Irinotecan and Hair Loss – All Questions Answered


Blog, Hair loss | Dr Dhanraj Chavan | July 28, 2023

Irinotecan & Hair Loss

Are you experiencing hair loss? Get in touch with the best of our hair specialists in Pune to understand your hair condition. For a hair treatment or to get hair transplant, book an appointment with our dermatologists near you, call +919584584111.

Table Of Contents

What is Irinotecan and its use?

How does Irinotecan cause hair loss? 

What can help with hair growth post-chemotherapy?

Anyone can experience hair loss via medication side effects; it is not age- or gender-biased. Often lifestyle, improper diets and genetics are blamed for the medical conditions of individuals. Some diseases like Cancer not only physically weaken the individual but also emotionally. Cancer treatment can be in many forms, including chemotherapy, including both oral and injected medications and radiotherapy. Hair loss of 50- 100 strands regularly is natural and goes unnoticeable as the new hair grows to replace the gap. But clinical hair loss starts to become visible when the hair growth cells get affected due to certain conditions, including anti-cancer medications. The hair follicles turn weak, and hence there is a surge in hair fall. It generally starts with hair thinning or alopecia, which gradually increases. Let’s find out the connection between irinotecan and hair loss.

What is Irinotecan and its use?

Irinotecan is available as an intravenous injection, which is given together with other medicines to treat patients suffering from colon and small-cell lung cancer. The injection is either used alone or with fluorouracil. If used for treating small cell lung cancer, it is used with cisplatin. Irinotecan interferes with the growth of cancer cells and destroys them, but it also affects the normal cells, which leads to side effects. Hair loss occurs as a common side effect of Irinotecan. Hair starts to fall or thin out in the 3rd or 4th  week after the first dose of irinotecan, although it may happen earlier. Hair may completely fall out. Patients may also have thinning and loss of eyelashes, eyebrows and other body hair. In most cases, hair loss may not be of serious concern as the hair grows back after completing the irinotecan course.  

How does Irinotecan cause hair loss?

The thought of chemotherapy makes us think about our hair. The cancer patient ads shown on television are mostly patients with a bald head. Not all chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss, and the severity of hair loss can depend on a variety of factors. Stem cells in the hair follicles help to produce new hair. These cells multiply more quickly than other body cells, and because of this, they get targeted by chemotherapy agents. Because of this, hair fall occurs. 

What can help with hair growth post-chemotherapy?

Hair loss during chemotherapy starts to recover within 6 months; however, it depends from patient to patient. It is quite natural to feel anxious about the hair regrowth post-therapy. A good hair doctor or trichologist can help you with the right treatment. Trichologists specialise in examining hair to diagnose and recommend treatment for your condition and its severity. They can recommend treatments such as the right hair care routine, diets and what vitamins the body requires.

If you are seeking a good trichologist post-chemotherapy, get in touch with experts at HairMD. Our hair doctors hold expertise in treating these conditions and ensuring the regrowth of beautiful and healthy hair. They will also explain the connection between irinotecan and hair loss. 

Are you looking for hair fall solution? Get in touch with the best of our hair doctors in Pune to cure your hair loss. To book an appointment for a hair treatment or hair transplantation, contact our dermatologists near you, call +919584584111.

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