Minoxidil is a hair loss treatment that has been approved by the FDA as being effective in the treatment of hair loss in both men and women. It is actually one of the few treatments that have such approval.
Where Did Minoxidil Originate?
It’s origins come from a drug that used the trade name of Loniten, that was taken internally for high blood pressure, but researchers found that when used to treat high blood pressure, there were minoxidil side effects. One of these was that when people took the drug, a lot of them experienced hair growth in unusual places such as on their cheeks, the back of their hands and even on their foreheads.
As a result of this, researchers tested the use of minoxidil by applying it topically to the scalp of the head to help grow hair in areas of balding men. Results were revolutionary at the time as it produced hair growth in varying degrees and minoxidil for men was considered an effective treatment for hair loss.
Is There Proof That Minoxidil Works?
Clinical studies were carried out in the use of minoxidil which confirmed this. One of the most stringent clinical studies was carried out by the ClinicalTrials.gov, who are a service of the US National Institutes of Health, in October 2003.
The purpose of the study was to:
- Evaluate the efficacy of a topical 5% minoxidil formulation in males for the treatment of pattern hair loss
- Evaluate the safety of a topical 5% minoxidil formulation in males when used twice daily for the treatment of pattern hair loss and to obtain the safety data on the investigational product when used twice daily for up to one year.
The study consisted of male volunteers aged from 15-49 years old who had the hair loss condition – androgenetic alopecia.
It used a ‘double blind’ randomized placebo controlled trial of 5% concentration of minoxidil foam, and a placebo foam.
The minoxidil was applied twice a day for 16 weeks. 143 of the participants went on to use the minoxidil twice daily for a period of 8-12 months to identify any long term minoxidil side effects.
- The study concluded that 5% minoxidil was shown to be effective in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in a 16 week trial., by way of measuring the hair count and improvement (It was significantly superior to the placebo foam used).
- No safety concerns were raised by using the minoxidil during the entire study in that there were no scalp irritations or other issues.
Minoxidil Hit The Headlines
As a result of the study, minoxidil hit the headlines and companies tried to market the product, but were prevented from doing re patents that were applied to it. The American Hair Loss Association recommends the use of minoxidil. However it is stressed that results will vary from one person to another and depends on the health of the person using it.
There have been a lot of minoxidil reviews since the studies in the treatment of hair loss for men. It has also been shown that minoxidil is also effective for women, but in lower concentrations re hormone differences between the two sexes.
From the minoxidil reviews, the exact molecular mechanism operating in the cells that cause hair growth growth has not been identified. Some of the experts believe it is to do with the minoxidil dilating the blood vessels around the hair follicles which causes an increase in the nutrient supply and encourages increased hair growth.
You Must Use The Correct Concentration Of Minoxidil
In order to get the most effective results from the use of minoxidil is important to use the correct strength. This is why you need different strengths in both men and women. A 5% concentration of minoxidil is regarded as a mild treatment level and should not cause any side effects.
One product that become popular in the early days was that of Rogaine by the Upjohn Corporation, who actually had a patent on the treatment. However this product used a 2% concentration of minoxidil. It was found to be effective in the treatment of baldness and hair loss to varying degrees. Outside the US, this product is known as Regain. The patent however expired on February 11th 1996, allowing other companies to develop products.
There are some clinics who will administer a higher concentration of up to 12.5%, but the long term effects of these has not been clinically tested. In view of this, I would not recommend the use of these strengths unless this is carried out under medical supervision.
By far the most effective strength is that of 5% minoxidil, being the same as that conducted within the clinical study during 2003.
Some medical experts have also concluded that treatment of male pattern baldness can be further enhanced by combining both minoxidil and another clinically proven product called Propecia.
Minoxidil Side Effects
When anyone uses any drug there can always be side effects and the use of minoxidil is not exempt. The minoxidil side effects are however minimal but you need to be aware of them. The side effects that have been identified are that of possible increased hair growth, which is another reason why the concentration of minoxidil for women should not exceed 2%, so as to avoid this.
In extreme cases the user may experience headaches, rashes and palpitations, however these normally diminish within a short time of regular use or shortly after stopping using the product. If symptoms such as these persisted, it is important to seek medical advice. It is always important to wash your hands after applying it, and avoid any contact of it with cats as it is highly toxic to them.
Want to Take This Further?
I hope that this article about minoxidil has answered a lot of questions. There are only a few products on the market that produce minoxidil in FDA approved facilities, one of these being Provillus.
If you want to find out more about Provillus, then I suggest you check out this detailed review now. The product provides two separate treatment s for men with a 5% concentration of minoxidil for men and 2% concentration of minoxidil for women.