Various medications and treatments continue to be used globally by individuals in an effort to regrow hair. However, the only formulation in a topical form that has FDA approval is Rogaine, available under different brand names worldwide. The drug is essentially an antihypertensive vasodilating agent that used to be prescribed for hypertension. Finding widespread use for both hypertension and hair fall control, there is the possibility of side effects of Rogaine that users need to be aware of, as unregulated use, especially for hair regrowth can result in undesirable consequences. The following sub-sections will offer an in-depth look at the drug, its mechanism of action, and the unwanted outcomes.

Overview of Rogaine

Belonging to the category of direct-acting peripheral vasodilator agents, the medication is known to bring about a reduction in blood pressure. It is also extensively used in the treatment of androgenic alopecia in males and females. The topical application, as outlined above is the only one that has received FDA approval for hair regrowth. Typically, results are seen in about four months from the time of commencing the treatment. The hair that grows initially may not appear strong or dark in color, but continued treatment will help improve the strength, and appearance, to make it similar to other hair strands.

Mechanism of action of the formulation

The reduction of elevated systolic and diastolic blood pressure is achieved by regulating the peripheral vascular resistance that is known to cause elevated blood pressure. The drug primarily works arterially, and the antihypertensive activity is attributed to the metabolite, sulfate. The hair regrowth effects are linked to the increase in the ratio of regulator proteins that are responsible for cell death regulation. Properties of the medication include proliferative and anti-apoptotic effects. The vasodilatory effects are known to work on the potassium channels in vascular smooth muscle cells, and this is known to help reduce hypertension, apart from helping hair regrowth.

Precautions that need to be followed by users

Most users of the topical application are likely to use the product with lesser than the desired caution. The desire to quickly benefit from results may urge the user into applying the product without any precautions. It is essential to follow the precautions listed below:

Unknown possible side effects of Rogaine

There is the possibility of the formulation triggering undesirable effects in certain instances, and the actual outcomes or possible interactions are unknown. For instance, it is not known if the formulation will have an effect on pregnant women on and the fetus. It is, therefore, necessary to seek specific advice before use; the best option would be to discontinue use during pregnancy. Similarly, the effect of the application on breastfeeding mothers is unknown, and mothers are advised to avoid or discontinue the use of the application when the infant is being nursed. Other undesirable effects are listed and explained separately in the sections below.

Dosage related information

Most undesirable effects are attributed to excessive dosage or incorrect use or schedule of medications. It is, therefore, necessary to diligently stick to the recommendations of the specialist prescribing the drug. Adults applying the topical solution for treating hair loss are to ideally apply around 1 ml on the affected area, two times daily. It is important to ensure that the actual dosage or application does not exceed 2 ml per day, as users are likely to apply more in an effort to achieve faster or better results. This can result in more quantities of the drug being absorbed into the body, which may expose the user to stronger or adverse effects. Missed doses, can be skipped if it is close to the schedule for the next dose, and the desire to apply a double dose needs to be strictly avoided.

Compilation of possible side effects of Rogaine

The following compilation of the possible undesirable effects of the drug is not complete or exhaustive. Similarly, it does not imply that all users of the application will experience side effects. There is a possibility of some users ending up with unwanted outcomes, while others may not experience any undesirable effects. Emergency medical attention is generally not required; however, individuals experiencing some form of allergies, such as difficulty in breathing, or symptoms typical of hives are expected to seek emergency medical intervention. Any abnormal or rapid swelling in the face; on the lips the throat or the tongue also requires swift medical attention.

Other possible side effects or symptoms that require attention include irritation in the scalp that is severe in nature. Any hair growth on the face that is abnormal or unwanted, and attributed to the formulation also requires medical attention. Individuals who experience some form of palpitations or racy heartbeats, that may or may not be accompanied by pain in the chest require attention.

Commonly reported effects of the application

In addition to the above symptoms, there is the possibility of users experiencing other common symptoms. For instance, there is the possibility of a rapid increase in weight or a light-headed feeling. Other symptoms include a confused mind, dizziness, headache, or apprehensions of passing out. An abnormal warmth or overall reddish appearance is also a possible outcome of the medication, and this particular needs to be evaluated to prevent adverse outcomes. The color of the hair or the texture of the hair is also likely to change with continued use of the application. Depending on the severity of these effects, users may choose to seek medical evaluation or assessment to determine if the product needs to be discontinued.

Other effects of the application

Apart from the effects outlined above, there is the possibility of the formulation causing other undesirable effects. This includes contact dermatitis, known to be one of the most frequently reported occurrences among users. The effects typically manifest in a short duration after the application, and individuals may experience effects in a few minutes or hours after the application. This makes it necessary to commence the treatment for the first time in the morning, as this will give the user time to notice and take suitable remedial measures. Users who apply the formulation at the night may not immediately notice the effects or may find it difficult to seek or receive swift attention.

There is also the possibility of users experiencing temporary loss of hair as a result of Rogaine. Known medically as minoxidil-induced telogen effluvium, this refers to the condition wherein the telogen or the resting phase of the typical hair cycle is shortened. This results in abnormal shedding of hair. These effects are generally experienced anywhere between two to eight weeks from the time of commencing the treatment with Rogaine.

The possibility of a reduction in blood pressure levels exists, especially among users who choose a formulation that has a higher strength or concentration level. As mentioned in the section about precautions, this application belongs to the category C pregnancy drugs, which essentially means that it has not been tested on humans to determine the safety of the fetus.  It also implies that the effects of the medication have been studied on laboratory animals and the studies indicate that there are possible adverse outcomes to the fetus.

Possible drug interactions of Rogaine

The possibility of Rogaine interacting with other medications, supplements, or other over-the-counter products cannot be entirely ruled out. This is mainly due to the mechanism of action of the medications or products that may have an impact on the other. For instance, by virtue of the vasodilatory effects of the formulation, it is likely to have an effect on medications for hypertension used by the patient. For instance, patients on medications intended to bring down blood pressure may experience more than desired outcomes, or there could be undesirable effects as a result of the combination of the mechanisms of action of the two.

Guanethidine is likely to interact with the formulation and may trigger orthostatic hypotensive effects when taken alongside Rogaine. It is therefore necessary to discontinue either of the two, depending on the importance and the need for desired outcomes. Similarly, there is the possibility of the formulation interacting with medications that belong to the category of diuretics. There is the possibility of this interaction causing increased blood pressure lowering the side effects of effects of Rogaine, and this could have an impact on the individual. It is therefore necessary to assess the importance of the diuretic and Rogaine and choose to discontinue either of the two depending on what is of more importance to the user.

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