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.
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 hair loss.
Anticoagulants (blood thinners), including:
Cholesterol lowering drugs, including:
Antidepression drugs, including:
- Anafranil (clomipramine)
- Elavil (amitriptyline)
- Norpramin (desipramine)
- Pamelor (nortriptyline)
- Paxil (paroxetine)
- Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Sinequan (doxepin)
- Surmontil (trimipramine)
- Tofranil (imipramine)
- Vivactil (protriptyline)
- Zoloft (sertraline)
Beta-blocker drugs, including:
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:
- Tenormin (atenolol)
- Lopressor (metoprolol)
- Corgard (nadolol)
- Inderal and Inderal LA (propanolol)
- Blocadren (timolol)
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:
Many anti-inflammatory drugs, including those prescribed for localized pain, swelling, and injury.
- Arthritis drugs
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including:
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.
Published on March 1, 2010