I posted some time ago on this blog about the irony of how anti-depressants (prescribed to a depressing number of hair loss sufferers when they visit the doctor to seek help for their hair loss), can cause hair loss in their own right as a side-effect.
Aside from the obvious culprits of those drugs used in chemotherapy and radiotherapy, it seems an alarming number of other drugs can also cause or trigger the onset of hair loss, sometimes temporarily, sometimes permenantly.
So the golden rule is always read the side-effects leaflet before taking a drug and if you believe your hair loss is being caused or exacerbated by your prescription treatment, ask your GP if there are any alternative drugs you can try which treat the same condition. If you are on a large number of medications, when were you last reviewed to ensure that you still need them all or that the drugs are not fighting each other with their side-effects? You may have no choice but to take certain drugs, but always ask and ensure your treatment is reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
Here is the rather alarming list of what to watch out for (though bear in mind that each person’s constitution is different and not everyone will experience the same side effect/s). All the same, it’s quite a daunting list. Thank goodness for the insurance of comprehensive hair cover at Aspiration if all else fails!
Acne All drugs derived from vitamin A as treatments for acne or other conditions, including: Accutane (isotretinoin)
Blood Anticoagulants (blood thinners), including: Panwarfin (warfarin sodium) Sofarin (warfarin sodium) Coumadin (warfarin sodium) Heparin injections
Cholesterol Cholesterol-lowering drugs, including: Atronid-S (clofibrate) Lopid (gemfibrozil)
Convulsions/Epilepsy Anticonvulsants, including: Tridone (trimethadione)
Depression Antidepression drugs, including: Prozac (fluoxetine hydrochloride) Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride) Paxil (paroxetine) Anafranil (clomipramine) Janimine (imipramine) Tofranil (imipramine) Tofranil PM (imipramine) Adapin (doxepin) Sinequan (doxepin) Surmontil (trimipramine) Pamelor (nortriptyline) Ventyl (nortriptyline) Elavin (amitriptyline) Endep (amitriptyline) Norpramin (desipramine) Pertofrane (desipramine) Vivactil (protriptyline hydrochloride) Asendin (amoxapine) Haldol ( haloperidol)
Glaucoma The beta-blocker drugs, including: Timoptic Eye Drops (timolol) Timoptic Ocudose (timolol) Timoptic XC (timolol) Gout Lopurin (allopurinol) Zyloprim (allopurinol)
Heart Many drugs prescribed for the heart, including those known as the beta blockers, which are also used to treat high blood pressure, and include: Tenormin (atenolol) Lopressor (metoprolol) Corgard (nadolol) Inderal and Inderal LA (propanolol) Blocadren (timolol)
High Blood Pressure See Above list of beta blockers under “Heart” Hormonal Conditions All hormone-containing drugs and drugs prescribed for hormone-related, reproductive, male-specific, and female-specific conditions and situations have the potential to cause hair loss, including:
Birth Control Pills Hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) for women (estrogen or progesterone) Male androgenic hormones and all forms of testosterone
Anabolic steriods Prednisone and other steroids
Inflammation Many anti-inflammatory drugs, including those prescribed for localized pain, swelling and injury.Arthritis drugs Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs including: Naprosyn (naproxen) Anaprox (naproxen) Anaprox DS (naproxen) Indocin (indomethacin) Indocin SR (indomethacin) Clinoril (sulindac) An anti-inflammatory that is also used as a chemotherapy drug: Methotrexate (MTX) Rheumatex (methotrexate) Folex (methotrexate)
Parkinson’s Disease Levadopa / L-dopa (dopar, larodopa)
Thyroid Disorders Many of the drugs used to treat the thyroid
Ulcer Many of the drugs used to treat indigestion, stomach difficulties, and ulcers, including over-the-counter dosages and prescription dosages. Tagamet (cimetidine) Zantac (ranitidine) Pepcid (famotidine)