Minoxidil and its use in hair disorders: a review

Drug Des Devel Ther. 2019 Aug 9:13:2777-2786. doi: 10.2147/DDDT.S214907. eCollection 2019.


Minoxidil was first introduced as an antihypertensive medication and the discovery of its common adverse event, hypertrichosis, led to the development of a topical formulation for promoting hair growth. To date, topical minoxidil is the mainstay treatment for androgenetic alopecia and is used as an off-label treatment for other hair loss conditions. Despite its widespread application, the exact mechanism of action of minoxidil is still not fully understood. In this article, we aim to review and update current information on the pharmacology, mechanism of action, clinical efficacy, and adverse events of topical minoxidil.

Keywords: alopecia; beard; eyebrow; hair loss; hair shaft disorders; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antihypertensive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antihypertensive Agents / chemistry
  • Antihypertensive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Hair / drug effects*
  • Hair / metabolism
  • Hair / pathology
  • Humans
  • Hypertrichosis / chemically induced
  • Minoxidil / administration & dosage
  • Minoxidil / chemistry
  • Minoxidil / pharmacology*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Sulfotransferases / metabolism


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Minoxidil
  • Sulfotransferases