Minoxidil (distributed under brand names such as Rogaine™, Regaine™ and RIUP™) is perhaps the best-known treatment for male pattern baldness. Minoxidil is unique because of its topical formulation and availability to both men and women.
Minoxidil was initially used as a treatment for high blood pressure and marketed under the brand name Loniten. After hair growth was discovered as a common side-effect, minoxidil was reformulated by Upjohn Corporation into a 2% topical solution.
In 1988, after clinical trials had concluded, Rogaine became the first treatment approved by the FDA with the indication of treating Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA).
Method of Action
Although minoxidil is the oldest existing medication for AGA, its precise method of action remains unknown. Minoxidil is a potassium channel agonist; meaning that it facilitates in the movement of ions between cells within the body. How this function relates to male-pattern baldness is still being investigated.
Minoxidil is applied twice daily to the scalp, either in foam or liquid form. Customers often report excessive shedding when they start regimens that include Minoxidil. This shedding period is mostly temporary, however, and generally ceases once the body becomes accustomed to the treatment.
Unlike finasteride, minoxidil has the ability to re-grow new hair, albeit in relatively small quantities. It is most effective rejuvenating hairs in the vertex and crown areas of the scalp. Minoxidil has also been found to be quite effective in customers with diffuse thinning.
It should be noted that results will only be seen after 4 months of continuous application. Hairs rejuvenated with minoxidil are generally sparse, weak and often colorless. Once minoxidil treatment is stopped, these minimal gains are lost within a period of 6 months.