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Minoxidil-Is A Full Head of Hair Worth Possible Serious Side Effects?

 
 
Reply Thu 13 Nov, 2008 06:20 am
Many guys with balding pates attempt to correct this condition by rubbing Minoxidil (Rogaine) into their scalps. Sounds innocuous enough.

My kid brother, vain little creature that he is, had been using Minoxidil. Some months ago, he had to have a CT scan of his back. The radiologists found that in his body, many of his lymph nodes were swollen. In addition, he had noticed some bumps on his head.

This led to a number of months of extreme anxiety, as there was lymphoma in the family. After he stopped using the Minoxidil, he noticed that the bumps were receding. When we went for a biopsy, the surgeon told him that what he had was not enough to biopsy.

So he did some research, and came up with this article from the University of Maryland Medical Center:


http://www.umm.edu:80/altmed/drugs/minoxidil-087800.htm

Quote:
Topical: Incidence of adverse events is not always reported.

Cardiovascular: Increased left ventricular end-diastolic volume, increased cardiac output, increased left ventricular mass, dizziness, tachycardia, edema, transient chest pain, palpitation, increase or decrease in blood pressure, increase or decrease in pulse rate (1.5%, placebo 1.6%)

Central nervous system: Headache, dizziness, taste alterations, faintness, lightheadedness (3.4%, placebo 3.5%), vertigo (1.2%, placebo 1.2%), anxiety (rare), mental depression (rare), fatigue (rare 0.4%, placebo 1%)

Dermatologic: Local irritation, dryness, erythema, allergic contact dermatitis (7.4%, placebo 5.4%), pruritus, scaling/flaking, eczema, seborrhea, papular rash, folliculitis, local erythema, flushing, exacerbation of hair loss, alopecia, hypertrichosis, increased hair growth outside the area of application (face, beard, eyebrows, ear, arm)

Endocrine & metabolic: Menstrual changes, breast symptoms (0.5%, placebo 0.5%)

Gastrointestinal: Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting (4.3%, placebo 6.6%), weight gain (1.2%, placebo 1.3%)

Genitourinary: Urinary tract infection (rare), renal calculi (rare), urethritis (rare), prostatitis (rare), epididymitis (rare), impotence (rare)

Hematologic: Lymphadenopathy, thrombocytopenia, anemia (0.3%, placebo 0.6%)

Neuromuscular & skeletal: Fractures, back pain, retrosternal chest pain of muscular origin, tendonitis (2.6%, placebo 2.2%), weakness

Ocular: Conjunctivitis, visual disturbances, decreased visual acuity

Respiratory: Bronchitis, upper respiratory infection, sinusitis (7.2%, placebo 8.6%)




http://www.umm.edu/altmed/drugs/minoxidil-087800.htm


Seems like some people are taking an awful lot of risk for a bit more hair. IMO, it is one thing to risk medication side effects when you need a drug to control a disease. It is quite another to put yourself in harm's way for a bit of vanity. I think that it is also unconscionable, that the risks of Minoxidil are not reported to the public, in a way that people will understand the implications. I would bet that most people don't read the leaflets that come with many medical products.

If it were me, I would buy a wig, if I were reallly upset about baldness.

What do you think?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 8 • Views: 50,665 • Replies: 23
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Nov, 2008 06:36 am
@Phoenix32890,
If you quit using the stuff, your new found pelt falls out, right? I've heard that, and the stuff isn't cheap.

I couldn't take much risk at all for a cosmetic gain, but that's just me.
Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Nov, 2008 07:01 am
I went the whole hog today and got the thinning "pelt" completely shaved off. Bought myself a head razor to keep it that way. The more I let mine grow, the more obvious the thinning is and the older I look. I actually look younger with it all gone. If I had lot's of cash, I might go the transplant route, but I'd never go drugs or chemicals. Scalp feels really weird right now!
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Nov, 2008 07:23 am
@Wilso,
http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/b32fc656576b1b106e47643dad5985f6?r=R&d=identicon&s=180I like the new look, takes years off your face.
Bald men can be sexy or at least dignified, I think that's impossible with a comb over. Vanity has often killed people. Today we just have more options.
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Nov, 2008 09:04 am
@roger,
Rog- I believe that if you stop using the product, you lose any benefit from it that you have gotten beforehand.
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Nov, 2008 09:08 am
@Wilso,
Wilso-I think that shaving off thinning hair looks, in most men, better than an obviously thinning pate.

As far as transplants, have you ever seen someone on TV with a transplant? The hair is set in the head in clumps, which makes the person look like he has a doll's head. I would suppose that if you transplanted a tremendous amount of clumps, the look would be better, but it would be wildly expensive.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Nov, 2008 09:10 am
@Phoenix32890,
The risks have probably been under-reported but they've been reported. It's one reason my husband won't use Rogaine.
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Nov, 2008 09:21 am
@sozobe,
Soz- Maybe I had not been paying attention, but this was the first time that I had heard of the risks. I would bet that there are plenty of customers who also don't know that problems that are possible with this product.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Nov, 2008 11:02 am
@Wilso,
Wilso wrote:

I went the whole hog today and got the thinning "pelt" completely shaved off. Bought myself a head razor to keep it that way. The more I let mine grow, the more obvious the thinning is and the older I look. I actually look younger with it all gone.

That's the route I took. I found that shaving was too much trouble, though, as the stubble was irritating. I keep it trimmed to about 1/8 inch.
0 Replies
 
Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Nov, 2008 03:21 pm
@Phoenix32890,
Phoenix32890 wrote:

Wilso-I think that shaving off thinning hair looks, in most men, better than an obviously thinning pate.

As far as transplants, have you ever seen someone on TV with a transplant? The hair is set in the head in clumps, which makes the person look like he has a doll's head. I would suppose that if you transplanted a tremendous amount of clumps, the look would be better, but it would be wildly expensive.


Cheap transplants look like that. I've also seen really good ones, and they look completely natural.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2008 08:51 am
@Phoenix32890,
The answer is right there " the % of side effects is very small " in the case of the issue of your brother it is less than 1%. Many of these side effects will go away once you stop taking or using the drug. So why not try, if you get a side effect and it is something you cannot live with you stop taking it?

I do think it is important though that a doctor clearly explain the side effects and how serious they are so the individual using the drug can make an informed decision. I did date a guy that used either minoxidil or rogaine and he never had a side effect. Don’t think it did him a lot of good " I believe this drug does not restore hair growth, but prevents future hair loss. And yes the stuff isn’t cheap! But those men, especially younger men, will do almost anything not to lose their hair.

Almost any sort of drug or medical procedure has potential side effects. I know some one who had to recently take penicillin. Granted this is different because the risk of not taking would be far worse than most of the side effects, but one side effect was hair growth on your tongue!

If people were not so vain, there would not be many plastic surgeons " I would imagine there are more serious side effects with many plastic surgeries than minoxidil, but yet it is a booming industry.
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2008 09:39 am
@Linkat,
Linkat- You are absolutely right. The risk is small. But is it worth taking any risk for some HAIR????

In my brother's case, he went through a few months of agonizing anxiety worrying that he had cancer. Now, does anybody really know the long term effects of Rogaine? I don't think so.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2008 11:10 am
@Phoenix32890,
Yeah - that is why I stated about plastic surgery - there is far more risk in that and yet people do it.

If some one wants to risk there life whether the chance is less than 1% or much greater to simply look better, I guess it is their choice. Each person has their own set of priorities. My greater concern was did the doctor sit down with your brother and explain all the risks? Did the doctor direct him to read about the risks before making this decision?

Even in the case of the pencillin I mentioned above, the doctor did not explain, but my friend read it. She then called her doctor and the doctor explained that the risk of this occurring is very small so she didn't mention it.
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2008 12:50 pm
@Linkat,
Linkat- As far as plastic surgery is concerned, a person would have had to have lived his life as a hermit in a cave, if he were unaware of the risks of ANY operation.

Something like Rogaine is quite different. I think that a lot of people, if they are attuned to possible risks at all, might consider a topical cream as very innocuous. Until I understood about the possibilities of the side effects of Rogaine, I thought that the worst that could happen, was that if you were allergic to it, you might get a rash.

IMO it would be very sensible for pharmacists to point out possible problems when people purchase the item.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2008 01:24 pm
@Phoenix32890,
Again many cosmetic type items have serious side effects. Do you that repeated heavy use of benzoyl peroxide (c0mmonly used by teens to treat acne) has potential serious side effects? It is capable of producing free radicals. The effect of this is rather similar to exposing oneself to sunlight without any protection from sun block.

Minocycline another acne treatment may be responsible for various pulmonary complications as well as possible contraction of Sweet’s syndrome; a condition in which painful red nodules arise on various parts of the body and is also generally accompanied by fever and malaise. There may be a low risk related to prolonged use of minocycline for developing a lupus like condition.

Just go to the health and beauty section and almost any sort of item OTC or prescription that is considered "safe" and many used only for cosmetic purposes with have a side effect or two.

I did also say above that the doctor should have discussed any possible side effects. I know whenever my children are giving shots or anything else, they discuss any side effects no matter how unlikely (and they also let me know how unlikely). Also as I said before my friend was never told that pencillin could make your tongue hairy - but she read the side effects and saw it there - to which when asked the doctor confirmed it is a side effect, but so remote in her opinion it wasn't worth mentioning.

Maybe (right or wrong) the doctor and/or pharmacist did not tell your brother all the side effects because many were so remote an unlikely. Usually I know what happens when I go to the pharmacist - they ask do I have any questions - I say no and then sign away and I am on my way.
0 Replies
 
prince4855
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 01:26 pm
@Phoenix32890,
My first time use of Rogaine is still haunting my physical condition as I write this note. I received Rogaine as a gift and since I was getting thin on top at the rear of my head I decided to give it a whirl. I used the product without side effects for about a month and it seemed as though I had new little hairs resurfacing in the bald area. That was fine, but my mistake was to double up a little on the recommended dosage!

What happened to me then is still ongoing. I developed what I guess you could call a Rogaine burn on the back of my head. The pus was just running down my head where I almost had to carry a kleenex to keep it under control. I purchased some Neutrogena T-Gel Medicated Shampoo over the counter to get it under control, but now with regular shampoos I still can't seem to knock it out! After I shampoo I still have scratchy scabs that reform, but gradually the area seems to be getting smaller! Hopefully, it will continue.

Another side effect I am still having because I beleive the Rogaine is still eating at my head even though I discontinued useage a couple of months ago; my ears sometime swell and get pusie! Lordie, this is like the gift that keeps on giving, but it does look like I have less of a bald spot now Smile ! Watchout, this stuff is really toxic to sensitive scalps!!!

The Prince.....

Thought some of this info would have
0 Replies
 
hisabisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Sep, 2012 06:44 am
Just wanted to put in my two cents. I am a girl with alopecia, and two years ago lost 60% of my hair, used minoxidil and quite a lot of it to grow it back succesfully. It took 9 months of application (2%) morning and night with zero change, but then I woke up with peach fuzz and it kept on growing and I did not have to continue using the product. Currently have a full head of hair.

However. I chalked up not being able to walk up stairs without getting dizzy, the crazy heart palpitations, sleeplessness and general inability to concentrate combined with anxiety during those nine months to the 'stress' of being a bald young female. But no. It was the minoxidil, for certain, and I still have these side effects periodically, two years later. Once every two or three months they crop up. I am beginning to think that the minoxidil permanently changed something. And....for me, that's ok. I can manage the palpitations and anxiety, and just am so grateful to have hair. But for guys, and especially because I think bald guys are sexy--think twice about this, and if you go forward use a low dosage and you only need one tiny drop to cover the area of your palm, the stuff is oily and migrates a lot. Also, as to those claims about diminishing libido, in retrospect, yeah, that happened too.
0 Replies
 
Mark Waldman
 
  0  
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2014 10:21 am
Actually, looking at the data you provided, placebo has worse side effects! seems pretty safe to me!!!!
0 Replies
 
bobsal u1553115
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2014 10:32 am
I understand why people would use risky and sometime quackish medical treatments to cure, stop, reduce slow baldness. The issue has changed to how few men wear wigs as opposed to the fifties and how many shave their heads.

It seems like there are nowhere number of wig shops and wig advertizements there were when I was younger. Back then if you were totally bald you also had a big mustache and worked as a circus strongman or an executioner in the movies.
0 Replies
 
clasinia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Oct, 2016 09:18 am
@Phoenix32890,
I'm glad you posted this but it bothers me that you call your brother, "vain." Hair does have a whole lot to do with how one looks. I am a woman and not overly concerned about my hair, but I would definitely NOT want to be bald. Let's not be judgy. Hair loss is a big deal.
 

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