Minoxidil, commercially known as Rogaine®, is an FDA-approved, over-the-counter topical medication for the treatment of hair loss in both men and women. It has been used since the late 1980s as a 2% solution, with a 5% solution now available as well that is considered significantly more effective.
Rogaine® is applied directly to affected areas of the scalp to impede hair loss and stimulate the regrowth of hair. Although Rogaine® is not considered a miracle treatment, it is often effective in 30% of patients, with slightly higher success rates for females. This treatment is most effective for patients with recent hair loss caused by androgenetic alopecia, as well as those suffering from relatively small areas of hair loss.
It may take up to four months before the results of Rogaine® are visible. Patients may experience side effects such as burning, stinging or redness at the application site. It is important to notify the physician of any unusual side effects or if no results are present after six months. Rogaine® is not effective for all patients.