Is Your Medication Causing Hair Loss? These 11 Drugs Are Common Culprits

Dr. Sharon Orrange
Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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While it’s normal to lose a bit of hair every day, if you are experiencing excessive hair loss or balding, the medications you are taking could be to blame.

Here are 11 drugs that have been known to cause excessive hair loss:

1) Cholesterol-lowering medications — atorvastatin and simvastatin

Atorvastatin (Lipitor) and simvastatin (Zocor) belong to a group of cholesterol-lowering medications known as “statins”. Both drugs have hair loss as a reported adverse effect. The newer statin, rosuvastatin (Crestor), luckily does not have this risk.

2) Anticoagulant — warfarin

The anticoagulant, warfarin (Coumadin), is a commonly used blood thinner that has been reported to cause hair loss.

3) Blood pressure medications — captopril and lisinopril

ACE inhibitor are a type of medication used to treat high blood pressure and include the medicines, captopril and lisinopril. Both of the drugs have been known to cause hair loss, but only in around 1% of patients taking them.

4) Psoriasis treatment — acitretin

Acitretin (Soriatane) is a pill used for the treatment of psoriasis and has a well-known adverse effect of hair loss.

5) Anti-arrhythmia drug — amiodarone

Amiodarone (Cordarone or Pacerone) is used in patients with heart rhythm problems known as arrhythmias and has a rare, but reported, side effect of hair loss.

6) Anticonvulsant — divalproex

Anticonvulsant divalproex (Depakote) is used for seizure disorders, bipolar disorder and for migraine prevention, and can lead to hair loss.

7) Antacid — cimetidine

Cimetidine (Tagamet) is an over-the-counter acid reducer used for ulcers and reflux disease. Hair loss has been reported, though infrequently, in people taking it.

8) Gout medication — colchicine

Colchicine is a medication used for the treatment of acute gout attacks. It does carry a very small risk of hair loss.

9) Steroids — testosterone and progesterone

Hair loss is reported in people taking the hormones testosterone and/or progesterone. Medications containing progesterone, like Depo-Provera (medroxyprogesterone) injections, Provera, or Prometrium tablets, are well-described to cause hair loss in some people.

10) Acne treatments — isotretinion

Absorica or Accutane are used in the treatment of severe acne and contain the active ingredient, isotretinoin. Hair loss is a well-known adverse reaction for both medications.

11) Antifungal — ketoconazole

Ketoconazole is an oral antifungal pill that can cause hair loss.

In addition to these medications, other well-known causes of hair loss include poor diet, major illness or surgeries, psychological stress, significant weight loss, chronic iron deficiency, thyroid disorders, and childbirth.

Dr O.

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