Medications and Hair Loss


Medications and Hair Loss

Are you worried about hair loss and wondering if it could be caused by a medication you’re taking? You’re not alone. This blog post will discuss the drugs that can cause hair loss and how to prevent it.

Introduction to Medications and Hair Loss

When it comes to hair loss, medications may be the culprit. Medications can cause hair loss, but many times the effects are temporary. However, in some cases, medications can cause permanent hair loss. In this blog, we will discuss how medications can cause hair loss and which medications are known to cause alopecia. We will also look at minoxidil (Rogaine) and other treatments for hair loss due to medications. Finally, we will explore the connection between chemotherapy drugs and alopecia. By understanding how medications affect our hair and scalp, we can be better prepared to treat any potential problems arising from taking them.

Minoxidil (Rogaine)

Minoxidil (Rogaine) is the only drug the FDA approved for treating female pattern baldness. It is a topical solution or foam applied directly to the scalp and helps stop hair loss and even promotes new hair growth. It has also been found to be an effective treatment for male pattern baldness, as a 2002 study showed that participants using Rogaine experienced increased hair growth over 48 weeks. The exact way that minoxidil works are unknown, but it is believed to dilate blood vessels, increase blood flow to the scalp, and provide the necessary nutrients for more robust, healthier hair growth.


Antidepressants are a common cause of hair loss. Fluoxetine (brand name Prozac) and paroxetine (brand name Paxil) have the lowest risk of hair loss associated with their use. Bupropion (Wellbutrin) was found to have the highest risk of hair loss associated with its use. Chemotherapy medicines, as well as some blood thinners including heparin injections and warfarin sodium, can also result in hair loss when taken with antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Antidepressant drugs are thought to be a possible cause of telogen effluvium, a kind of hair loss, even if the precise mechanism is unknown. Fortunately, topical minoxidil can effectively stop hair loss that may result from using these drugs.

Bupropion (Wellbutrin)

Bupropion (Wellbutrin) is an antidepressant medication sometimes used to treat depression and other mental health issues. It is also known to cause hair loss in some people, although it is typically mild and temporary. Studies have found that bupropion has the highest risk of hair loss compared to other antidepressants, such as fluoxetine, with the number needed to harm being 242 for two years. While less than one per cent of people taking bupropion will experience hair loss side effects, topical minoxidil may help reduce or prevent this effect. Talking to a doctor about any potential side effects of medications before starting treatment is essential.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Antidepressant medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are frequently prescribed to treat depression. They work by inhibiting serotonin reuptake from the presynaptic terminal, thus increasing the serotonin available in the synapse. The FDA approves SSRIs to treat depression, and while they have been linked to side effects such as insomnia, nausea, and dizziness, hair loss is rare. However, there have been published cases of alopecia (hair loss) associated with SSRIs. The type of hair loss caused by this medication is known as telogen effluvium, which occurs when the body is stressed. It is essential to talk to your doctor if your medication is causing hair loss, as switching or adjusting your prescription may be an option.

How Topical Minoxidil Works

Topical minoxidil is a medication used to treat male pattern baldness and other forms of hair loss. It increases the blood flow to the hair follicles, which helps stimulate new hair growth. Minoxidil also helps to slow balding and prevents hair from thinning. The FDA cleared the first topical version of minoxidil in the late 1980s, and since then, it has been used successfully to treat many different types of hair loss. Minoxidil must be applied twice daily to the scalp as a doctor instructs. It typically takes several months of use before any results can be seen. Still, for many people, this medication has been a successful treatment for reversing baldness and stimulating new hair growth.

Which Medications Cause Hair Loss?

A few medications can cause hair loss as a side effect, such as beta-blockers, blood thinners, antidepressants, and amphetamines. These medications can interfere with the normal growth cycle of hair, leading to thinning or balding. One of the most commonly prescribed medications for hair loss is minoxidil (Rogaine), which comes in liquid, foam, and shampoo forms. Metoprolol (Lopressor), timolol (Blocadren), propranolol (Inderal and Inderal LA) and atenolol (Tenormin) are some of the other medications that have been known to cause hair loss. In addition, some chemotherapy drugs can also lead to alopecia or hair loss. You must speak with your doctor if you take any of these medications and experience hair loss symptoms. They can recommend alternative treatments that are better suited for you.

Metoprolol (Lopressor)

Metoprolol (Lopressor) is a beta-adrenoceptor antagonist used to treat hypertension and angina. It is also one of the medications that can cause hair loss, although it is an uncommon side effect. Because of this, your doctor may not mention it as a possible side effect when prescribing the medication. However, if you are taking metoprolol and have noticed thinning or shedding of your hair, you should speak to your doctor about your concerns. You may be able to switch medications or take additional steps to help slow the rate of hair loss.

Timolol (Blocadren)

Timolol, which goes by the brand name Blocadren, is a medication that requires a prescription and is used to manage the signs and symptoms of hypertension, acute myocardial infarction, and angina. It is a member of the beta-blocker medication class. While timolol is generally an effective medication, it can also lead to thinning hair in some cases. In addition, a literature review found timolol eye drops can cause drug-induced alopecia, especially telogen effluvium. It is important to note that this side effect is rare and that medications like minoxidil (Rogaine) and bupropion (Wellbutrin) can help combat the effects of timolol-induced hair loss. As with any prescription or supplement, you must consult your doctor before taking any drug and stop taking it if you experience any side effects.

Propranolol (Inderal and Inderal LA)

Propranolol (Inderal and Inderal LA) is a generic medication also sold under the brand name Inderal LA, Inderal XL, InnoPran XL, and Hemangeol. It belongs to the beta-adrenergic blocking class of drugs and is one of several beta-blockers that can cause hair loss. If you are taking propranolol, it is essential to be aware of potential interactions with other medications, including clonidine, digitalis, dobutamine, haloperidol, isoproterenol, blood thinners, antidepressants, MAO inhibitors, aspirin or other drugs. Additionally, it’s essential to be aware of cholesterol-lowering medications such as bile acid-binding resins like cholestyramine or colestipol; these should be taken at least one hour before or four hours after taking propranolol. Finally, discussing potential side effects with your doctor before starting or changing any medications is essential.

Atenolol (Tenormin)

Atenolol (Tenormin) is an example of a beta-blocker medication that has been linked to hair loss. Beta-blockers block stress hormones, which can lead to hair thinning. Studies have shown that people taking atenolol (Tenormin) may experience hair thinning and loss. It’s crucial to remember that while this adverse effect is not always going to occur in everyone using atenolol (Tenormin), it is conceivable. It is crucial to discuss alternative drugs or treatments with your doctor if you take atenolol (Tenormin) and exhibit any signs of hair loss. Also, if you take atenolol, minoxidil (Rogaine), which has been demonstrated to aid with some cases of hair loss, may be a potential therapy choice (Tenormin).

Chemotherapy Drugs and Alopecia

Chemotherapy drugs are one of the most common causes of hair loss in cancer patients. Altretamine (Hexalen), Adriamycin, Cytoxan or Neosar (cyclophosphamide) and Taxol (paclitaxel) are some of the most commonly used chemotherapy drugs known to cause hair loss. Chemotherapy-induced alopecia (CIA) is an often underestimated adverse effect of chemotherapy and can be an especially shocking experience for those undergoing treatment. Although complete hair loss is improbable with any other type of treatment, chemotherapy is the type of cancer drug treatment most likely to cause hair loss. Due to chemotherapy, Minoxidil (Rogaine) may reduce the risk of hair loss. At the same time, antidepressants such as bupropion (Wellbutrin) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been found to help promote hair growth.

How Do Drugs Cause Hair Loss?

Hair loss is a condition that can have many causes, including drug-induced hair loss. Medications can cause hair loss when the body reacts adversely to a drug or when the dosage is too high for the individual. Drug-induced hair loss is also known as alopecia. It can be caused by any type of medication, such as chemotherapy, antifungal, and some blood pressure medications. Minoxidil is one drug that may help with hair regrowth if taken in low dosages. Hair growth usually stops after someone stops taking the medication that caused it. Depending on the type of medication taken and its dosage, temporary or permanent hair loss may result. According to Mayo Clinic, some drugs are more likely to cause hair loss than others. When experiencing drug-induced hair loss, it is essential to talk to your doctor immediately so they can determine if it’s due to medication and suggest treatment options that could prevent further hair loss or help with regrowth.

What Types of Drugs Cause Hair Loss?

Hair loss is a condition that can cause hair to fall out, prevent new hair growth, and lead to baldness. There are many types of hair loss, including alopecia, telogen effluvium, anagen effluvium, and drug-induced hair loss. Drug-induced hair loss is caused by certain medications that can interfere with the average growth of hair follicles and lead to thinning or complete baldness. Drugs known to cause this temporary or permanent hair loss include chemotherapy, antifungal medications, minoxidil, and certain drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and blood clots. You should talk to your doctor about treatment options if you experience sudden or patchy hair loss or thinning. It may be possible to stop taking the medication to prevent further hair loss, or it may require other treatments like a Hair transplant for more severe cases. In most cases of drug-induced hair loss, the new hair usually grows back within 2 to 4 months after stopping the medication or reducing its dosage. However, hereditary forms of hair loss are irreversible, so it is essential to speak with a doctor if you think your current level of hair loss could be linked to more than drugs.

What medical conditions can cause hair loss?

Hair loss can have various causes, including genetic predisposition, age, hormones, and medical conditions. Alopecia is a common form of hair loss that usually affects the scalp. This hair loss can occur in men and women and is generally reversible if the underlying cause is treated. Drug-induced hair loss is another common cause of hair loss. Many types of medications, including chemotherapy drugs, antifungal medications, high-dose vitamin A supplements, birth control pills and certain beta blockers, can cause it. It’s important to talk to your doctor if you are taking any medicine that may be causing your hair to fall out so you can either switch to a different drug or adjust the dosage. Mayo Clinic Patient also states that conditions like thyroid disorders, anaemia, and autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis may cause temporary or permanent hair loss. In some cases, the hair will grow back on its own or with treatment once the underlying condition is resolved; however, in other cases, it may not grow back at all and result in permanent baldness.


In conclusion, hair loss can be caused by many factors and is a common clinical complaint. Treatments and medications are available to help maintain a healthy scalp and prevent further hair loss. Minoxidil (Rogaine) is an over-the-counter treatment that has been proven to be effective in treating androgenic alopecia. Antidepressants, such as bupropion (Wellbutrin) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are sometimes used to treat hair loss. Metoprolol (Lopressor), timolol (Blocadren), propranolol (Inderal and Inderal LA), and atenolol (Tenormin) are medications that have been associated with hair loss. Chemotherapy drugs may also cause alopecia. Therefore, it is essential to talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking that could be causing your hair loss and any other possible causes of hair loss or treatments available.

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