimum of six months. It may take four months of regular application to observe an increase in hair growth.
Rogaine Foam should be applied to a completely dry scalp and hair. Part your hair to expose the thinning area on the scalp. Holding the can upside down, press the nozzle to expel foam onto your clean fingers. Spread the foam with your fingers over the area of hair loss and gently massage the product into your scalp. Immediately after application, wash your hands with soap and water to remove any excess product. Do not allow your scalp to get wet for at least four hours after application.
Rogaine Foam should be stored in a closed container in a space where the temperature will not exceed 25°C. Keep away from heat, moisture, and direct sunlight; and do not allow it to freeze. Keep out of reach of children. The can is flammable, so be sure to keep it away from open flame or fire. Dispose of expired products responsibly. Do not attempt to use expired medication on your skin.
Common Side Effects
As Rogaine Foam is a topical medication, most side effects will occur at the surface of the skin. Commonly:
- Local irritation, presenting as itching or stinging of the area applied
- Local erythema (reddening of skin in the applied area)
- Contact allergy to the active ingredient minoxidil
- Contact allergy to the solution propylene glycol
- Unwanted hair growth (hypertrichosis) if the solution is applied in other areas by accident (e.g., dripped onto forehead)
- Changes in hair color and texture
Contact your healthcare provider if you experience any symptoms that impact your daily life. Discontinue use and contact your healthcare provider if you notice severe scalp irritation, swelling of hands or feet, unwanted facial hair growth, sudden weight gain, or if you do not notice improved hair growth in four months.
Rare Side Effects
Internal side effects are rare as the solution is not readily absorbed from the skin. There have been reports of distant hair growth on the chest, arms, and lower back with regular application of the 5% solution to the scalp, however.
Warnings & Precautions
Always read the instructions provided with the medication and follow them carefully. Rogaine Foam should only be used as directed. Do not exceed the amount or frequency of application without consulting your doctor first, as this increases the amount absorbed through the skin.
Rogaine Foam 5% is not recommended for:
- Unusual, sudden, patchy hair loss that is not present in family history
- Hair loss associated with childbirth
- Idiopathic hair loss
- Patients under 18 years of age
- Use when the scalp is infected, painful, inflamed, or irritated
- Patients with heart disease
Rogaine Foam 5% is not to be applied to any other parts of the body. Once it has been thoroughly applied to the scalp it can be easily transferred, so it is important that you avoid touching your scalp after application. Avoid contact with eyes, and in the occasion of accidental eye contact, rinse eyes with cool water. Once started, use of Rogaine Foam needs to be continued indefinitely, and hair growth should become apparent after four months of regular application.
Do not use Rogaine Foam if you are allergic to minoxidil or any of the other ingredients. Inform your doctor if you have experienced allergic reactions to topical medications in the past, and if you have any other known allergies.
There is no research to support the safety of topical minoxidil use in children.
There is no evidence to suggest geriatric-specific issues with topical minoxidil use. However, the best results have been in achieved in younger patients with a short history of hair loss, and there have been no studies in patients over 65 years.
Studies have not indicated a significant risk to the infant when Rogaine Foam is applied while breastfeeding.
Interactions & Contraindications
Always consult your doctor before starting or changing medications, as certain medications can interact and change the action of one or both drugs. Inform your doctor of any prescription or non-prescription drugs you are taking, as they may want to adjust your medication schedule.
Rogaine Foam is a topical medication and should not be ingested orally. Be careful to properly wash your hands before and after applying Rogaine Foam to the scalp and avoid contact with the scalp after application.
Other medical conditions can affect how this medication works, so it is important that you inform your doctor of any problems you have, including skin conditions such as dermatitis, dandruff, psoriasis, or sunburn, as these conditions can allow too much Rogaine Foam entry to the body and thus increase the chances of developing adverse side effects. Patients with heart disease and/or hypertension should also exercise caution when using this medication, and regularly monitor their blood pressure.
Do not apply any other skin medications (prescription or non-prescription) to the area where you are applying minoxidil. Consult with your doctor if you wish to use hair coloring, permanent treatments, or other hair or scalp products prior to doing so. Rogaine Foam should not be used 24 hours before or after any other hair treatment. If you are concerned, get in touch with your healthcare provider.
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