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Rogaine and the Risk of Birth Defects

UPDATED: December 15, 2014

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Rogaine is a popular topical treatment used for hair loss by both men and women. The active ingredient is Minoxidil, which encourages the hair follicles to regrow. It is available as a topical solution and as foam, which is rubbed on to the affected area. The Federal Drug Association (FDA) approved Rogaine for use in 1988, however pregnant women are advised not to use Rogaine while pregnant because of the associated risks.

What Are the Side Effects?

Rogaine can cause side effects for some users. Because it is a topical treatment applied to the scalp and skin, a dry, itchy scalp may result. A patient’s hair might also change in colour or texture. In some infrequent cases, unwanted facial hair has been reported. If this happens, it is recommended that the patient stop using the product and consult their doctor.

Pregnant women are advised not to use Rogaine.

Risk of Birth Defects

Testing has suggested an unborn child can suffer birth defects if Rogaine is used during pregnancy. The FDA has classified the drug as a type C, which means that animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on an animal fetus, but there are no adequate and well-controlled studies of humans to assess the full risk to a human fetus.

Pregnant women should be warned before using this treatment that it could cause harm to their unborn child when used during any part of the pregnancy. Rogaine can be absorbed into the woman’s circulatory systems via her scalp. Low levels of the active ingredient Minoxidil can then transfer to and affect the fetus. Rogaine has been linked to causing the following birth defects:

  • hypertrichosis (unusual growth of hair) of the back and extremities
  • dysmorphic (unusual) facial features
  • uneven fat distribution
  • omphalocele (a type of abdominal wall defect)
  • cardiac anomalies

There are no conclusive studies on the total effects of Rogaine use while pregnant. The potential side effects should be discussed in detail with a doctor to ensure the health of the unborn child is not put at risk.

Consult With An Experienced Injury and Product Liability Attorney

With any medication used to treat a condition, if you suffer an adverse reaction then you should speak to your doctor about it. If you are concerned that you have used Rogaine without adequately knowing the side effects and ultimate consequences of that decision, then you should consult with an experienced injury and product liability attorney.

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