Drug-Induced Hair Loss: Can Drugs Cause Hair Loss?

Drug-induced hair loss

Drug-induced hair lossThere are many causes of balding, from genetics to stress, but are there medications that can cause hair loss too? Nowadays, many people take at least one medication regularly. While medication can often solve health problems and improve our life, side effects are always a possibility. For people that are losing their hair, is it possible they are experiencing drug-induced hair loss as a side effect?

Can Drugs Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, in some circumstances, drugs can cause hair loss. While it isn’t the most common type of hair loss, drug-induced hair loss is a real possibility. Healthy, growing hair is dependent on many factors, including hormone levels and the functioning of the body. Medications can have a lot of effects on our body, including causing toxicity to certain parts or changes in our hormone levels. What this means is that a wide range of commonly prescribed medications can cause hair loss.

How Do Drugs Cause Hair Loss?

Most of the time, drug-induced hair loss is temporary, although in rare instances, some hair loss could be permanent. Drugs typically cause one of two types of hair loss:

1. Telogen Effluvium:

With this type of hair loss, drugs cause hair follicles to enter a resting state, which leads to an increase in the number of hair being shed. Typically, this type of hair loss occurs several months after starting a medication. It is similar to the balding caused by stress and usually temporary.

2. Anagen Effluvium:

This type of hair loss affects hair that is actively growing, causing it to fall out. This is a severe form of hair loss which usually causes the loss of all or a significant amount of a person’s hair. It usually occurs within a couple weeks of taking the medication responsible. People undergoing chemotherapy experience this hair loss as well. Luckily, it’s also usually only temporary.

Medications can cause these types of hair loss by interfering with your hair cycle, changing hormone levels, or being toxic and damaging your hair cells.

What Type of Medications Cause Hair Loss?

Many different types of drugs can cause hair loss. Some of the drugs commonly associated with hair loss include:

  • Acne medications
  • Anticoagulants, which are blood thinners
  • Anticonvulsants, which are commonly prescribed for treating seizures
  • Antidepressants, which are commonly prescribed for mental illness
  • Beta blockers, which are commonly prescribed for cardiac conditions
  • Birth control pills
  • Cholesterol medication
  • Male sex hormones, including testosterone and other anabolic steroids
  • Female sex hormones, including estrogen and progesterone
  • Immunosuppressant drugs, which are commonly prescribed for a range of diseases and autoimmune conditions
  • Thyroid medication
  • Vitamin A
  • Weight loss medication

Drug-Induced Hair Loss Treatment in GTA

If you want to say goodbye to your drug-induced alopecia, then a good place is to start is with the medication you’re taking. Often, the best drug-induced hair loss treatment is to simply stop using the specific drug. However, you should never stop taking medication that has been prescribed to you without consulting your doctor; they prescribed it for a reason and it may be important for your health. Speak with your doctor about the side effects that you have experienced since you began taking the medication. There may be alternative options to explore, or you may be able to stop taking the medication if it’s not vital for your health.

However, you should also see a hair loss specialist to confirm that your balding is drug-induced and to explore possible treatment options. Sometimes, a specialist may have drug-induced hair loss treatments that you can use to regain a full head of hair. In other instances, you may believe your hair loss is drug-induced, but it is actually be caused by something else; only by consulting with the right hair loss specialist can you be sure.

For a free hair loss consultation, The Canadian Institute of Hair and Scalp Specialists is an experienced hair transplant organization located in the heart of Mississauga. We have 20 years of experience in hair transplants, replacements, and hair loss treatment procedures. Feel free to contact us for more information about hair transplants or any other hair or scalp concern at 905-272-0190.

by Ken Robson

In business since August 1, 1986, I am the president and also a client at The Canadian Institute of Hair & Scalp Specialists. Having worked with a team of Doctors and Chemists over the years I have compiled a great deal of knowledge in this area, originally involved with a Pharmaceutical company manufacturing vitamins for the hair loss industry. Years ago I was fascinated by the new developments in this area as my own hair was beginning to thin. Studying Trichology at the Toronto clinic I then opened my own office and have enjoyed it ever since.