Hair Alopecia Medications That Cause Baldness

Medications That Cause Baldness

There are some medications that cause baldness or hair loss, stimulate hair growth, or induce changes in hair shape and color.

The lost of hair It occurs very commonly in both men and women. When there is a temporal association between the onset of hair loss and the onset of a Pharmacotherapy new, it is often thought that the medication is responsible for hair loss. Although this loss can also happen as response to other stimuli as well as in fever, bleeding, severe illness, stress and postpartum period, excluding additional causes is required before attributing hair loss to a medication.

Mechanisms by which hair is lost on medications that cause baldness

Medications can cause hair loss by three different mechanisms.

  • Telogen effluvium: It is the mechanism More frequently. It is characterized by excessive shedding of telogen hair. This may be because the medicine accelerates the entry of the follicle into the resting phase. It may also be due to sudden interruption of a medicine anagen phase inducerLike minoxidil or estrogens. Hair loss is evident 3 months later the onset of exposure to the drug. Generally the capillary density remains normal, although it can also be decreased.
  • Anagen effluvium: It is caused by the use of cytotoxic drugs like the agents chemotherapeutic used against cancer. It is caused by direct toxicity of the drug to actively proliferating cells of the follicle. This causes the follicle cells stop dividing and detach the hair shaft. Hair loss is visible from 1-3 weeks later starting treatment and is completed within 2 months.
  • Scarring Alopecia: El diffuse and permanent weight loss associated with destruction of follicles it is very rare. Generally seen after use of busulfan or with radiation therapy in brain tumors.

Medicines that cause reversible baldness or alopecia.


  • The telogen effluvium caused by anticoagulants it is a common adverse effect. Happens up to half of the patients dealt with heparin.

Antineoplastic drugs

  • Hair loss is a very frequent adverse effect of chemotherapy. It is most evident in patients receiving a combination of medications. The fall comes in 4-8 weeks after the start of treatment. When treatment is stopped hair usually comes back quickly.


  • Drugs used to control HIVLike indinavir, cause hair loss up to 10% of patients. Loss can be fuzzy or in patches, similar to those of alopecia areata. He indinavir It can also cause changes in hair texture and color.


Medications that cause hair loss - Antibiotics
Some Antibiotics can cause Temporary Alopecia
  • In isolated cases, drugs used to treat tuberculosis, such as isoniazid, have produced reversible hair loss.

contraceptives, they can be medications that cause baldness

Medications that cause hair loss - Contraceptives
Remember that having a hormonal component, contraceptives can cause hair loss
  • The estrogens prolong the duration of the anagen phase. When they are suddenly suspended, a large number of follicles enter the telogen phase. Therefore there is a significant hair loss. Some contraceptives that contain androgenic agents they can worsen a picture of androgenetic alopecia.

Antiestrogens and aromatase inhibitors

  • These medications are frequently used in the breast cancer treatment. He tamoxifen Is associated with thinning and discoloration hair in some cases.

Hormone replacement therapy with estrogen-methyltestosterone

  • Up to 12% of women who receive this type of therapy for the treatment of menopause They may have hair loss.
Medications that cause hair loss - Steroids
Steroids not only cause hair loss but also accelerate the natural processes of alopecia.

Androgen derivatives

  • La androgenetic alopecia it is exacerbated with the use of these drugs. This is seen in people who have to take hormone replacement or those who take anabolic steroids to increase muscle mass.


  • Alopecia is a frequent consequence of oral therapy with tacrolimus in patients undergoing an organ transplant. It occurs up to 28% of the cases. Up to 16% of patients taking leflunomide for rheumatoid arthritis have hair loss.


  • These are used for viral infection treatment and in certain types of cancer. Produce hair loss in up to 50% of patients who use them and the effect is dose dependent. Once therapy is discontinued, the hair comes back.


Minoxidil - Clinica DrEO
Stopping Minoxidil will obviously cause accelerated hair loss.
  • After 2-3 months treatment is suspended minoxidil There is significant hair loss. This is due to follicles stimulated by minoxidil suddenly enter the telogen phase and the hair falls out. To the start treatment with minoxidil, hair loss also occurs. This is because all follicles are induced to enter the anagen phase and the old hair shaft fall, so that the new one can grow.

Psychotropic drugs

  • It has been reported that mood stabilizers as Lithium and sodium valproate cause hair loss between a 12-20% from the patients.

Antidepressants, they can also be medications that cause baldness

Depression and hair loss
Some Antidepressants Can Cause Hair Loss
  • These frequently cause hair loss. A few hair loss has been reported months later of the start of therapy with fluoxetine, but sometimes this fall occurs up to one year after the start of treatment. The tricyclic antidepressants, and imipramineThey can also cause hair loss in isolated cases.

Retinol and derivatives (vitamin A)

  • High doses of Vitamin A have been associated with hair loss. The administration simultaneous vitamin E it can aggravate the problem.
  • Derivatives like tretinoin, they can also cause hair loss in dose-dependent form. In some cases alopecia can be severe, reaching a total alopecia.
Vitamin A and Baldness
Vitamin A derivatives can cause hair loss

For cardiovascular diseases (Medicines that cause baldness):

  • Treatment with antagonists of the beta-adrenergic receptorLike metoprolol They can cause reversible hair loss.
  • The angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitorsLike captoprilThey can also cause reversible hair loss. Once the treatment is stopped, the hair returns.

Medications that cause permanent hair loss or baldness.


  • It is a medicine that is used for previous treatment in patients who will undergo a bone marrow transplant. Produces permanent alopecia even in a 50% from the patients.
Chemotherapy and Cancer with Alopecia
In cancer patients we can observe temporary and permanent alopecia

Brain tumor radiation therapy

  • This type of treatment produces scarring alopecia. This is because the radiation destroys follicles that are in anagen phase. The affected areas do not look completely bald because the follicles that were in telogen phase during treatment they can survive the process.

Now you know more about the medications that cause baldness, we recommend you continue reading our articles so that you know more about it. If you are interested in knowing more about the alopecia treatments; as well as surgical treatments, you can click here.

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Dr. Enrique Orozco
Dr. Enrique Orozco
General Director, Specialist in Trichology and Hair Transplantation Certified by ABHRS. Only ABHRS Certified with residence in Mexico.


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Dr. Enrique Orozco
General Director, Specialist in Trichology and Hair Transplantation Certified by ABHRS. Only ABHRS Certified with residence in Mexico.




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