Active Ingredient History
Minoxidil is an orally effective direct acting peripheral vasodilator that reduces elevated systolic and diastolic blood pressure by decreasing peripheral vascular resistance. Minoxidil is also used topically to treat androgenetic alopecia. Microcirculatory blood flow in animals is enhanced or maintained in all systemic vascular beds. In man, forearm and renal vascular resistance decline; forearm blood flow increases while renal blood flow and glomerular filtration rate are preserved. The predominant site of minoxidil action is arterial. Venodilation does not occur with minoxidil; thus, postural hypotension is unusual with its administration. The antihypertensive activity of minoxidil is due to its sulphate metabolite, minoxidil sulfate. Minoxidil is thought to promote the survival of human dermal papillary cells (DPCs) or hair cells by activating both extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and Akt and by preventing cell death by increasing the ratio of BCl-2/Bax. Minoxidil may stimulate the growth of human hairs by prolonging anagen through these proliferative and anti-apoptotic effects on DPCs. Minoxidil, when used as a vasodilator, acts by opening adenosine triphosphate-sensitive potassium channels in vascular smooth muscle cells. This vasodilation may also improve the viability of hair cells or hair follicles. Minoxidil is used for the treatment of severe hypertension and in the topical treatment (regrowth) of androgenic alopecia in males and females and stabilisation of hair loss in patients with androgenic alopecia. NCATS
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