Many people take prescription medications for a variety of reasons but you might be surprised to learn that several prescription meds can cause or trigger hair loss. These drugs can cause temporary or permanent hair loss and may even trigger the onset of male and female pattern baldness.
If you’re experiencing hair loss it’s important to determine if a medication that you are taking could be the cause. If you are prescribed a medication, do your homework. Research the drug’s warnings and talk to you pharmacist about any concerns you may have regarding the medication’s side effects or look up your medications in a guidebook or on an online database like drugs.com.
If you suspect a medication you take is causing a hair loss, you should not stop taking it. Suddenly stopping a medication can cause serious side effects. Instead, have a conversation with your doctor and ask if there are any alternatives to the specific medication that does not affect the hair.
Many drugs used for cancer treatment can cause hair loss. Common chemotherapy drugs that cause hair loss include methotrexate, cyclophosphamide, bleomycin, doxorubicin, mitomycin, cytarabine, vinblastine and vincristine, among others. However, medications prescribed for other conditions ranging from depression to inflammation can also contribute to hair loss.
According to the American Hair Loss Association, the drugs listed below (by category, according to the conditions they treat) have been known to cause hair loss:
All drugs derived from vitamin A as treatments for acne or other conditions, including:
Anticoagulants (blood thinners), including:
Cholesterol-lowering drugs, including:
The beta-blocker drugs, including:
Many drugs prescribed for the heart, including those known as the beta blockers, which are also used to treat high blood pressure, and include:
High Blood Pressure
See above list of beta blockers under “Heart”
All hormone-containing drugs and drugs prescribed for hormone-related, reproductive, male-specific, and female-specific conditions and situations have the potential to cause hair loss, including:
Many anti-inflammatory drugs, including those prescribed for localized pain, swelling and injury.
An anti-inflammatory that is also used as a chemotherapy drug:
Many of the drugs used to treat indigestion, stomach difficulties, and ulcers, including over-the-counter dosages and prescription dosages.