Minoxidil (Topical)
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Patient Guide

 Minoxidil (Topical)

 Minoxidil (Topical)

What is this medicine?

This is topical minoxidil. It comes as:

  • 2% - 5% scalp lotion
  • 5% foam

What is this medicine used for?

Minoxidil is applied to the scalp to stimulate hair growth and to slow balding. Minoxidil thickens hair strands and prolongs the growing phase of the hair.

The improvement rate varies from person to person. For male or female pattern hair loss, if hair growth is going to occur with the use of minoxidil, it usually occurs after the medicine has been used for at least 3 to 6 months and lasts only as long as the medicine continues to be used. Hair loss will begin again within a few months after minoxidil treatment is stopped.

How should I use this medicine?

  • Apply twice a day or as directed by your doctor.
  • It is important that the recommended dosage is followed. Using an increased dose would increase the risk of side effects but not improve hair growth.
  • Apply the amount prescribed to the area of the scalp being treated. Follow your doctor's instructions on how to apply the solution, using the applicator provided.
  • It is advisable but not necessary to shampoo your hair and scalp before application. Make sure your hair and scalp are completely dry before applying this medicine.
  • Do not shampoo your hair for at least 4 hours after applying minoxidil.
  • Immediately after using this medicine, wash your hands to remove any medicine that may be on them.
  • Do not use a hair-dryer to dry the scalp after you apply minoxidil. Blowing with a hairdryer on the scalp may make the treatment less effective.
  • Allow minoxidil to dry completely before using other styling products (e.g., gels, mousse) or before going to bed.
  • Minoxidil can stain clothing or bed linen if your hair or scalp is not fully dry after using the medicine.

What should I do if I forget an application?

Apply it as soon as you remember. If it is nearly time for the next application, skip the missed application and resume your normal schedule. Do not apply more of it to make up for the missed dose as it could result in irritation.

What possible side effects may it cause?

Certain side effects of this medicine are not unusual and may even disappear during treatment. If any of the following effects persist or are severe, consult your doctor.


Side effects What can I do if I experience the side effect?
Itchy or flaky scalp Stop using minoxidil if the redness or irritation continues. Other options include decreasing the dose or frequency of application of minoxidil. Alternatively, your doctor may prescribe some medications to treat the scalp irritation.
Temporary hair loss (this may occur in the first 2-6 weeks of treatment) This hair loss is usually temporary. Stop using minoxidil if this continues for more than 2 months.
Unwanted facial/body hair Avoid dripping the medication over the face and forehead, and/or decreasing the concentration of the minoxidil. If symptoms persist, do consult your doctor.

Rarely, minoxidil can be absorbed through the skin and cause side effects. Stop using the medicine and inform your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fast/irregular heartbeat
  • Headache
  • Swelling of hands/feet
  • Unusual weight gain

What precautions should I take?

  • Inform your doctor if you are pregnant, intending to conceive or are breastfeeding. The safety of minoxidil use in pregnancy is unknown.
  • Patients with heart diseases and/or hypertension should be under medical supervision while using minoxidil.
  • Patients below 18 years old or over 65 years, patients with known hypersensitivity to minoxidil, propylene glycol or ethanol (alcohol) should consult the doctor before using minoxidil.
  • Patients with inflamed, irritated, infected or sunburned scalp should have their scalp condition treated prior to minoxidil use.
  • Do not use any other preparations on the same skin area on which you use minoxidil unless directed by your doctor.
  • Hair products like coloring, hair permanents, and hair relaxers may be used during minoxidil therapy as long as the scalp is washed just before applying the hair product. You may still continue to dye or perm your hair but it is advisable to stop using minoxidil for at least 24 hours before and after the hair treatment process.
  • Minoxidil is for use on the scalp only. Avoid contact with eyes, mouth, ears, nose or broken or irritated skin. If you should accidentally get some in your eyes, nose, or mouth, flush the area thoroughly with cool tap water. If you are using the pump spray, be careful not to breathe in the spray.

How do I store this medicine?

Keep this away from heat and direct sunlight in a cool dry area, out of reach of children.

When in doubt, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
National Skin Centre (Singapore)
1 Mandalay Road, Singapore 308205
Tel: 63508454

Last updated on 28 Oct 2013

Last updated on 28 Oct 2013