Minoxidil is originally prescribed as a blood-pressure lowering medication but it was discovered to stimulate hair growth as well. On this basis, it is used mainly as a topical hair spray to thicken existing hair. It works best at the crown and midscalp but not so for the hair line. Minoxidil also comes in a pill form for more potent effect.
Minoxidil works differently than finasteride in that it does not block dihydrotestosterone from forming. Hence, there are no sexual side effects associated with this medication. In rare cases, there may be unwanted facial or body hair growth from this medication. Some patients develop mild scalp irritation and itch to minoxidil. In such cases, they may switch to the gentler foam version or change to a different treatment altogether.
Minoxidil can be combined with other treatments like finasteride or low level laser therapy. It is often used as a maintenance treatment to prevent further hair loss, and very commonly prescribed before and after a hair transplant.
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