Minoxidil use after ages 65: Should I just go for it?

Minoxidil (Rogaine, etc) is FDA approved for ages 18-65


I'm often asked by patients if they should just give minoxidil a 'try'. Give it a 'go'. I respond that minoxidil can certainly be helpful but minoxidil is certainly not for everyone.

Minoxidil is FDA approved for men and women 18-65 with a type of hair loss known as androgenetic hair loss. If an individual has some other hair loss condition besides androgenetic hair loss (there are actually dozens of other kinds) and if the individual is over 65, they should check with their physician if minoxidil is safe or not.


Minoxidil is not for everyone

I don't prescribe minoxidil if:

1.     the patient has heart problems, especially ischemic type heart disease or certain types of heart failure

2. the patient has heart rhythm issues (like atrial fibrillation)

3. the patient has certain internal conditions (like pheochromocytoma)

4. the individual has allergies to any of the components of minoxidil, such as propylene glycol in minoxidil solution or allergy to the minoxidil itself


Final Comments:

Minoxidil has a good safety profile and that has lead to its availability as an over the counter product.  But minoxidil is not for everyone. An 82 year old patient with heart failure and two previous heart attacks is not a candidate for minoxidil. A patient with hair loss due to dissecting cellulitis of the scalp (a different condition than genetic hair loss), will likely find little to no use from minoxidil application. Minoxidil is not for everyone.


Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887

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