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Drug-induced hair loss

Certain medicinal treatments have hair loss as a potential side effect. This is called drug-induced alopecia, and it has become an increasingly common problem.

What is drug-induced alopecia?

Certain medications can unfortunately have devastating effects on the hair’s health and appearance. The first to come to mind are intense cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, which is known to cause the loss of various hair structures including hair on the head and body.  These are not the only treatments, however, to have such an effect. Some more common medications can also cause alopecia
 
Specialists have distinguished between three major categories of drug-induced hair loss:  
  • Diffuse hair loss occurring two to four months after the beginning of treatment and which is fully reversible once treatment is stopped. 
  • Anagen effluvium leads to sudden hair loss, with diffuse alopecia affecting up to 80% of the hair. It is observed primarily following the administration of cancer treatments (chemotherapy or exposure of the head and neck to radiation therapy). 
  • Hair loss due to androgenizing treatments that can aggravate baldness, in which case hair loss is irreversible. 

Drug-induced alopecia: what are the contributing medications and treatments?

Hormonal contraceptives can also contribute to hair loss. Several cases have shown a correlation between coming off the pill and hair loss. Stopping certain contraceptives can have a positive effect on hair quality, whereas others can cause diffuse hair loss. This hair loss is not localized to certain areas, but rather is spread out over the entire head. Other treatments can also cause drug-induced alopecia. The major drug classes to monitor are: anticoagulants, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antihypertensive medications, certain anti-inflammatories, thyroid treatments, beta-blockers, certain anti-cholesterol treatments, medications containing lithium and retinoids.
 
Always ask your doctor about the known side effects before starting a medication. 

Our care routines

 
My anti-occasional female hair loss routine (less than 6 months)

Action against occasional hair loss (caused by stress, fatigue, post-pregnancy, changing seasons, etc.)

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My anti-chronic female hair loss routine (over 6 months)

Action against chronic hair loss

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My male anti-hair loss routine

Action against chronic hair loss (> 6 months)

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