Chemo More Likely To Cause Hair Loss
Chemotherapy medications with the highest risk of causing hair loss in many people include:
- Alkylating agents:Cytoxan or Neosar , Ifex , Myleran or Busulfex , Thioplex .
- Antitumor antibiotics: Cosmegen , Adriamycin or Doxil , Idamycin
- Topoisomerase inhibitors: VePesid , Camptosar
- Antimicrotubule agents: Taxol , Taxotere , Ellence , Ixempra , Ellence , Marqibo or Vincasar , Alocrest or Navelbine
- Antimetabolites:Efudex , Gemzar
Treatments For Neurologic Conditions Can Change Hairs Texture Color And Volume These Experts Explain Why And How To Handle The Changes
Kelly Baker was 13 when she was diagnosed with and prescribed divalproex sodium . The drug controlled her seizures but caused her hair to fall out, which was terrifying. “When it first started, I had no idea what was going on,” says Baker, who is now 42 and lives in Los Angeles, where she’s a family therapist. When her doctor adjusted the dose, the problem resolved. But a strange thing happened when her hair started to grow back. Her previously straight hair came in curly”not a little bit curly but the curliest hair you’ve ever seen.” Baker didn’t know how to tame it or style it or which products to buy. And she didn’t love being asked repeatedly by classmates and friends, “What happened to your hair?”
Baker’s change in hair texture is not uncommon after hair loss, says Shilpi Khetarpal, MD, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic. “Different factors like hormones, nutrition, and genetics can change hair color or texture,” she says.
Baker endured her curls for two years and then found a stylist who could relax it with chemicals. “I didn’t want to look different,” explains Baker, who still takes divalproex sodium. “But I hated the process. It’s so bad for your hair, and the chemicals get into your system, and it never lasts. I’d get it done, and then my hair would grow an inch and I’d be back where I started.”
How Hair Grows
The Hair Growth And Loss Cycle
To understand the type of hair loss related to Wellbutrin, it helps to talk about the phases of the hair cycle. Our hair actually goes through four distinct phases between the “birth” of a hair and when it falls out: anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen. The first phase, anagen, determines how long hair will become and lasts from two to six years. Nearly 90% of the hairs on your head are in the anagen phase.
Catagen is a shorter transition phase in which the hair follicle loses its blood supply and stops growing. It then enters the telogen phase, where it stays for three or four months. Exogen is the final phase, in which the hair is shed. Around 10% of your hair is normally in the telogen phase, but this can be much higher if your hair is prematurely shifted to the telogen phase by a physical or emotional stressor.
The type of hair loss experienced by some people on Wellbutrin and other antidepressants is telogen effluvium. It is characterized by widespread thinning of the hair. Often, more hair loss occurs near the front of the head, above the forehead.
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What Can You Do If You Have Hair Loss From Medications
Discuss with your doctor if your dosage can be adjusted or if you can switch to another medication that also helps your condition without the hair loss side effect. Never do this without the strict supervision of your doctor.
In most cases, hair loss from medication will stop a few weeks after you discontinue the drug. However, new hair growth can take a while and might not return to its original texture or volume.
If you have been taking the medication for a long time, you might also develop chronic telogen effluvium. That means you might continue losing hair even after stopping the medication. Chronic telogen effluvium can last up to 7 years.
Discuss your hair loss with your doctor. Discontinuing the drug is not always the only solution. Sometimes, adjusting the dosage or adding a supplement can help a great deal.
What Medications Can Cause Hair Loss 46 Known Drugs
Losing your hair or dealing with baldness can be incredibly frustrating.
As you age, it’s also not altogether unexpected: a majority of men will deal with hair loss sometime in their life due to natural causes, but it can be delayed — and hair restored — with proper hair loss treatment.
But medications for other conditions can also cause hair loss, and certain drugs can contribute not only to hair loss but excessive hair growth and changes in color and texture as well.
There’s good news though, as these changes in your hair are typically reversible once you stop taking the drug thats causing them. Here’s what you should know about medications and hair loss.
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High Blood Pressure Medications
We usually hear a lot about metoprolol side effects including hair loss. But that is not the only blood pressure medication linked to alopecia. ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers, both used to treat high blood pressure and other heart conditions, can cause hair fall in some patients after a few months of starting the treatment.
The most common heart and blood pressure medications that cause hair loss include:
Only about 1 to 5 percent of patients report hair loss with blood pressure medication, and it is usually a temporary side effect and fully reversible.
Furosemide is a blood pressure medication that does not cause hair loss as is Hydrochlorothiazide. Discuss with your doctor the pros and cons of these drugs and the ones you are taking.
Do not interrupt or change the dose of your current medication without first consulting with a health professional.
What Are The Types Of Hair Loss
There are three: anagen effluvium, telogen effluvium and FPHL.
- Anagen effluvium: This is caused by medications that poison a growing hair follicle .
- Telogen effluvium: This is caused by an increased number of hair follicles reaching the telogen phase, which is the stage where hair falls out.
- Androgenetic alopecia/female pattern alopecia/female pattern hair loss /baldness: This type is the most common. Hair thins over the top of the head and on the sides.
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What You Need To Know About Hair Loss
If your condition is not due to a hormonal imbalance, your doctor may recommend treatment that includes topical corticosteroids. Topical corticosteroids may lead to red or puffy face and can reduce your immune systems ability to fight infection. In some cases, fungal infections, such as tinea capitis, can lead to hair loss. Fortunately, you can take antifungal medications to treat it and get a full head of hair again.
Hair loss is a normal part of aging, and there is no need to worry. In fact, it is perfectly normal for most people to lose a bit of hair every day, and it will grow back eventually. Some men and women experience hair loss as they age, while others simply have a genetic predisposition to the problem. If youre experiencing a lack of hair, you may have a weakened immune system, which can lead to hair loss.
For more severe cases of hair loss, a dermatologist may recommend a hair transplant. This procedure involves a surgeon removing plugs of hair from your scalp. It may take several hours and multiple sessions to complete the process. Its an invasive treatment, and may not be the best option for everyone. Your doctor will need to examine your scalp to determine the cause of your condition. In addition to a healthy diet, your doctor may recommend taking supplements of various vitamins and minerals.
Medications And Hair Loss: The Basics
A variety of medications can contribute to hair loss. Most of the time, hair loss caused by medication is temporary. However, some medications may cause permanent hair loss.
Common medications that can cause temporary hair loss include anticoagulants , anticonvulsants and antihypertensive medications such as beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors.
Hair loss is a common, expected side effect of many chemotherapy medications used to treat many forms of cancer.
Medications that increase testosterone, such as anabolic steroids, can cause permanent hair loss due to male pattern baldness.
Although its uncommon, hair loss is a reported side effect of some medications used to treat depression and anxiety.
If youre prescribed medication and notice your hair thinning, its important to talk to your healthcare provider before making any changes.
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How Should I Take Fluoxetine
You can take fluoxetine with or without food.
You should take fluoxetine exactly as prescribed, and continue to take fluoxetine as prescribed even after your symptoms improve. You should not change your dosing regimen or stop taking fluoxetine without discussing with your provider first. A gradual reduction in dosage rather than abruptly stopping is recommended whenever possible.
If your symptoms are not improving or you have any questions about changing or stopping medication, reach out to your Ro-affiliated provider for guidance.
Hair Loss In The Telogen Phase
Most medications that cause hair loss affect hairs in the resting phase.
Drugs that have an association with telogen hair loss include:
- levodopa and other medications for Parkinsonâs disease
- naproxen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
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Who Should Not Use Fluoxetine
Do not use fluoxetine if:
- You are taking a class of medications called monoamine oxidase inhibitors . Examples of MAOIs include isocarboxazid , phenelzine , selegiline , and tranylcypromine , linezolid, or intravenous methylene blue. MAOIs may increase the risk of serotonin syndrome.
- You are taking a medication called pimozide or thioridazine. Taking these medications with fluoxetine can increase the risk of prolonged QT interval, which is a potentially dangerous change to the electrical signals that make your heart beat.
Other Side Effects Of Wellbutrin
In addition to the uncommon side effect of hair loss, there are some common side effects of Wellbutrin. Unlike most antidepressants, you are more likely to lose weight than gain while taking it. Unfortunately, most antidepressants carry the risk of side effects, and you will need to work with your doctor to balance these side effects with the benefits you get from the medication.
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Hair Loss Due To Medication: Will It Grow Back
If you have experienced hair loss due to medication, you will most likely grow it back after a few months. But there are exceptions.
Both anagen and telogen effluvium are temporary and reversible conditions.
Hair growth will often reappear about 3 months after you discontinue the medication, although it will take about 12 to 24 months for your hair to return to its original texture and volume.
Only in some cases will hair loss continue after stopping the prescribed drug. For example, if the medication was just a trigger for a genetic hair loss condition or if telogen effluvium became chronic. In these situations, you might continue experiencing shedding and wont see any significant hair regrowth.
What Are The Most Common Side Effects Of Sertraline
- Nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, or indigestion
- Increased sweating
- Change in sleep habits including increased sleepiness or insomnia
- Sexual problems including abnormal ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, or decreased sex drive
- Feeling tired or fatigued
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription products to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
This information is not comprehensive. Please see the full Prescribing Information for complete safety information.
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How To Treat Medication
Most of the time, any hair you lose from medication will grow back once you stop actively taking the causative medication.
If youre prescribed medication, its important that you dont stop taking it without first talking to your healthcare provider. Stopping medication suddenly may worsen your medical condition or cause you to experience side effects.
This is particularly important if youre prescribed medication for a life-threatening health issue, such as cancer, heart disease or severe depression.
If you notice hair loss after starting a specific medication, reach out to your healthcare provider to let them know. Depending on your health and the extent to your hair loss, they may suggest adjusting your dosage or using a different medication thats less likely to cause hair loss.
In some cases, you may not be able to adjust your dosage or stop using your medication until you reach the end of your treatment period.
Medications That Cause Hair Loss In Females
Hormone therapies can trigger hormone imbalances in women, causing hair loss and potentially causing permanent female pattern baldness.
Birth control pills used for contraception and hormone replacement therapies , like progesterone and estrogen, are examples. Women who have undergone a full hysterectomy, for example, require ongoing HRT after surgery.
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What Are The Most Serious Side Effects That I Or A Caregiver Should Monitor For When Taking Fluoxetine
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or seek immediate medical attention.
These serious side effects are rare, but can occur with fluoxetine. You or a caregiver should carefully monitor for these side effects, especially in the beginning of treatment and with dose changes.
- Serotonin Syndrome: Serotonin syndrome is an uncommon, potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when taking too much of an SSRI or SNRI at once or when fluoxetine is taken along with other drugs that increase the activity of serotonin in the central nervous system. These medications may include MAOIs, triptans , tricyclic antidepressants, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, tryptophan, buspirone, amphetamines, and St. Johns Wort. Monitor for symptoms of elevated body temperature, flushing, sweating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, agitation, and a racing heartbeat.
- Allergic Reactions and Rash: Tell your provider if you develop a rash or hives. Discontinue use of fluoxetine and seek emergency care immediately if you have a severe allergic reaction. Signs and symptoms of a severe allergic reaction include swelling of the face, eyes, or mouth, or having trouble breathing.
- Abnormal Bleeding: Tell your provider if you experience any increased or unusual bruising, bleeding, or nose bleed. Fluoxetine may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with NSAIDs , aspirin, or blood thinners such as warfarin .
Why Chemo Causes Hair Loss
Hair loss is very common during chemotherapy for breast cancer as well as other cancers, though some drugs and methods of administration are more likely than others to disrupt hair follicles.
Chemotherapy drugs work systemically by interfering with the division and growth of rapidly growing cells.
While these drugs can be effective in eliminating cancer cells, they also damage normal cells that divide rapidly. This includes hair follicles , cells in the digestive tract , and cells in bone marrow .
The keratinocytes in the hair follicle divide faster than many malignant cells, and they have a good blood supply that delivers chemotherapy agents to them efficiently. Their fast metabolism also puts them under oxidative stress, which a chemotherapy drug can enhance to the point that the cell dies.
Whether or not you develop hair loss, and the degree to which you do if so, depends on a number of factors including:
- The dose of chemotherapy: Higher doses generally have a greater risk for hair loss.
- How often the chemotherapy is given: More frequent doses carry more risk.
- The route of administration: Intravenous drugs are more likely to cause hair loss than oral drugs.
- The drugs or combination of drugs you receive: Some are more likely to cause hair loss than others, and receiving a combination of drugs increases the risk.
- Your individual makeup: Some people are more likely to lose hair than others, even with the same doses of the same drugs.
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