These Medications Can Cause Hair Loss

These Medications Can Cause Hair Loss

Hair loss affects men and women alike, and genetics, health issues, circumstances, and medications all factor into the equation. Some forms of hair loss are merely temporary, while others, like pattern baldness, are permanent. The reality is that hair loss is more common than most people realize and common culprits are popular medications that people take. 

Certain medications cause hair loss because they interfere with normal, healthy growth cycles of hair follicles. Studies report that if hair follicles cannot grow properly, or if something inhibits the growth cycle, that is when hair may fall out. The good news is that hair loss from medications is often temporary, meaning that once you stop the drug, your hair will come back to normal. The hair loss process, though, can chip away at your self-esteem and cause confidence issues. 

Medications And Hair Loss

Medications can disrupt growth at different stages. Short-term or temporary hair loss, often takes place during the resting phase, or telogen effluvium. Another type of hair loss caused by medications is anagen effluvium, which is a long-term type of loss that can lead to thinning and body hair loss as well. Anagen effluvium takes place in the hair’s new growth phase. Below, you’ll find common drugs that can cause both of these types of hair loss. 

Anticoagulants (Blood Thinners)

This class of medications helps prevent blood clots. Anticoagulants, or blood thinners, work by stopping blood clots from forming. There are numerous cases of hair loss as a result of taking blood thinners, and it can take some time to determine that they are the cause. If hair loss starts after taking a certain blood thinner, consult with your doctor about a newer class of blood thinners, which are less likely to cause hair loss. 

Certain Antidepressants

Anxiety or stress can cause hair loss, but so can the medications people take to treat those conditions. In addition to causing hair loss, certain antidepressants can affect reproductive hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. Altering the production of either of these hormones can affect hair growth, according to medical experts. Common antidepressants that may cause hair loss include selective serotonin inhibits like prozac, and tricyclic antidepressants like elavin. 

Beta Blockers

Beta blockers are used to treat high blood pressure and several other heart conditions. Propranolol, atenolol, metoprolol, and timolol eye drops are some of the most commonly used beta blockers that can cause hair loss. Cozaar, another type of blood pressure medication, can also cause hair loss, but it isn’t a known side effect of that medication. 

Prescription Anti-Inflammatory Medication

People who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and lupus can experience hair loss. Sometimes, though, the medications that people take to relieve symptoms of these conditions have the same effect. Two of the most common anti-inflammatory medications that cause hair loss include Arava, which causes hair loss in 10% of all users, and methotrexate, which causes hair loss in 3% of all users. 


This common cancer treatment works to kill cancer cells. An unfortunate reality is that many people who receive chemotherapy experience hair loss because the medication kills other fast-growing cells in the body, including hair follicles. Hair loss can occur within days or weeks after receiving the medication, and hair loss effects are fairly noticeable after one or two months. Hair typically grows back within one to three months after completing treatment. 

Acne Medication

Although acne medication may benefit acne-prone skin, this medication may damage your scalp, according to dermatologists. Acne medication is derived from vitamin A, which is an integral nutrient for hair and eyesight. When you take it in high amounts, hair follicles kick into overdrive. As a result, your hair reaches the ends of the development phase faster than it normally does, causing it to fall out. Because the body cannot produce new hair quickly enough to replace it, you experience hair thinning or bad patches. 

Hormonal Contraceptives

Any birth control method, such as the pill, patch, or vaginal ring, that contains estrogen can cause hair loss. As mentioned earlier in this article, hormonal changes that occur in the body can affect hair growth. When the body experiences shock or stress (e.g. hormonal changes via birth control pills), hair roots are pushed into their resting state prematurely. During that time, about 70% of your scalp sheds hair. Don’t worry because this is a temporary side effect and your body tends to adjust to the pill’s hormonal effects over time.



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