The history of minoxidil begins in the 1950s when it was first synthesized by researchers at Upjohn, a pharmaceutical company based in the United States. At the time, the researchers were interested in developing a medication to treat ulcers, but they soon discovered that minoxidil had a significant effect on blood pressure.
In the 1960s, clinical trials began to test minoxidil as an oral medication for hypertension. The trials showed that minoxidil was a powerful vasodilator, which means it could dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure. However, it also had some serious side effects, including fluid retention and hair growth.
In the 1970s, researchers began to investigate the hair growth side effect of minoxidil. They discovered that minoxidil could stimulate hair growth in mice, and they soon began to test it on humans. The first human trial of topical minoxidil was conducted in the late 1970s, and it showed that minoxidil was effective at promoting hair growth in people with alopecia areata.
In 1988, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved topical minoxidil for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness. The approval was based on several clinical trials that showed minoxidil was effective at promoting hair growth in men with hair loss.
Since then, minoxidil has become a widely used treatment for hair loss, and it is available over-the-counter in many countries. It is also used in combination with other hair loss treatments, such as finasteride, to increase their effectiveness.
In recent years, researchers have also begun to investigate the potential use of minoxidil for other conditions, such as wound healing and cardiovascular disease. While the exact mechanisms of action are not yet fully understood, minoxidil's ability to increase blood flow may make it a promising treatment for these and other conditions.