Many commonly prescribed prescription drugs can cause temporary hair loss,
trigger the onset of male and female pattern baldness, and even cause permanent
hair loss. Note that the drugs listed here do not include those used in
chemotherapy and radiation for cancer treatment.
Your doctor may not mention hair loss as a side effect of some drugs, so
don't forget to do your own research and read the drug manufacturer's complete
warnings. Your pharmacist can provide you with this information even before you
fill a prescription.
Hair grows everywhere on the human skin except on the palms of our hands and the soles of our feet, but many hairs are so fine they're virtually invisible. Hair is made up of a protein called keratin that is produced in hair follicles in the outer layer of skin. As follicles produce new hair cells, old cells are being pushed out through the surface of the skin at the rate of about six inches a year. The hair you can see is actually a string of dead keratin cells. The average adult head has about...
Many pill and medication guidebooks (sold in bookstores and pharmacies) are
also excellent sources of complete information about prescription drugs. If
your doctor prescribes any of the following drugs, ask if one that does not
have hair loss as a possible side effect can be substituted.
The drugs are listed by category, according to the conditions they treat,
then by brand name first followed by the drug's generic name in parentheses. In
some categories, individual drugs are not listed. For these conditions, you
will want to discuss the possibility of hair loss as a side effect of using any
of the drugs that treat that particular condition, since many do contribute to
All drugs derived from vitamin A as treatments for acne or other conditions,
Anticoagulants (blood thinners), including:
Panwarfin (warfarin sodium)
Sofarin (warfarin sodium)
Coumadin (warfarin sodium)
Cholesterol lowering drugs, including:
Antidepression drugs, including:
Beta-blocker drugs, including:
Timoptic Eye Drops (timolol)
Timoptic Ocudose (timolol)
Timoptic XE (timolol)
Heart/High Blood Pressure
Many drugs prescribed for the heart, including the beta-blockers, which are
also used to treat high blood pressure, and include:
Inderal and Inderal LA (propanolol)
All hormone-containing drugs and drugs prescribed for hormone-related,
reproductive, male-specific, and female-specific conditions and situations have
the potential to cause hair loss, including:
Birth control pills
Hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) for women (estrogen or progesterone)
Male androgenic hormones and all forms of testosterone
Prednisone and other steroids
Many anti-inflammatory drugs, including those prescribed for localized pain,
swelling, and injury.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including:
Anaprox DS (naproxen)
Indocin SR (indomethacin)
Anti-inflammatories that are also used as a chemotherapy drug:
Levadopa/L-dopa (Dopar, Laradopa)
Many of the drugs used to treat the thyroid; ask your doctor.
Many of the drugs used to treat indigestion, stomach difficulties, and
ulcers, including over-the-counter dosages and prescription dosages.
Published on March 1, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from the American Hair Loss Association
Paul J. McAndrews, MD on July 01, 2005