Minoxidil is used with other medications to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems. Minoxidil works by relaxing blood vessels so blood can flow more easily.
How to use Minoxidil
Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking this medication and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually once or twice a day.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. In children, the dosage is also based on weight. Your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.
Take this medication and your other blood pressure medications regularly in order to get the most benefit from them. To help you remember, take them at the same time(s) each day. Keep taking your medications even if you feel well. Most people with high blood pressure do not feel sick.
Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.
It may take several days to a couple of weeks before you get the full benefit of this drug. Tell your doctor if your condition does not get better or if it gets worse (your blood pressure readings remain high or increase).
Minoxidil may cause increased growth or darkening of fine body hairs. If this bothers you, consult your doctor. When you stop taking the medication, the hair will usually return to normal within 1 to 6 months.
Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: fast heartbeat, symptoms of heart failure (such as shortness of breath, swelling ankles/feet, unusual tiredness, unusual/sudden weight gain), fainting.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: chest/jaw/left arm pain.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Your doctor should direct you to also take other medications to reduce the side effects of minoxidil. These medications include a "water pill" (diuretic) to prevent the body from holding on to too much water and salt and a heart medication (such as a beta blocker including propranolol) to prevent the heart from working too hard or beating too fast.
Your doctor will follow you closely while you are taking this medication. Keep all regular medical and lab appointments.
Before taking minoxidil, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: pheochromocytoma, heart problems (such as heart failure, chest pain, recent heart attack), kidney disease, a certain lung disease (pulmonary hypertension).
This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: guanethidine.
Some products have ingredients that could raise your blood pressure. Tell your pharmacist what products you are using, and ask how to use them safely (especially cough-and-cold products, diet aids, or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen/naproxen).
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe dizziness.
Do not share this medication with others.
Lifestyle changes that may help this medication work better include stress reduction programs, exercise, and dietary changes. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about lifestyle changes that might benefit you.
Lab and/or medical tests (such as blood minerals levels, kidney function, weight) should be done while you are taking this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments. Consult your doctor for more details.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.