Let us discuss hair loss and medications that can make your hair fall out. It is actually a very long list of quite common medications that can cause hair loss. Now they do not cause hair loss every single time you take them in every single person, but they have been reported in at least some cases to cause hair loss.
We will go over this list because you might be taking one of these medications. So stick around till the end because the last 5 medications that will be mentioned are very common and you may very well be taking those.
So before we move further let us go over some hair growth and hair loss facts so that you can understand what is going on. First of all, there are 3 stages of growth that human hair goes through.
Stages Of Hair Growth
The first is the anagen phase which is kind of the active phase of growth where your hair is actually growing. About 90% of the hair on your head is in the anagen phase at any given time.
The second phase is the catagen phase which is kind of like a transitional phase. There is really not a lot of growth going on. The hair follicle is kind of transitioning and getting ready for you to lose that hair. Less than 5% of your hair follicles are on your head or in the catagen phase at any given time.
The third is the telogen phase which is the resting phase and this is the phase where your follicle will actually lose that hair it has been growing. Less than 5% of your follicles are on your head or in the telogen phase at any given time.
Now some basic facts about hair loss.
Facts About Hair Loss
- The average person loses anywhere from 50-200 hair strands off their head every single day of their life. Now some people lose more some people lose less than this and the average is about a hundred.
Some people lose quite a bit more, some people less based on your age, gender and your hormone status and other things going on in your life and whether you are taking one of the medications that we will get to later.
- Another good fact to know is that the average hair on the average head grows about one centimeter a month. Now some people’s hair grows quite a bit slower than this, some quite a bit faster than this but on average a centimeter a month is considered an average amount of hair growth.
- The third fact that you need to keep in mind is that you do not notice until you notice. So if you have not been thinking about how many hair strands you are losing a day and then if you someday realise about it, you start to look into your brush, in your shower drain and then you freak out about losing a ton of hair.
Keep in mind that you were already losing that same amount of hair before you even started realising it. You were just not paying attention. It is kind of like when you buy a new car and then you see that car all over the road even though before you go out the car you had never seen that car on the road before, same thing applies to hair loss.
- Next thing to keep in mind is that the medications which you will read about below can cause hair loss. They are not going to cause hair loss in every single person who takes these medications but it is a possibility.
It is listed on their long 3-4 page list of possible side effects.
- The final fact you need to know is that you should not stop, start or change any medication based on this blog. If you read one of the medications that you are taking, do not stop taking that medicine, do not decrease your dosage.
Just go talk to your doctor and see what is the best possible solution to this.
Now let us get into the medications that are known to commonly cause hair loss or have been reported in rare instances to cause hair loss.
Categories Of Medication
First and foremost any of the chemotherapy medications that are used to treat people who have been diagnosed with cancer almost every single one of them are going to have a substantial amount of hair loss.
We are not really surprised by this. This is kind of common knowledge but it is just being mentioned for the completeness of this blog.
Now the next big class is antibiotics. A lot of people have no idea that taking antibiotics could cause hair loss. The most common ones are any of the penicillins, cephalexin or erythromycin.
So if you are taking a medication that kind of rhymed with the ones mentioned above but is not exactly that name then it probably comes from the same drug class. The penicillins, the cephalosporins or the myosin drug group can cause at least a little bit of hair loss.
Synthetic Vitamin A Analogues
The next is the synthetic vitamin A analogues that are used to treat severe acne. You have probably heard of accutane in the past and this is not real vitamin A. It is a synthetic, fake vitamin A analog and it can cause a substantial amount of hair loss in some people who take it for severe acne.
There are actually many many brands that will be linked down below which are sold in different countries so that you can know because isotretinoin is the generic name which you may have never heard of.
So if you are taking medication for severe acne, look for the medications that are synthetic vitamin A analogs which can lead to hair loss. You only get real vitamin A from animal source foods. You cannot get it from plant source foods.
You hear that beta-carotene is vitamin A but it is not. But some of the multivitamin companies will put a synthetic vitamin A in their multivitamin. It is possible that it could lead to some hair loss as well.
ADD, ADHD And Narcolepsy
The next is amphetamines which are used to treat ADD, ADHD and Narcolepsy. Any of these can cause hair loss. The most common one would be adderall and if you are taking that or anything in that drug class and you are having hair loss, you should go see your doctor.
The next are blood pressure and cardiac medications. The most common classes are the ACE inhibitors and the beta blockers. Also some diuretics can cause hair loss as well so be on the lookout if you are taking anything for blood pressure that could be contributing to sme hair loss.
Depression And Anxiety
The next is for depression and anxiety. Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Amitriptyline and the drug classes that these drugs fall in can contribute to some hair loss, not always but sometimes. There are alot of people taking medication for depression and anxiety.
So if you are taking any medication for depression and anxiety and it is not here in the list, make sure that you talk to your doctor about it and ask him if it will cause hair loss or not.
Medicines for cholesterol control are next. They also control both the statins and the fibrates. This is going to include Zocor, Lipitor for sure, Cristol does not have much of this effect but any of the fibrates like Gemfibrozil and a few others can cause hair loss in some circumstances.
So if you are taking something to lower your cholesterol and you are having hair loss, go see your doctor.
The next drug class is blood thinners. Now the older drugs have to be mentioned, like heparin, coumadin and warfarin but also there have been reports of even the newer blood thinners that either in pill form or in an injectable form can cause hair loss in some people.
So if you are having hair loss and you are taking a blood thinner you should definitely consult your doctor about what you can do about it.
The next drug class is gout medications. If you are taking either Colchicine or Allopurinol, both of these have been reported to cause hair loss in some people. So if you are having hair loss and you are taking something for gout, you know what to do.
Next is a drug that is used for psoriasis treatment and it is FDA approved for that. It is called Soraia Tin and it is also a vitamin A analog like the medications used for severe acne, but this one is FDA approved for psoriasis.
If you are taking that and having hair loss, stop taking it.
The next drug class is antiarrhythmic drugs. If you are having irregular heartbeats and you are taking Amiodarone it is very common that it can cause hair loss. So you might actually need that drug regardless of the hair loss.
But if you are having a substantial amount of hair loss, talk to your doctor about amiodarone.
Anticonvulsant or Anti-Seizure
The next class is the anticonvulsant or anti-seizure medications. These include Depakote, Carbamazepine and Trimethadyle. Any of these three have definitely reported to cause hair loss. But other drugs in the drug classes can cause hair loss for sure.
The next class is immunosuppressants which would be used for Autoimmune conditions. Definitely, Methotrexate, Cytoxan, and Umbral have been reported to cause hair loss. But some of the other newer ones have been reported to cause hair loss as well.
Again these are quite important medications and they might cause hair loss but you still need to take on or the other types. It is still within the rights of you being a patient to have a conversation with your doctor about a tremendous amount of hair loss.
Next in the line is drugs for Parkinson’s disease or parkinsonism and the medication for that will be Levodopa. This has been reported multiple times to cause hair loss. Again you may need this medicine but just as a heads up, you might experience hair fall because of this.
Next is an Antifungal called ketoconazole and it is actually quite a common antifungal used for fungus and yeast. Ask about it to your doctor if you have taken ketoconazole and are experiencing hair loss.
The next class is steroids. From Prednisone to method methylprednisolone, any of the steroid medications whether you are taking it for short term inflammation or an autoimmune disease or long term chronic inflammation, they can cause some substantial hair loss.
Now let us talk about the 5 medicines that are very commonly taken by millions of people. Most people and most doctors have no idea that they can cause a substantial amount of hair loss.
The first is acid blockers like Pepcid. Any of the h2 blockers in the same drug class as pepcid can cause hair loss in some people and so if you are just taking over the counter pepcid, zantac, tagamet and you are having hair loss the h2 blocker may be the cause.
It is much better to not take that pepcid every single day, if you are having hair loss.
Birth Control Pills
Any oral contraceptive pill by definition is made from synthetic estrogen or a synthetic progesterone or a combination of the two. All of these have been reported to cause hair loss in women taking birth control pills.
If you are not having a lot of hair loss do not quit taking your oral contraceptive or you might end up getting pregnant. But if you are having quite a bit of hair loss, this is a conversation you should have with your doctor.
You may not believe this, but this category of medicines do cause hair loss. So some people also call it the incense because if you look at the abbreviation or the acronym, it spells incense. Like ibuprofen, any of these anti-inflammatory medications that are not a steroid have been reported to cause hair loss.
So if you are just thoughtlessly taking an ibuprofen every day or a motrin or anything like that, think twice about that especially if you are having hair loss.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
For women who are entering menopause or are having severe menopausal symptoms, every pill that you take for hormone replacement therapy or for menopausal symptoms is almost without exception a synthetic estrogen it is not real estrogen.
It is important but they can cause hair loss as well as an increased risk of breast cancer, and other cancers. Especially if you smoke, do not take an oral hormone replacement therapy.
If you are taking a prescription medication for weight loss called Phentermine or Adipex, they have been reported multiple times to cause hair loss. So if you are taking that to lose fat and you are losing a lot of hair as well, you may want to reconsider that prescription.
So now you have to be careful about what medication you take and how much you need it because if you are experiencing mild or severe hair loss, it could be because of your medication.