What is Minoxidil?

Minoxidil (chemical formula: C9H15N5O), is a white to off-white coloured crystalline solid. It does not mix well in water, but is soluble in alcohol and propylene glycol. 

What is Minoxidil used for?

Minoxidil is most commonly used to treat hair loss—available in both a topical over the counter treatment (liquid or foam), as well as a prescription only tablet. 

Minoxidil is also used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension), but it is only recommended in severe cases after other options have failed to respond, as the drug comes with a number of side effects. 

Minoxidil can be quite effective at helping to regrow hair, however continued use is necessary to maintain these results 
Minoxidil can be quite effective at helping to regrow hair, however continued use is necessary to maintain these results 

Minoxidil Hazards

The routes of exposure for minoxidil include inhalation, ingestion and skin and eye contact. 

Inhalation of minoxidil may produce irritation of the respiratory tract in some people. Individuals with existing respiratory diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis as well as circulatory/nervous system or kidney damage, may incur further disablement if excessive concentrations are inhaled. 

Ingestion of minoxidil may be harmful—less than 150g is expected to cause fatality or serious harm. Symptoms may include flushing of the face, feeling hot, pounding of the head, swollen ankles, headache, low blood pressure, palpitation, dizziness and fatigue. High doses can cause skin damage, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, jaundice, ulcers, impaired liver function and loss of appetite  

Skin exposure to minoxidil can cause skin inflammation as well as worsen existing dermatitis in some people. Other negative health effects can result following absorption, so open cuts and wounds should be protected adequately to ensure the substance does not enter the bloodstream. 

Eye exposure to minoxidil may cause eye irritation and damage in some individuals.

Minoxidil Safety

If inhaled, remove the patient from the contaminated area to the nearest fresh air source. Lay the patient down and keep them warm and rested. If the patient is not breathing and you are qualified to do so, perform CPR, preferably with a bag-valve mask device. Transport to hospital without delay. 

If swallowed, urgent hospital treatment is likely to be required. Personnel qualified in first-aid should observe and treat the patient in the meantime. If medical attention is more than 15 minutes away, inducing vomiting may be recommended. It is important that the patient is leaned forward or placed on their left side during this process in order to prevent aspiration. 

If skin exposure occurs, immediately remove all contaminated clothing and footwear and flush the affected area with plenty of soap and water. Seek medical attention in the event of irritation. 

If the minoxidil is exposed to the eyes, flush the eyes out immediately with fresh running water, remembering to wash under the eyelids. Contact lenses should only be removed by skilled personnel. Seek medical attention without delay. 

Minoxidil Safety Handling

Emergency eyewash fountains and safety showers should be accessible near the area of the potential exposure to the chemical and there should always be adequate ventilation to remove or dilute any air contaminants to prevent overexposure (install local exhaust if necessary). 

The PPE recommended when handling minoxidil includes chemical goggles, face shields, half to full face filter dust respirators, PVC/rubber gloves, full body protective suits, head coverings, safety footwear and protective shoe covers. 

Always refer to the SDS before handling minoxidil to ensure you prevent any hazardous consequences. Click here for a trial of our SDS Management Software or contact us at sales@chemwatch.net for more information about our chemicals management solutions.