Minoxidil (Molecule of the Month for January 1996)
Chemical for Bald Men
Minoxidil was originally developed to treat high blood pressure. Its use for preserving thinning hair was discovered when it was noted to cause increased hair growth as a complication of this treatment. It may work by increasing the local blood supply of the thinning area.
The key to using Minoxidil is to begin using it early. The best candidates are those who are thinning but not bald. Those with a higher density of hair at the beginning of treatment are good candidates.
It is usually applied in a 1-3% solution twice a day. It must be used for a about six months to see the benefits. The most common problem is irritation of the skin. If the medication is stopped, after prolonged use, hair loss may increase.
Major complications are rare, but patients who suffer from heart disease or hypertension should check with their doctor before beginning treatment.
Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for January 1996 )