A patient being treated with topical minoxidil for androgenetic alopecia should be instructed about the medication and its limitations.


Patient information about topical minoxidil:

(1) A particular patient’s response to therapy may vary. It may be effective in some patients and have no effect in others.

(2) Starting therapy when hair loss is minor may be more efficacious than when the alopecia is advanced.

(3) The treatment must be applied twice a day.

(4) Treatment must be continued indefinitely to maintain improvement.

(5) The hair may have a sticky texture after a treatment if the lotion is used (not seen with minoxidil foam)..

(6) A transient telogen effluvium may occur soon after starting therapy.

(7) Scalp irritaton may occur, especially if there is contact dermatitis to a compound in the formulation (Propylene glycol in the lotion is a common cause of contact dermatitis).

(8) Androgenetic alopecia may progress with time, with less therapeutic benefit after several years.


The response to therapy should be assessed only after 12 months of treatment.


Reasons for failure after an initial response:

(1) poor compliance

(2) progression of the alopecia

(3) taking a medication that increases the rate of hair loss

(4) onset of another cause for alopecia


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