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What Medications Can Trigger Hair Loss?

December 3, 2013

Posted in Male Hair Loss, Male Pattern Baldness, Thinning Hair, Women's Hair Loss

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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:

 

Acne
All drugs derived from vitamin A as treatments for acne or other conditions, including:

  • Accutane (isotretinoin)

Blood
Anticoagulants (blood thinners), including:

  • Panwarfin (warfarin sodium)
  • Sofarin (warfarin sodium)
  • Coumadin (warfarin sodium)
  • Heparin injections

Cholesterol
Cholesterol-lowering drugs, including:

  • Atronid-S (clofibrate)
  • Lopid (gemfibrozil)

Convulsions/ Epilepsy

  • Anticonvulsants, including:
  • Tridone (trimethadione)

Depression

  • Antidepression drugs, including:
  • Prozac (fluoxetine hydrochloride)
  • Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride)
  • Paxil (paroxetine)
  • Anafranil (clomipramine)
  • Janimine (imipramine)
  • Tofranil (imipramine)
  • Tofranil PM (imipramine)
  • Adapin (doxepin)
  • Sinequan (doxepin)
  • Surmontil (trimipramine)
  • Pamelor (nortriptyline)
  • Ventyl (nortriptyline)
  • Elavin (amitriptyline)
  • Endep (amitriptyline)
  • Norpramin (desipramine)
  • Pertofrane (desipramine)
  • Vivactil (protriptyline hydrochloride)
  • Asendin (amoxapine)
  • Haldol ( haloperidol)

Diet

  • Amphetamines

Fungus

  • Antifungals

Glaucoma
The beta-blocker drugs, including:

  • Timoptic Eye Drops (timolol)
  • Timoptic Ocudose (timolol)
  • Timoptic XC (timolol)

Gout

  • Lopurin (allopurinol)
  • Zyloprim (allopurinol)

Heart
Many drugs prescribed for the heart, including those known as the beta blockers, which are also used to treat high blood pressure, and include:

  • Tenormin (atenolol)
  • Lopressor (metoprolol)
  • Corgard (nadolol)
  • Inderal and Inderal LA (propanolol)
  • Blocadren (timolol)

High Blood Pressure
See above list of beta blockers under “Heart”

Hormonal Conditions
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:

  • Birth Control Pills
  • Hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) for women (estrogen or progesterone)
  • Male androgenic hormones and all forms of testosterone
  • Anabolic steriods
  • Prednisone and other steroids

Inflammation
Many anti-inflammatory drugs, including those prescribed for localized pain, swelling and injury.

  • Arthritis drugs
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs including:
  • Naprosyn (naproxen)
  • Anaprox (naproxen)
  • Anaprox DS (naproxen)
  • Indocin (indomethacin)
  • Indocin SR (indomethacin)
  • Clinoril (sulindac)

An anti-inflammatory that is also used as a chemotherapy drug:

  • Methotrexate (MTX)
  • Rheumatex (methotrexate)
  • Folex (methotrexate)

Parkinson’s Disease

  • Levadopa / L-dopa (dopar, larodopa)

Thyroid Disorders

  • Many of the drugs used to treat the thyroid

Ulcer
Many of the drugs used to treat indigestion, stomach difficulties, and ulcers, including over-the-counter dosages and prescription dosages.

  • Tagamet (cimetidine)
  • Zantac (ranitidine)
  • Pepcid (famotidine)

About the author

Hair Restoration Expert Founded in 1976 by Sy Sperling, Hair Club is the leader in hair restoration and the largest company in the industry. Hair Club offers all proven hair loss solutions, including Hair Transplants, EXT® Extreme Hair Therapy & Non-Surgical Hair Replacements. Currently, Hair Club has 100 locations throughout North America.

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