Minoxidil is one of only two FDA-approved treatments for hair loss and is the only anti-baldness drug approved for women. Originally introduced as a medicine to treat high blood pressure, it was noticed that users began to grow extra hair. It is now available without prescription as a topically applied liquid in solutions like Rogaine, but cheaper generic versions are also available. A 2% solution is marketed as a treatment for both men and women, but a 5% version is approved only for men.
The main benefit of minoxidil is its ability to stimulate hair growth – it does not tackle the causes of hair loss, but simply overrides the symptoms. Some uncertainty surrounds the reasons why it works, but it has proven to be a very effective hair loss treatment with minimal risk of side effects.
It is particularly useful when used to reverse the effects of male pattern baldness but it has also shown positive results in the treatment of less severe forms of alopecia areata. Its usefulness in helping other forms of hair loss appears limited.
Minoxidil is better known as Rogaine but other generic products deliver the same results for much less cost. It can be safely used with other hair loss treatments and is especially effective when used in conjunction with Propecia to tackle male pattern baldness.