Foaming Rogaine has advantages, expert says

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A foam formulation of the popular hair re-growth aid Rogaine is an effective treatment for hair loss in men and may be safer and easier to apply than the original liquid formulation, a researcher told Reuters Health.

Unlike Rogaine solution, “the foam formulation does not have propylene glycol, an agent that commonly causes irritation and occasionally causes an allergic contact dermatitis,” said Dr. Elise A. Olsen, professor of medicine in the divisions of dermatology and oncology at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.

“Many patients prefer a foam versus a solution that may drip on application to the scalp. The foam is not greasy or drying,” she added.

In the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Olsen and a multicenter team of researchers report results of a clinical trial in which 315 men with hair loss were randomly assigned to foam versions of 5% minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine, or placebo.

After 16 weeks, hair counts in the target area were significantly greater in the 164 men applying Rogaine foam compared with the 151 men applying the placebo foam, the investigators report. With Rogaine foam, there was an average increase in hair counts of 13.4 percent over initial counts, compared with an average increase of only 3.4 percent with placebo.

Moreover, men using Rogaine foam noted an average 70.6 percent increase in hair growth versus 42.2 percent of men on placebo.

Rogaine foam was well tolerated in 143 men who continued using it for up to 52 weeks. There were no significant differences in side effects between the two groups.

The incidence of chronic itching was 1.1 percent versus 6.6 percent seen in a separate study using Rogaine solution.

In “consumer use” studies, Olsen and colleagues note, foam Rogaine was rated significantly higher on several aesthetic attributes compared with Rogaine solution, including “ease of application, lack of dripping, quick absorption and drying, and ability to fit easily into a daily routine.”

The current study was supported by Rogaine maker Pfizer Inc.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, November 2007.