Nobody wants to deal with hair loss, especially without even knowing that it was caused by medication. We at Doctall care about you and your health, so we have compiled a list of medications that can cause hair loss some of these medications that cause hair loss are a result of side effects that aren’t known.
Drugs cause hair loss by interfering with the normal cycle of scalp hair growth. The hair grows during the anagen phase, which lasts for two to seven years.
The hair rests during the telogen phase, which lasts about three months. At the end of the telogen phase, the hair falls out and is replaced by new hair.
Medications can lead to two types of hair loss: telogen effluvium and anagen effluvium.
- Telogen effluvium is the most common form of drug-induced hair loss. It usually appears within 2 to 4 months after taking the drug. This condition causes the hair follicles to go into their resting phase (telogen) and fall out too early. People with telogen effluvium usually shed between 30% to 70% more than the normal 100 and 150 hairs a day.
- Anagen effluvium is hair loss that occurs during the anagen phase of the hair cycle when the hairs are actively growing. It prevents the matrix cells, which produce new hairs, from dividing normally. This type of hair loss usually occurs within a few days to weeks after taking the medication. It’s most common in people who are taking chemotherapy drugs for cancer and is often severe, causing people to lose most or all of the hair on their head and their eyebrows, eyelashes, and other body hairs.
The severity of drug-induced hair loss depends on the type of drug and dosage, as well as your sensitivity to that drug.
Drugs that cause hair loss
Different types of drugs are thought to cause hair loss, including:
- Acne medications containing vitamin A (retinoids)
- Antibiotics and antifungal drugs
- Birth control pills
- Anti Clotting drugs
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs
- Drugs that suppress the immune system
- Drugs that treat breast cancer and other cancers
- Epilepsy drugs (anticonvulsants)
- High blood pressure medications (anti-hypertensives), such as beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics.
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Mood stabilizers
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Parkinson’s disease drugs
- Tamoxifen blocks the estrogen receptor to prevent breast cancer.
- Thyroid medications
- Weight loss drugs
How can it be treated?
It’s important to review any medications you take and discuss their potential side effects with your doctor. When hair loss does occur from a drug you’re taking, there is a good chance that the hair will grow back on its own after you stop taking the medication.
If stopping the drug does not improve hair thinning, you may need to be treated with finasteride (Propecia) or minoxidil (Rogaine), medications that slow hair loss and can stimulate new hair growth.