The Hair Clinic London

How Do Certain Medications Cause Hair Loss?

There are a lot of causes of male hair loss, and a certain level of shedding is something that most people are likely to experience every day.

Typically, people lose up to 100 hairs a day without even noticing as part of the hair’s natural cycle of growth and regrowth.

However, there are times when hair can fall out in significant clumps and strands, and this can be particularly distressing for some people, particularly before they work out what the cause of the hair loss is.

There are a lot of reasons for sudden hair loss, or telogen effluvium, including significant weight loss, nutrient deficiencies, pregnancy and illnesses that put significant strain on the body.

One major cause that might not necessarily be considered is the effect certain medications can have on the body.

Because of the strong effects some prescription medications can have, it can sometimes affect hair, either on a temporary or more long-term basis depending on the type of medication and the mechanisms it uses.

Before prescribing these medications, doctors will warn patients about this being a potential side effect, and as these medicines are often taken to treat serious conditions, the key is understanding the hair loss and looking into options to treat it, as well as how long the hair loss is expected.

Depending on the particular medication, hair loss may be short-term and only affect the current telogen phase, meaning that hair will grow back, whilst in other cases hair regrowth may start once the course of treatment is completed.

In either case, do not make any sudden decisions on your medication choice, but instead consult your doctor as they may be able to help you with side effects or discuss the possibility of an alternative medication that does not have hair loss as a side effect.


What Medications Cause Hair Loss?

There are some types of medication that most obviously and evidently cause hair loss, but the mechanics for why this is the case can vary and it is not always listed as a side effect in documentation.

For example, a lot of weight loss medications can cause hair loss as a side effect, but not necessarily because of the action of the drugs themselves.

Instead, extreme levels of weight loss can cause nutrient deficiencies or stress on the body that contributes to higher levels of hair shedding, although this can be offset with careful dieting.

This is also true of some antibiotics, which can deplete vitamin B levels, a vital nutrient for hair growth.

Conversely, medications that have high levels of vitamin A, such as retinol and some acne treatments, can contribute to hair loss due to the harsh nature of the ingredients, which is why they are often only available on prescription at higher strengths.

Some forms of blood pressure medication, in particular ACE inhibitors and beta blockers, can contribute to hair loss, as can some mood stabilisers.

Finally, hormone medications for both men and women, in particular testosterone therapies, can contribute to hair loss and pattern baldness as a side effect.