Minoxidil is used with other medications to treat high blood pressure. It is in a class of medications called vasodilators. It works by relaxing the blood vessels so that blood can flow more easily through the body.
High blood pressure is a common condition and when not treated, can cause damage to the brain, heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other parts of the body. Damage to these organs may cause heart disease, a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, loss of vision, and other problems. In addition to taking medication, making lifestyle changes will also help to control your blood pressure. These changes include eating a diet that is low in fat and salt, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising at least 30 minutes most days, not smoking, and using alcohol in moderation.
Side Effects Of Minoxidil
Minoxidil may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- increase in size or darkness of fine body hair
- breast tenderness
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those listed in the WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS section, call your doctor immediately:
- fast heartbeat
- swollen ankles or feet
- unexplained weight gain
- difficulty breathing
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking minoxidil:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to minoxidil, any other medications,or any of the ingredients in minoxidil tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: diuretics (‘water pills’), guanethidine, and other medications for high blood pressure.
- tell your doctor if you have pheochromocytoma (adrenal gland tumor). Your doctor will probably tell you not to take minoxidil.
- tell your doctor if you have had a recent heart attack, or if you have heart or kidney disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking minoxidil, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking minoxidil.
- you should know that this medication may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how it affects you.
- ask your doctor about the safe use of alcohol while you are taking minoxidil. Alcohol can make the side effects of minoxidil worse.
Minoxidil comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It usually is taken once or twice a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take minoxidil exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Minoxidil controls high blood pressure but does not cure it. Continue to take minoxidil even if you feel well. Do not stop taking minoxidil without talking to your doctor.
Your doctor may ask you to check your pulse (heart rate) daily. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to teach you how to do this. Call your doctor if your heart rate increases by more than 20 beats per minute while at rest.
Weigh yourself every day. Call your doctor if you experience rapid weight gain.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.