Drug Induced Hair loss: What medications can cause hair loss | HairMD, Pune

Beware! Your medications might be the reason for your hair fall!

Aug 23, 2017

Beware! Your medications might be the reason for your hair fall!

While most of us go by the saying ignorance is a bliss it wouldn’t hurt to gather a little more information on the drugs we are consuming. Your consistent hair fall might hold the tiniest of importance in your life at present nevertheless a little bit of extra knowledge to provide you some insight into its cause can only be beneficiary to your lifestyle.The hair fall due to the drugs would revert once you are done with drugs or reduce the medications but there is also a fair chance of permanent hair loss so constant vigilance of what you eat could definitely help you with this additional anxiety of – ‘hair loss’.

The Procedure

The drugs you intake and the normal cycle of your hair has an interesting relationship. The cycle has two phases-

  1. The telogen phase– In this phase, hair loss occurs after taking the drugs for 2-4 months and there is an increase in the hair fall by 30-70% than the normal.
  2. The anagen phase– This phase is where the hair is growing and the drugs you are taking directly affects the cell division process as in a case of chemotherapy leading to loss of hair from the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes and body hair too.

The medications which cause hair loss – Medications affect different patients differently.

  1. Chemotherapy–  When undergoing chemotherapy, the cancerous cells inside your body are not the only ones affected. The normal cells of your body including the anagen phase hair cells are prone to temporary damage, as a result, there is hair loss from all parts of a body. It becomes evident in the first two weeks itself and progressively increases with months.
  2. Antidepressants-  These drugs which treat depression take a toll on your hair and affects the telogen phase of the hair cycle. These drugs include- Amitriptyline, Amoxapine, Clomipramine, Fluoxetine, Haloperidol etc.
  3. Blood thinners or anticoagulants– Drugs like panwarfin, so farin, coumadin and heparin injections come under this category. While they clear the blood clots and also lower the blood cholesterol levels which are really useful in heart conditions they also affect the telogen phase and might cause hair loss from the entire scalp rather than a restricted patch. Its effect can be observed 12 weeks after its intake.
  4. NSAIDS-Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.These drugs are very useful in pain conditions like gout which is a form of arthritis. They are sold under the brand names of Lopurin and Zyloprim and affect the telogen phase of hair cycle thus stimulating hair loss.
  5. Lithium– An antipsychotic drug used for treating bipolar disorder, depression, and mania is also responsible for hair loss.
  6. Anabolic Steroids – Taken for increasing muscle growth, many are unaware that they also promotemale pattern baldness.
  7. ACE inhibitors – Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors. They are used as blood pressure medications and cause hair loss in the telogen phase. The drugs include captopril, lisinopril etc.
  8. Anticonvulsants/ Antiseizure drugs- They are used for treating epilepsy patients. These medications including trimethadione and valproic acid also cause diffuse hair loss.
  9. Beta blockers- Used for a variety of purposes like lowering of blood pressure, glaucoma and workload on heart these drugs- timolol, pindolol, metoprolol cause telogen effluvium.
  10. Vitamin A– Acne medications like Accutane are mostly derived from vitamin a and as said everything in excess is harmful, so is vitamin a. When taken in excess it causes the hair to come into rest phase or telogen phase early, as a result, there is excessive hair fall 2-4 months after taking the medication.
  11. Taking antithyroid drugs, birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy or having an autoimmune disorder also causes hair loss because at that particular time more hair is present in the resting phase and enough hair in not growing.

Good Resource

WebMD:- Drug-Induced Hair Loss

Now, what do you do to prevent this excessive hair shedding? Since the medications you are taking deprive your body of the nutritional balance which is indispensable for hair growth, supplementing your diet with the crucial vitamins and minerals to combat the side effects of medication would be the solution. For example, if you are on antifungal drugs, adding vitamin B complex to your intake would be helpful. For this, you should ask the pharmacist for the exact constituents of your drugs, and finally,  consult a doctor and take their word for final.




  1. Fathima

    “Dear doctor,
    I am taking collagen tablet + vit C + Glutathione tablet for skin and hair…
    Can i use minaxidil
    Please suggest me”

    • Dr. Dhananjay Chavan

      Hello Fathima,
      I won’t be able to prescribe you any medication or treatment online, as it is against medical ethics. I would suggest you to consult Dermatologists near you, get examined and start proper treatment according to your scalp need.

  2. Prabhat dwivedi

    Sir main Apke yaha se hi hairMd clinic me hi apne hair ka ilaz karwa rha hoon sir mujhe finastried Aur minoxidil lene k liye bola hai lekin sir mujhe finastried khane me Thoda dar lag rha hai Aisa n ho ki Baal k chakkar me zindagi kharab ho jaye sir mujhe finastried Lena chahiye ki nhi koi nuksan to nhi karega Ye please Jaldi reply kijiye sir agar main finastried n leke sirf minoxidil use karu to

    • Dr. Dhananjay Chavan

      Hello Prabhat,
      I would suggest you to solve your doubts related to medications face to face with our doctor in your next visit.


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