Medications That Can Cause Hair Loss

Alopecia, the medical term for hair loss, can occur as a side effect of various drugs. The effects of a medicine usually become apparent within a few days or weeks of starting it or raising the dose.

Risk of drug-induced alopecia varies depending on treatment and individual response. Hair loss can be caused by some medications, but not all of them.

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Drug-induced hair loss signs and symptoms

A medication-induced hair loss can affect every hair that grows on the body. Affected areas include the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes, especially for people who are receiving chemotherapy.

It usually takes many weeks for the therapy that causes hair loss to begin to have an impact. After receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer, some women have alopecia as early as two weeks after their first treatment. Following the start of therapy, hair loss often occurred 4–6 weeks later.

Types of alopecia caused by drugs

Drug-induced hair loss can take two forms: anagen effluvium and telogen effluvium. A condition known as anagen effluvium is the loss of hair follicles that are in the process of regrowing. This is typically caused by chemotherapy medicines or an excess of arsenic or bismuth or thallium or boric acid.


Hair loss is a possible side effect of several drugs, however it is not always the case for everyone.

Hair loss is an uncommon adverse effect of anticoagulant medicines like heparin and warfarin. Some people may experience hair loss when using hypertension medicines such as beta-blockers (e.g., atenolol, metoprolol) and angiotension converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (e.g., perindopril, lisinopril).

There is a correlation between hair loss and the use of hormone-altering medications in some people. Androgen treatment, the oral contraceptive pill, hormone replacement therapy, etc.

While some medicines, such as valproic acid or carbamazepine may cause hair loss in some patients, there are also some antidepressants, like lithium, that may cause alopecia.

The following medications have been known to induce hair loss:

  • Cimetidine
  • Retinoids (e.g., acitretin)
  • Antithyroid drugs
  • Amphetamines
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Bromocriptine
  • Levodopa
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline)

Additional causes of alopecia

A person’s pharmaceutical use is not the only reason for hair loss, and other people may suffer symptoms for other reasons. These include recent sickness or surgery, poor diet and androgenetic hair loss patterns, as well as a lack of sleep.

Adverse reactions to drugs can cause alopecia

In order to properly treat drug-induced alopecia, a number of actions must be taken.

Medical history should begin with a thorough examination of the patient’s medical history, including the dosages and changes in medication. Keeping track of this along with any other symptoms you’re experiencing and when exactly your hair loss started is important. It is common for people to begin taking drugs that cause hair loss or to raise their dosage within three months of experiencing symptoms.

When hair loss is thought to be caused by medication, the best method to confirm the diagnosis is to stop taking the drug for at least three months and see if the hair grows back..

It is true that chemotherapy for cancer treatment often outweighs any potential side effects, such as hair loss. Continue with the treatment and wait for the hair to re-grow at the end of the course of therapy. The best course of action will depend on the specifics of each patient’s situation.

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being one of the best clinics to give effective treatment for hair loss in Malaysia.

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