Is minoxidil safe for long term use?

Minoxidil probably needs no introduction because its popularity has steadily been growing in recent years.

But just in case, it is a hair growth/regrowth product to promote the growth of scalp hair, and sometimes even facial hair

The only “downside” is that one has to use it for at least a few months to observe noticeable positive effects. This leads to an important question that we’re going to answer today.

Is minoxidil safe for long term use? If yes, for whom? And if no, for who isn’t it considered safe? Let’s find out.


Is it safe to use minoxidil long term?

Image of a laptop with the sentence, 'is it safe?' Written on the screen.

Minoxidil is an FDA approved product that’s generally considered safe for long term use. That’s why it’s not advised to stop minoxidil, only to start again at a later date since you’ll lose most of your gains when you quit.

The only exceptions are if the minoxidil negatively interacts with certain medications, which to be honest is rare, and in people with preexisting heart diseases.

It should be noted that if you can tolerate the drug for a couple of months without problems, then you will most likely be able to tolerate it your whole lifetime.

Of course, one shouldn’t use more than the approved dosages. As this could lead to overdosing, which can potentially be very dangerous.




Is Rogaine safe to use long term?

We know now that it’s safe to use minoxidil long term. But is Rogaine safe for long term use?

Rogaine is a brand of minoxidil. As such, it is also safe to use Rogaine long term.

The same rules apply to Rogaine as those to general minoxidil. Since Rogaine makes 2% products and 5% products, the 5% strength products might generate more side effects than lower strength products do. But even those side effects are generally very mild and rarely dangerous.


Is minoxidil safe for long term use? Studies

We know that systematic absorption is higher in oral minoxidil than with topical minoxidil solution. This has been shown in multiple studies. This also means that more negative side effects will occur in oral minoxidil than in the topical products.

Thus, it is not unreasonable to take a look at the safety of long term oral minoxidil use. Because if this is deemed to be safe, then topical minoxidil usage will most likely also be safe. (Due to less systematic absorption being involved.)

Image of a red button with the sentence, 'safety first' written on it in white letters.

For the sake of being accurate, we will also take a look at the safety of just topical applied minoxidil.

The following study examined the long-term effects of minoxidil in the treatment of malignant hypertension in chronic renal failure. The mean follow-up time was 20 months. This is what they reasoned in the end.

After 20 months of therapy, all have now had a favorable response, with a mean reduction in MABP of 48 mm Hg, and with no adverse cardiac disturbances.

In addition, the patients with mild azotemia had an improvement in renal function as determined by a reduction in serum creatinine.

PRA (peripheral renin activity) rose with the addition of minoxidil despite therapeutic concentration of serum propranolol and a reduction in MABP and heart rate.

It is concluded that minoxidil is a safe, fast, and effective agent to achieve rapid and sustained control of MABP in malignant hypertensive states associated with chronic renal insufficiency.[1]

Another study examining the long-term treatment of severe hypertension with minoxidil also reached the conclusion that minoxidil seems to be safe over long periods of time. Although they noted that there were some potential, although few side effects. The patients were given 2.5 to 40 mg/d of minoxidil for periods of 2 to 29 months.[2]

This is what they found out:

Blood pressure was controlled satisfactorily in all patients. In two patients the hypertension became partially resistant after 1 year of treatment.

The main side effects were sodium retention, tachycardia and hirsutism.

Renal function remained stable or improved and hemodialysis was discontinued in two patients.

Minoxidil is a remarkably potent hypotensive with relatively few side effects and seems particularly advantageous in patients with chronic renal failure.

A more recent study was published researching the safety of low-dose oral minoxidil for hair loss. The study included 1404 patients. This is their statement:

Low dose oral minoxidil (LDOM) has a good safety profile as a treatment for hair loss.

Systemic adverse effects were infrequent and only 1.7% of patients discontinued treatment owing to adverse effects.



So is it safe to use minoxidil long term?

Yes, minoxidil is safe for long term usage. At least in most cases.

Monitor your side effects, especially for the first few months. If you’ve got no negative side effects by then, chances are large that you can take it for your remaining life if you want to do so.

The only things you should really watch out for is if you’ve got any preexisting heart diseases or if there are negative interactions with other drugs, as this could possibly be very dangerous. But it should be noted that these instances are rare.