Consider Other Causes Of Hair Loss
If youre experiencing hair loss and suspect it could be from arthritis medication, you should be evaluated by your doctor to figure out the root cause of your hair loss. The medication may be the one thing that you can identify as new or different, but that said, many other common things can cause hair loss, which may be misattributed to medications, Dr. Blazer says.
Thyroid problems, anemia, age-related hair loss or thinning, and hair loss associated with pregnancy can all play a role, Dr. Carteron says. I investigate other potential causes of hair loss for patients, and help manage them if indicated. Even stress itself, which not surprisingly can result from a chronic condition, can lead to hair loss.
Having other co-occurring autoimmune conditions, such as lupus and alopecia areata, can also cause hair loss.
Methotrexate helps my RA. I did stop it for a while when I was getting large bald spots, but it was determined that it wasnt caused by my meds and I was diagnosed with alopecia areata, Kris S. shared on FB.
Why And How Do Medications Cause Hair Loss
Drug-induced hair fall is often due to an alteration of the normal hair growth cycle caused by the pharmaceutical. Some drugs directly damage the hair follicles and some drugs disrupt the growth phases, making them longer or shorter.
Usually, each follicle goes through 3 main phases when growing hair:
The Anagen phase is the active hair growth phase. It may last between 2 and 7 years. This is when your hair grows longer.
The Catagen phase is a short transitional phase that lasts about 2 weeks. This is when the hair stops growing longer but it is still attached to the follicle.
The Telogen phase is the resting and shedding stage that lasts about 2 to 4 months. This is when the hair starts detaching from the follicle until eventually the hair shaft and bulb detach and fall. This gives room for a new hair strand to grow from the same follicle and the cycle starts once more.
Based on this explanation, medications cause two types of hair loss:
What Is Seborrheic Dermatitis
Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin disease that can cause a scaly, red-colored, greasy and swollen rash to develop on your skin.
The precise symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis can vary depending on your age. In adolescents and adults, the most common symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis are:
Scaly patches that develop on your skin
Beneath the scale, a red-colored skin rash
Yellow and white-colored flakes that fall from the affected skin
Although skin affected by seborrheic dermatitis becomes scaly and develops into flakes, it may have a greasy, oily appearance. Areas of skin affected by seborrheic dermatitis may burn and feel itchy.
Seborrheic dermatitis tends to develop on oily skin. Its common on your scalp and around your ears, including inside your ear canal. Other areas of your skin where seborrheic dermatitis may develop include your:
Chest, back and armpits
In children and infants, seborrheic dermatitis is called cradle cap. The most common symptoms of this type of seborrheic dermatitis are:
A greasy rash that affects the scalp
Yellow-brown scale that develops on the skin
Over time, the scale may become dry and flaky, causing it to break off easily when the affected skin is touched or rubbed.
Recommended Reading: Can Xeljanz Cause Hair Loss
Signs That You Are Experiencing Medicine
- Noticing hair strands on pillow covers
- Extra hair in your combs and when you shower
- Hair fall from the temples of your forehead or your part-line
Your doctor will consider the following factors before diagnosing medicine-induced alopecia. He will take into account your medical history based on the following:
- New medications that you may have started
- Changes in any medicines/dosage
- Any recent illnesses or surgeries
- Family history of hair loss
How Will A Healthcare Provider Diagnose Hair Loss In Women What Tests Are Done
The tests performed to diagnose hair loss in women can be simple or complicated:
- Gently pulling on your hair to see how many hairs come out.
- Blood tests. These check for vitamin and mineral levels and hormone levels .
- Scalp examination under a microscope and trichoscopy.
- Scalp biopsy to remove and examine a very small piece of scalp skin.
How To Cope With Hair Loss
Keep your hair healthy and as thick as possible while being treated with these tips:
Practice good hair care. Use conditioner and dont rub your scalp too hard when shampooing or towel-drying. Avoid styling products and heat, and dont pull your hair back in tight pony tails.
Use a thickening hair growth shampoo. I found this stuff called Nutri-Ox, a shampoo, conditioner, and scalp spray, and using it my hair has started to regrow, Sharon C. told us.
With your doctors OK, consider medical hair loss treatments. I committed six months to a hair growth treatment program thankfully it worked, Deb S. told us. I also changed medication. My hair is back in full force, no more wig and Im still using the growth program.
Keep a positive outlook. Methotrexate improved my RA and I am able to walk, so considering the alternative of not taking it and having my hair back, I have learned to live with the thinning, Mariann V. told us. I wish it was not so, but so many others have far worse things to deal with!
Even if hair loss happens, some patients put it in perspective this way: My hair is still thin but would not stop my meds due to it, Mary J. told us on Facebook. Rather have less pain and no hair. No-brainer!
Telogen Effluvium And Anagen Effluvium
The most common type of drug-induced hair loss is telogen effluvium or TE. When a patient takes a medication, it can have a toxic effect on the hair matrix. This interrupts hair growth, pushing it out of the growth phase and into the resting phase ahead of schedule. Then, two to four months later, all of this hair falls out together and results in excessive shedding.
However, this is not the only way drug-induced TE can happen. In rare instances, medications can cause club hair to fall out early. Some medications can also lengthen the growth phase, and if a patient stops taking that medication, TE can occur. Fortunately, this temporary hair loss often resolves on its own within six months, but it can persist if chronic.
The other type of drug-induced alopecia is called anagen effluvium . During healthy hair growth, cells in the hair matrix divide quickly. Anagen effluvium occurs when a patient takes a drug that interferes with that process.
With AE, hair loss begins only seven to 10 days after taking the drug, and it becomes most apparent one to two months into treatment. While AE causes hair loss on the scalp, it also affects other body hair like eyebrows and eyelashes. This type of hair loss occurs with chemotherapy treatments, and while regrowth is often expected, it takes several months.
You May Like: What To Do For Hair Loss Male
Can You Stop Or Reverse The Hair Loss
Where possible, the best way to treat drug-induced alopecia is to stop taking the medication responsible for the hair loss. However, people should not stop taking a medication without their doctors agreement.
The doctor will discuss any alternative treatment options and ensure that a person switches safely to any new medications.
Once a person stops taking the medication that caused the alopecia, it can take half a year for the hair to stop shedding.
People who think that they may be experiencing drug-induced alopecia should speak to a healthcare professional.
Early signs of excessive hair loss include:
- noticing hairs on pillows
- finding extra hairs in combs or hairbrushes
- losing more hair than usual when showering
When diagnosing drug-induced alopecia, a doctor will take a complete medical history that takes into account the following factors:
- any new medications that the person is taking, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements
- any change in medication dosages
- the persons general health and nutrition status
- whether the person has had any recent illnesses or surgeries
- whether there is a family history of hair loss
A doctor may also perform the following tests to assist the diagnosis:
Which Medications Cause Hair To Fall
Many types and groups of medications lead to hair falling out as a side effect. Within the medication groups, some cause hair loss and others do not. For example, not all antidepressants cause hair loss, but some of them do.
We present you with the list of medications most often associated with hair loss.
Read Also: Does Kidney Disease Cause Hair Loss
How Can Drug Causes Hair Loss
Medicines interfere with the normal hair growth cycle. If it affects the anagen phase, the hair loss can last for two to six years. After this, the growth rate returns to normalcy. On the other hand, if the drug affected the telogen phase, hair fall could last for three to four months. They are then replaced with new hair.
The severity of drug-induced alopecia depends on the type of medicine, dosage, and sensitivity to the medicine.
Can Drugs Make Your Hair To Fall Out
Drugs can affect the hair growth cycle at different stages and induce hair loss as a side effect. As we know already, the hair growth cycle consists of three stages Anagen, Telogen, and Catagen. During the anagen phase, the hair grows actively for two to four years. After this, the hair strand enters the resting phase, which is known as the telogen phase, for three to four months. At the end of this phase, the hair enters catagen phase and sheds from the root. It is eventually replaced by a new hair strand. When it comes hair loss due to drugs, these medications can affect the hair growth cycle in either the anagen phase or in the telogen phase.
Read Also: Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For Hair Loss
How To Tell If Your Medication Is Causing Hair Loss
Some medicines cause notable hair thinning and hair loss. Just like while undergoing chemotherapy, hair loss is common. If your doctor has advised you to undergo chemotherapy, it is best to prepare yourself mentally for the hair loss.
For the other medications, pay attention to when the hair loss began and if you began taking any new medications in the last few months. Do not experiment on yourself to find out which medication may be causing the hair loss. This can have drastic effects on your existing disease for which you are essentially taking the said medications. Consult your doctor and inform him/her about the increase in hair loss and hair thinning. The doctor can clarify if the medication you have been prescribed has hair loss listed as a side effect or not. In the case of multiple drugs, he/she can advise you about the course to follow to identify the potential drug that is causing the hair loss.
Antidepressants And Mood Stabilizers
Both antidepressants and mood stabilizers can cause alopecia due to TE. Lithium, a common treatment for bipolar disorder, has been shown to cause hair loss in up to 19% of patients who use it for an extended period of time. Valproic acid is an anticonvulsant prescribed as a mood stabilizer. Depending on its dose and concentration, it has caused alopecia in up to 28% of patients.
Another anticonvulsant, carbamazepine, has the same effect but only in about 6% of cases. Rarely, tricyclic antidepressants lead to alopecia, and some patients have also reported hair loss with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs.
ï»¿Also: Can Metformin Cause Hair Loss?
Recommended Reading: Can Dupixent Cause Hair Loss
Serious Side Effects Of Eucrisa
Eucrisa may cause serious side effects. The list below may not include all possible serious side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to Eucrisas prescribing information.
If you develop serious side effects while taking Eucrisa, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think youre having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.
A serious side effect that has been reported with Eucrisa is allergic reaction. For more information, see Side effect specifics below.
An allergic reaction is possible after using Eucrisa. But its not clear whether this side effect occurred in clinical trials.
Eucrisa may cause several side effects. Here are some frequently asked questions about the drugs side effects and their answers.
Change Arthritis Drugs Or Dosages
You may be able to switch to a different type of drug with less risk of hair loss, such as a biologic or lower the dose of the offending medication while adding in another. Luckily, there are many options for treating inflammatory arthritis, so management changes can be made in patients experiencing excessive hair loss, Dr. Blazer says.
In the case of one patient experiencing hair loss, methotrexate still proved to be the most effective therapy for her RA, even after trying other DMARDs, Dr. Carteron says. Therefore, she elected to remain on methotrexate plus a TNF-blocker biologic, but we utilized the lowest possible dose of methotrexate, adjusting it to her disease activity.
Remember: Dont stop taking any arthritis medication without first talking to your doctor.
You May Like: What Kind Of Doctor Do You See For Hair Loss
What Should I Do About My Hair Loss
Although the above list includes medications that cause hair loss, if you are suffering from hair loss yourself it is important to remember that it could be due to a different cause. It is important to visit your GP before deciding to make any changes to your medication, and if a change to your medication does not stop hair loss you could visit a hair loss specialist to find out the cause of your hair loss as well as discussing hair loss treatments.