There are quite a few drugs on the market that can trigger or worsen hair loss, including thyroid medication, birth control, acne medication, antidepressants and more. For most people, drug induced hair loss is temporary and will grow back if you stop taking the drug. Still, some drugs can trigger permanent hair loss in men and women, especially those who are sensitive to the compounds in the medication. While this isn’t a comprehensive list, these drugs are some of the most commonly known hair loss-inducing medications currently on the market.
- Accutane (isotretinoin)
Male and Female Hormone Medications
Any drug with hormones or used to treat a hormonal condition can trigger hair loss. Women who take hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and birth control medication may experience female pattern baldness or telogen effluvium as a side effect. Men who take anabolic steroids or testosterone can experience male pattern baldness as a result.
- Birth control medication
- Hormone replacement therapy with estrogen or progesterone
- Prednisone and steroids
- Male andogenic hormones and forms of testosterone
- Anabolic steroids
A wide range of antidepressants and drugs used to treat anxiety can cause telogen effluvium.
- Zoloft (sertaline hydrochloride)
- Paxil (paroxetine)
- Anafranil (clomipramine)
- Adapin and Sinequan (doxepin)
- Pamelor and Ventyl (nortriptyline)
- Tofranil, Tofranil PM and Janimine (imipramine)
- Surmontil (trimipramine)
- Elavin and Endep (amitriptyline)
- Pertofrane and Norpramin (desipramine)
- Haldol (haloperidol)
- Asendin (amoxapine)
- Vivactil (protriptyline hydrochloride)
Anticoagulants, or blood thinners, are definitely a life-saving medication that prevent blood clots and help to prevent conditions like heart disease. Unfortunately, blood thinners can also cause hair loss called telogen effluvium, which affects the entire scalp. If you do experience hair loss, it will probably start after 3 months of treatment with blood thinners.
- Heparin injections
- Panwarfin, Coumadin and Sofarin (warfarin sodium)
Two types of gout medication can cause telogen effluvium.
- Colcrys (colchicine)
- Lopurin, Zyloprim (allopurinol)
Drugs for High Cholesterol
Drugs that lower cholesterol may also cause hair loss.
- Atronid-S (clofibrate)
- Lopid (gemfribrozil)
Beta-Blockers for Glaucoma
One type of drug used to treat glaucoma can cause or worsen hair loss.
- Timoptic XC, Timoptic Ocudose and Timoptic Eye Drogs (timolol)
A great deal of anti-inflammatories can cause hair loss, including those used as a chemotherapy drug or to treat localized injury and swelling.
- Arthritis medication
- Naprosyn, Anaprox and Anaprox DS (naproxen)
- Indocin and Indocin SR (indomethacin)
- Clinoril (sulindac)
- Methotrexate, Folex and Rheumatex (methotrexate)
A number of medications used to treat ulcers, including those available over the counter, can cause hair loss.
- Pepcid (famotidine)
- Zantac (ranitidine)
- Tagamet (cimetidine)
Beta Blocker Drugs
Beta blockers are commonly prescribed to treat heart problems as well as high blood pressure.
- Inderal and Inderal LA (propanolol)
- Blocadren (timolol)
- Corgard (nadolol)
- Lopressor (metoprolol)
- Tenormin (atenolol)
Angiotensis-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) are also used to treat high blood pressure, although hair loss known as telogen effluvium is a possible side effect.
- Vasotec (enalapril)
- Zestril and Prinivil (lisinopril)
- Capoten (captopril)
Anti-seizure medication can cause diffuse hair loss.
- Tridione (trimethadione)
- Depakote (valproic acid)
A large percentage of drugs prescribed to treat thyroid disease can cause hair loss, including:
- Synthroid, Levoxyl and Levothroid (levothyroxine)
- Thyrolar (liotrix)
- Armour ( desiccated thyroid)
- Anti-fungal medication
- Amphetamine-containing drugs for weight loss
- Levadopa or L-dopa (dopar, larodopa) to treat Parkinson’s Disease