3 Major Medications Causing Hair Loss
The primary purpose of medications is to combat and treat different health conditions but sometimes it performs this purpose and gives us an ugly extra “side effects”
According to research carried out by medical professionals, some drugs have the potential to change your hair texture and color, stimulate hair growth and cause hair loss.
While some people may experience hair loss after taking certain drugs, others may not. This is because drug-induced alopecia depends on the individual’s body system and the type of medication.
According to News Medical “There are two main types of drug-induced hair loss, which include anagen effluvium and telogen effluvium. Anagen effluvium is the loss of actively growing hair, which usually occurs due to chemotherapy medications or as a result of an overdose of arsenic, bismuth, thallium, boric acid, gold, or colchicine.
Comparatively, telogen effluvium is the loss of resting or bulb hair, which is more common and can occur due to many different medications. Anagen effluvium typically occurs more quickly after the initiation of the medication, whereas telogen effluvium can take several months for the effects to become evident”.
Here are 3 drugs that have been known to cause hair loss as a side effect.
Blood pressure medications
Hair loss can be a side effect of medications used for treating high blood pressure.
Researchers have identified a link between high blood pressure medications and hair loss. This is because high blood pressure restricts blood supply to the hair roots. While hair loss is not a forefront symptom of high blood pressure, it’s undeniably the side effects of high blood pressure medications.
It’s true that high blood pressure restricts blood flow to the hair follicles, but most of the time, the real culprit behind the hair loss or receding hairline is the medication. Blood pressure medications like Captopril, lisinopril, metoprolol (brand name Lopressor), timolol (brand name Blocadren), propranolol (brand names Inderal), atenolol (brand name Tenormin), and nadolol (brand name Corgard) contain ingredients that can be the reason behind the hair loss.
Birth Control Medications
Human hair grows in phases and birth control pills boost the transition from Anagen(active phases) to Telogen(resting phases). In simple terms, birth control pills trigger the hair to transit from the growing phase(Anagen) to the resting phase(Telogen) earlier than usual and during this period, the individual loses a handful of hair. This form of hair loss is called telogen effluvium.
According to Healhline “Women who have a family history of hormone-related hair loss may lose hair while on the pill or just after they discontinue it. Some women lose a little bit of hair. Other women lose large clumps of hair or experience a lot of thinning. Hair loss in pregnancy is also hormonally related to hair being in the resting phase for longer periods”.
There are two methods of birth control: hormonal and nonhormonal birth control. Nonhormonal is the birth control method that doesn’t affect women’s hormones.
The culprit behind this hair loss is hormonal birth control pills which contain progestin.
Any hormonal form of birth control — including oral pills, skin patches, hormone injections, and implants — can potentially cause hair loss. The ingredient in these products that may cause hair loss is progestin(Medical News Today)
Individuals who are experiencing large amounts of hair loss due to hormonal birth control are always advised to switch to non hormonal form of birth control. Another option is to take pills that contain lower androgenic activity. Your doctor should be able to give you professional medical advice on the best birth control method to choose if you are prone to hair loss.
Hair loss is a common side effect of nonsteroidal anti – inflammatory(NSAID) drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen which can all affect normal hair growth and ultimately lead to hair fall.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) is used to treat mild to moderate pain, and helps to relieve symptoms of arthritis (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or juvenile arthritis), such as inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and joint pain.
The ingredients in most NSAID drugs including ibuprofen and aspirin temporarily affect hair growth which can be reversed if stopped. While there is no other way to reverse or stop these side effects apart from discontinuing the drug, don’t stop taking your medication until you consult with your doctor or healthcare provider.
According to Medical News today, other drugs associated with telogen hair loss include:
- angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- antidepressants, including paroxetine (Paxil), fluoxetine (Prozac), and sertraline (Zoloft)
- antifungal medications
- anti seizure medications
- beta-blockers, which doctors use to treat heart problems and glaucoma
- blood thinners, including heparin (the brand name depends on the form) and warfarin (Coumadin)
- cholesterol lowering drugs, such as clofibrate (Atromid-S) and gemfibrozil (Lopid)
- drugs for the treatment of thyroid problems
- famotidine (Pepcid) and other medications that treat stomach problems
- hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- isotretinoin (Accutane) and other vitamin A-based medications
- levodopa (Atamet) and other medications for Parkinson’s disease
If you are experiencing hair loss due to certain medication, the best step to take is to contact a doctor who may Lower the dosage or prescribe an alternative drugs or take any other medical decision in the best interest of your health.