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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Rogaine


These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

[posted 08/28/2000]
Question: What are the known side effects of using minoxidil? I am specifically concerned about anything regarding sexual or reproductive function. Thank you.

Answer: Topically or systemically? Topical minoxidil has no major side effects and is used for hair growth. Systemic minoxidil is a diuretic used mainly in renal insufficiency patients. Hair growth is the major problem.

[posted 08/15/1999]
Question: I am a healthy 28 yr old male. My problem is that I do not
have any facial hair at all. My father, grandfather and brother have normal
facial hair. My relatives from my mother's side (like my maternal
grandfather etc.) also have normal facial hair.
What is wrong with me??
I have heard that something called "Rogaine" helps in tackling
this problem. Kindly give me details about this.

Answer: If you have otherwise normal male sexual development, I wouldn't be concerned about this. This would mean normal erections, axillary(armpit)hair, muscle development and male vocal cord size and depth of speech. While Rogaine might help, you will need to probably take it daily for the rest of your life to maintain what it yields. If you do not have normal male development, then you need to see an Internist or Endocrinologist.

Rogaine
Question: Does Rogaine really work? Has it been tested fully for short term and long term side effects? Someone said it may affect a heart condition. Is there truth to this? When will I be able to tell if it is effective on me? How long should I try it?

Answer: Rogaine is about 30% effective in men and about 80% in women. You will have to apply it for at least 3-4 months to see an effect and will need to use it forever to keep the cosmetic results. I recommend that patients take pictures of their hair at the onset of treatment and a second picture at 3-4 months to see if there is improvement in the number and thickness of hair. This is how the original research was done. There are minimal side effects when used topically. This drug is a blood pressure treatment when used internally. Rare patients absorb enough to feel dizzy on this drug, but this is a rare side effect.

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