Intended for healthcare professionals


Minoxidil lotion over the counter

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 26 August 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:526
  1. Alan B Shrank
  1. Consultant dermatologist Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, Shrewsbury SY3 8XQ

    Hair today and hair tomorrow--but at the price of continuous treatment

    On the advice of the Committee on the Safety of Medicines, the Medicines Control Agency removed the prescription only label from 2% minoxidil lotion and made it available over the counter from pharmacies in January 1995. But it is still not available on prescription from the NHS.

    Once Upjohn has prepared its product for marketing direct to the public, patients will no longer need to badger their general practitioner for private prescriptions. How many hours our general practitioners will save and how much income they will lose are unknown, but those plagued by patients for this drug for male and female baldness will no doubt be relieved.

    The discovery that oral minoxidil induces widespread hirsutism was entirely serendipitous. The mechanism is still obscure, but the logic of seeking a local effect soon followed. Publications in the …

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