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Drugs & Hair Loss: - Uncovering Facts
Understanding the Influence of Medication on Hair Loss

Exploring the Reality of Hair Loss Caused by Medications:

It may surprise you that hair loss can occur when you are on certain prescribed routine medications.


Hair loss is known to occur as a side effect when you consume some medicines that cause the hair to fall profusely or interfere with the hair growth cycle.

Introduction: Medication-Induced Hair Loss

Known as drug-induced alopecia, hair loss can be extremely agonizing.


Certain prescribed medicines cause hair loss and balding, which fortunately is temporary; but may be permanent occasionally.


Some medicines affect the hair in two ways: they stop the growth of hair or they cause the hair to fall out prematurely.


By and large, drug-induced hair loss is reversible; and your hair will grow back within a few months after you’ve stopped or tapered the medications.

Understanding the Hair Growth Cycle:

Understanding the impact of medications on Hair:

Drugs trigger hair loss by obstructing your normal hair growth cycle. These medicines damage the hair follicles and disturb the cycle at different phases.


Drug induced hair loss is of two types – anagen effluvium and telogen effluvium.

Anagen effluvium:

Telogen effluvium:

Medications Linked to Hair Loss:

The following medicines are known to trigger hair loss and balding –

Exploring medications that contribute to hair loss:

Retinoids

Clinical trials and laboratory studies show that retinoids cause hair follicle regression and shrivelling, severe dryness of the hair and scalp and set off and aggravate telogen effluvium. However, there isn’t adequate scientific information yet. The hair loss usually reverses once you stop the medicine, but in some cases, it may be lifelong.

Mood stabilizers

Most mood stabilizers, antianxiety drugs and antidepressants cause hair loss. It is necessary that you discuss with your mental health professional regarding changing the medications and/or dosage

Blood thinners

Are anticoagulants that are known to cause hair loss and balding in most people. You should confer with your doctor and he will prescribe you a different class of anticoagulants if your hair loss does not stop. Trichologists prescribe coenzyme Q to deal with anticoagulant-induced hair loss. Luckily, the hair loss reverses once you stop the drug; however, in some cases, it may stay permanent.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs

cholesterol-lowering medications are statins that trigger telogen effluvium. The drug is known to push hair follicles prematurely into the telogen resting stage, as a consequence, the hair goes into the shedding stage in large numbers.

Thyroid medications

when it comes to diagnosing the cause of hair loss related to thyroid anomalies, it gets a little tricky. Both hypothyroidism as well as hyperthyroidism cause hair loss and hair thinning. What’s more, the medication to treat thyroid irregularities also set off hair loss and balding. You must contact your health care provider, an endocrinologist and a trichologist for the best advice.

Birth control pills

cause hair loss because of their effect on the hormones. Birth control in any form - oral pills, skin patches, injections, and implants set off hair loss. Progestin in the medication causes hair loss and balding.

Anti hypertensives

Are beta blockers, which cause telogen effluvium hair loss. These drugs push the hair follicles prematurely into the telogen stage, as a result, the hair goes into the shedding phase in huge numbers causing widespread hair thinning and hair loss.

Chemotherapy drugs

Chemotherapy medicines are very potent. They attack the cancer cells that are multiplying rapidly. Unluckily, the chemotherapy drugs also attack the other quickly multiplying cells in the body – even the hair follicles.

Prevention and Management of Medication-Induced Hair Loss

It is important that you review your medications before you take them. You must discuss the possibility of developing potential side effects of a medication that’s been prescribed by your doctor and ask for options.


If you develop hair loss after starting a particular medication, there’s no need to panic; speak with your doctor to alter the dosage and the drug and confer with a trichologist regarding how to put an end to the hair loss and how to restore the lost hair.

Common misconceptions about drug-related hair loss:

If you’ve been grappling with hair loss for a while now, and your doctor has zeroed it down to it being medicine-triggered, it is very important that you differentiate the truth from the myth. Misinformation and misconceptions cause unnecessary worry and greatly warp your decision-making. Quash the myths surrounding drug-induced hair loss and balding, and separate factuality from fiction.

Tips for preventing hair loss while on medications:

Seeking professional advice:

A trichologist will provide you with invaluable information about the various causes of hair loss and will proffer the best solutions. Having understood where you stand, you can make an informed decision about your treatment options.


A trichologist has more experience in tackling hair loss compared to a general practitioner. He will explain to you the complexities of hair care issues and will guide you towards a nurturing hair care routine. A trichologist can help provide expert support to help you on your hair restoration journey. Here’s what you can do –

  • Vitamin and mineral supplements will stop the hair loss and also boost hair regrowth.
  • Your trichologist will also prescribe topical Minoxidil to pep up hair growth significantly. Sulfotransferase, an enzyme in the scalp converts Minoxidil into minoxidil sulfate. Minoxidil sulphate shortens the telogen stage and makes the hair enter the anagen growth phase. Once you start Minoxidil, you will see good hair growth within 6 to 8 months.
  • Pumpkin seed oil, carrot seed oil and rosemary essential oil have been touted as super hair growth boosters! They work miraculously promoting excellent hair growth.
Give these a try; apparent results will be seen within 6 months of starting treatment. If these fail to give results, you need to discuss other options with your doctor.

Conclusion: Navigating the Complex Relationship Between Medications and Hair Loss

In case you have been prescribed medicines that are setting off hair loss and balding, you must discuss the situation with your doctor and ask him to switch to a substitute. Research shows that once you stop taking that specific medication, hair loss will stop and your hair will begin to grow back within a period of 6 months. Dietary modifications and supplements may be prescribed by your healthcare provider to expedite hair growth.

 

By and large, you will be able to restore lost hair with changes in your diet, dietary supplements and at-home treatments.


In case, the hair does not grow back within a period of 6 months, you need to discuss treatment options with your doctor and trichologist.

Encouraging open communication with healthcare providers:

You have to trust your doctor and confide in him about your health issues. Your doctor will give you options keeping your best interests in mind. You must record your symptoms and communicate them clearly to your doctor. List all the medications you are taking with their dosages. He will confer with a trichologist to allay your hair loss and start you on a hair restoration journey. He will taper the dose of the medicine that’s triggering hair loss or he may give you a substitute.

The role of awareness in managing and mitigating medication-induced hair loss

It is crucial that you give your health care provider complete and accurate information about your symptoms and medications so that he can precisely diagnose the condition and prescribe the correct line of treatment. When you communicate your concerns and requirements with your doctor, he can help you better. Do not be afraid to voice your concerns and ask your doctor questions.

FAQs:

Certain medications trigger hair loss by hindering the normal hair growth cycle. These medications damage the hair follicles and disrupt the growth of the hair during different phases.

Yes, it is possible to reverse hair loss which has been triggered by certain drugs. More often than not, drug-related hair loss is reversible once you stop the offending drug. The severity of alopecia depends on the medicine and the person’s predisposition.

 

By and large, studies show that hair growth resumes once you stop taking that particular medication that is causing the hair loss. You must talk to your doctor and ask him to switch to an alternative medication or taper the dose. Once that specific medicine has been stopped, hair loss will halt and you will see hair growing back in about 6 months.

It is not quite possible to prevent hair loss from medicines. You need to discuss with your health care provider regarding reducing the dosage or if there are other options available in its place.

How long hair loss that’s caused due to a medicine lasts, depends upon the drug and the type of hair loss it sets off. More often than not, your hair will grow back in about 6 months after you have stopped the drug.

Finding successful solutions for hair loss is a hugely daunting task. When you are experiencing hair loss and balding, meeting with a trichologist will help tackle it well. A trichologist has a great deal more experience when it comes to hair loss and hair restoration compared to a general health care provider. He will simplify and illustrate to you the intricacies of hair care and will shepherd you towards a good hair care regimen.

Chemotherapy medicines powerfully attack the multiplying cancer cells. Unfortunately, these medicines also attack other quickly multiplying cells in the body — including the hair follicles. Chemotherapy sets off hair loss all over the body. You must discuss with your oncologist about the drugs that are prescribed to you; they will tell you what to expect. Hair loss will start 2 to 3 weeks after you start chemotherapy. Hair loss will continue all through the cancer treatment and for a few weeks post as well.

 

Fortunately, chemotherapy-related hair loss is temporary and hair growth will start within 6 months after your cancer treatment ceases.

  • Be gentle with your hair. Do not color, straighten or perm your hair; it will make the hair weaker still. Avoid heating devices such as curling irons and hot rollers.
  • Cut your hair short. Short hair looks a lot fuller than long hair. Also, you can take care of shorter hair a lot better.
  • Plan for a head covering. You may consider either a scarf or a wig to deal with the situation until the hair grows back.
  • Give your hair lots of love and care. Use a soft brush. Use a very mild shampoo.
  • Consider shaving your head. Shaving your head decreases irritation of the scalp and also saves you the embarrassment of balding.
  • Protect your scalp. The scalp gets sensitive when you are on chemotherapy treatment, so extreme cold or heat will irritate it. Make sure the head is covered.
  • Be patient. This is the most important guideline. The hair will come back slowly and may not look normal right away. But, be patient.

A host of prescription drugs are known to cause hair loss; happily, this hair loss is temporary. On the other hand, some are known to cause permanent hair loss and balding as well. It is crucial for you to discuss your situation with your healthcare provider as well as a trichologist to deal with the problem successfully.

Certain medications trigger hair loss by hindering the normal hair growth cycle. These medications damage the hair follicles and disrupt the growth of the hair during different phases.

Yes, it is possible to reverse hair loss which has been triggered by certain drugs. More often than not, drug-related hair loss is reversible once you stop the offending drug. The severity of alopecia depends on the medicine and the person’s predisposition.

By and large, studies show that hair growth resumes once you stop taking that particular medication that is causing the hair loss. You must talk to your doctor and ask him to switch to an alternative medication or taper the dose. Once that specific medicine has been stopped, hair loss will halt and you will see hair growing back in about 6 months.

It is not quite possible to prevent hair loss from medicines. You need to discuss with your health care provider regarding reducing the dosage or if there are other options available in its place.

How long hair loss that’s caused due to a medicine lasts, depends upon the drug and the type of hair loss it sets off. More often than not, your hair will grow back in about 6 months after you have stopped the drug.

Finding successful solutions for hair loss is a hugely daunting task. When you are experiencing hair loss and balding, meeting with a trichologist will help tackle it well. A trichologist has a great deal more experience when it comes to hair loss and hair restoration compared to a general health care provider. He will simplify and illustrate to you the intricacies of hair care and will shepherd you towards a good hair care regimen.

Chemotherapy medicines powerfully attack the multiplying cancer cells. Unfortunately, these medicines also attack other quickly multiplying cells in the body — including the hair follicles. Chemotherapy sets off hair loss all over the body. You must discuss with your oncologist about the drugs that are prescribed to you; they will tell you what to expect. Hair loss will start 2 to 3 weeks after you start chemotherapy. Hair loss will continue all through the cancer treatment and for a few weeks post as well.

Fortunately, chemotherapy-related hair loss is temporary and hair growth will start within 6 months after your cancer treatment ceases.

  • Be gentle with your hair. Do not color, straighten or perm your hair; it will make the hair weaker still. Avoid heating devices such as curling irons and hot rollers.
  • Cut your hair short. Short hair looks a lot fuller than long hair. Also, you can take care of shorter hair a lot better.
  • Plan for a head covering. You may consider either a scarf or a wig to deal with the situation until the hair grows back.
  • Give your hair lots of love and care. Use a soft brush. Use a very mild shampoo.
  • Consider shaving your head. Shaving your head decreases irritation of the scalp and also saves you the embarrassment of balding.
  • Protect your scalp. The scalp gets sensitive when you are on chemotherapy treatment, so extreme cold or heat will irritate it. Make sure the head is covered.
  • Be patient. This is the most important guideline. The hair will come back slowly and may not look normal right away. But, be patient.

A host of prescription drugs are known to cause hair loss; happily, this hair loss is temporary. On the other hand, some are known to cause permanent hair loss and balding as well. It is crucial for you to discuss your situation with your healthcare provider as well as a trichologist to deal with the problem successfully.

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