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What Medications Cause Hair Loss or Thinning?

Are you experiencing thinning hair or unexplained hair loss? It could be due to prescription drugs or certain medications you're taking. While side effects are a price we pay for taking prescription medications, knowing how different medicines can cause hair loss is essential to know how to deal with the situation.

Let's dive into the various medications that can cause hair loss or hair thinning and look into potential treatments that can stop hair loss due to medication.

How can drugs cause hair loss?

Medications can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle by messing up our hair follicles. The result is hair becoming weaker or falling out.

Two kinds of hair loss may occur: telogen effluvium, which is short-term and temporary hair loss, and anagen effluvium, a longer-term type of hair loss.

Can Arthritis drugs cause hair loss?

Living with arthritis can be a pain, but certain medications that we take to relieve the pain can lead to drug-induced alopecia.

Methotrexate

A common drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis is methotrexate. It's a DMARD or disease-modifying antirheumatic drug that has been shown to cause hair loss in some patients. A British study showed that hair loss was reported in 8% of people out of 1,069 RA patients.

Leflunomide

Leflunomide is another DMARD that's also linked to hair thinning. It may not be as widely used today, but in the past, patients would report hair fall after taking Leflunomide.

What Blood Pressure drugs cause hair loss?

High blood pressure is a serious condition that requires medication to control. The problem is the prescription drugs used to lower our blood pressure can lead to hair loss.

Beta-blockers

Beta-blockers are usually prescribed to treat high blood pressure and have been linked to hair thinning. Some examples are:

  • Timolol (Blocadren)

  • Metoprolol (Lopressor)

  • Propranolol (Inderal)

  • Nadolol (Corgard)

  • Atenolol (Tenormin)

ACE inhibitors

ACE inhibitors help relax veins and arteries, which effectively lower blood pressure. These can cause hair loss. Some examples:

  • Lisinopril (Zestril)

  • Captopril (Capoten)

  • Enalapril (Vasotec)

What Seizure medications cause hair loss?

While seizure medications are great at preventing seizures, they can come with a trade-off: hair loss. The most common anti-seizure drugs linked to hair loss are valproate and carbamazepine.

Can Antacids cause hair loss?

Heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux are challenging to bear. Antacids are our usual solution, but did you know some antacids can cause hair thinning?

Common ulcer medications that may cause alopecia are Tagamet, Zantac, and Pepcid.

Can Lupus treatment drugs cause hair loss?

Lupus treatment prescription medications play a vital role in managing the symptoms of this autoimmune condition, but unfortunately, these drugs may wreak havoc on the hair follicles.

Medications used to treat Lupus may lead to hair loss. Some examples:

  • Prednisone

  • Imuran

  • Rheumatrex

  • Cellcept

  • Cytoxan

  • Lupkynis

  • Plaquenil

  • Calcineurin

Do Cholesterol-lowering drugs cause hair loss?

Cholesterol-lowering drugs can be a lifesaver if you have heart disease, but you risk losing your hair in the process.

Statin drugs like Zocor and Lipitor have been reported to cause hair thinning.

What diabetes medications cause hair loss?

Managing diabetes involves taking various medications. Some of these have been reported to cause hair thinning.

Does metformin cause hair loss?

Metformin is a commonly prescribed drug for managing type 2 diabetes. However, patients are concerned about its potential connection to hair thinning.

A 2017 report showed that a 69-year-old man with type 2 diabetes lost his eyebrows and eyelashes. He took metformin and another drug for diabetes called sitagliptin. Since this study involved one person, the results are inconclusive on whether or not metformin can cause hair thinning.

What drugs can cause hair loss in men?

bald and bearded man looking at his scalp in the mirror

Men, are you noticing something wrong with your hair cycle? Is your hairline receding or hair thinning? Certain medications may be the culprit. Drugs commonly used to treat arthritis, high blood pressure, and seizures have been known to cause hair thinning in men. For bodybuilders, anabolic steroids may cause hair thinning.

What are drug-induced hair loss in women?

woman holding a lump of hair on one hand and a hair brush in another hand

Ladies, don't worry if you are experiencing unexplained hair loss. Drug-induced hair loss is also common in women. From arthritis drugs, hormone replacement therapy, and birth control pills to diabetes medications, these can all cause female pattern hair loss.

How do you treat drug-induced hair loss?

Now that we know the usual suspects or medications causing hair loss let's discuss treatment options for new hair growth.

Rogaine

photo of Rogaine drops

If you want to reverse hair loss. Rogaine is a popular solution. It's an over-the-counter solution proven and tested to treat male pattern baldness. It relaxes the blood vessels, which makes it easier for blood to reach your scalp.

Finasteride

Finasteride, or Propecia, is a medication that treats drug-induced alopecia. Be patient with this treatment since it may take three months of daily intake to notice new hair growth. If you stop taking Propecia, the effect will be reversed in a year.

Hair Shaving: Natural and Drug-Free Solution to Drug-Induced Hair Loss

bald man smiling while holding his rotary shaver

If you are experiencing drug-induced alopecia or temporary hair loss, there's a stylish and safe solution to your drug-related hair loss problem: Hair Shaving!

Treating drug-induced alopecia with more drugs may not sit well with many of you, as we are already aware of the potential side effects these drugs bring with them.

Why not be brave enough to rock the bald look like me? There are patients starting chemotherapy who are bold enough to shave off their hair while undergoing treatment.

If you decide to join the Smooth Dome Club, you need one of the best shavers to help you embrace your bald look confidently.

The Freebird FlexSeries is one of the top rotary shavers on the market today, and it works well even for those with sensitive skin.

Conclusion

Drug-induced hair loss or thinning can be distressing. It can add more stress to the condition you are already treating with medications.

Now that you know what drugs potentially cause hair loss, you can manage and treat your condition using the abovementioned treatment recommendations.

It's time to take control of your health and say farewell to drug-induced alopecia for good.

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