Medications certainly aren’t the only thing that will cause hair loss, but they are often overlooked. If you feel like you are losing your hair, one of your first steps is to look at your medication list. You will also pay attention to other well-known causes including poor diet (caloric or protein restriction), major illness or surgeries, major psychological stress, significant weight loss, chronic iron deficiency, thyroid disorders, and childbirth.
Don’t have any of those? Well then let’s look at which medications are common culprits of hair loss caused by drugs:
- The cholesterol-lowering drugs, aka “the Statins”. Only atorvastatin (Lipitor) and simvastatin (Zocor) have reported hair loss as an adverse effect, not the newer statin Crestor (rosuvastatin).
- The anticoagulants (warfarin or Coumadin) are commonly used blood thinners and have been reported to cause hair loss.
- The ACE Inhibitor blood pressure medications captopril and lisinopril are the two in this category that have reported hair loss in > 1% of folks taking them.
- Soriatane (acitretin) is a pill used for the treatment of psoriasis that has a well known adverse effect of hair loss.
- Amiodarone (Cordarone or Pacerone) is used in patients with arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation and has a rare but reported side effect of hair loss.
- The anticonvulsant valproate (Depakote). Depakote is used for seizure disorders, controlling mania in bipolar disorder and for migraine prevention. Valproate does carry reports of hair loss.
- Cimetidine (Tagamet) is an over the counter acid reducer used for ulcers and reflux disease and hair loss has been reported, though infrequently, in people taking it.
- Colchicine is a medication used for the treatment of acute Gout attacks. It does carry a very small risk of hair loss.
- Hormones, but not all hormones. Hair loss is reported in people taking the androgen testosterone and in people taking progesterone. Progesterone medications like Depo-Provera (medroxyprogesterone) injections or Provera or Prometrium tablets are well described to cause hair loss as an adverse effect.
- Isotretinoin, brand names Absorica or Accutane, is a pill used in the treatment of severe acne and hair loss is a known adverse reaction.
- Ketoconazole is an oral antifungal pill that can cause hair loss.