Some patients’ suffer from hair loss caused by medications. Many different types of drugs are thought to cause hair loss. The list includes:
- Acne medications containing vitamin A (retinoids)
- Antibiotics and antifungal drugs
- Birth control pills
- Anticlotting drugs
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs
- Drugs that suppress the immune system
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Parkinson’s disease drugs
- Thyroid medications
- Weight loss drugs
- Epilepsy drugs (anticonvulsants)
- High blood pressure medications (anti-hypertensives), such as beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Mood stabilizers
Patients often ask if there is anything that can be done to prevent hair loss because of chemotherapy. Generally, nothing can stop hair loss if you are taking a drug that causes hair loss. However, not all chemotherapy drugs will cause hair loss. Some drugs may only cause a small amount of hair loss or thinning.
Hair loss from cancer treatment is often not permanent. Hair loss may affect all the hair on your body. Usually hair grows back once therapy has been completed. The amount of hair loss depends on the cancer treatment, the dose of treatment, and how it is given. If your treatment affects the hair, your hair may start falling out between seven to 21 days after you start your treatment.
Rogaine, (minoxidil) Rogaine combats DHT which shrinks and chokes follicles by swelling the follicle’s tiny microvascular structures. This is not to be confused with a generalized increase in circulation to the scalp — a premise of many scams. Many experts consider the drug a temporary hair loss remedy because it doesn’t act directly on the hormonal process of hair loss.
Propecia, (finasteride) is probably the world’s most effective hair loss remedy of its kind. It can be obtained by prescription only and works in front and in back. In tests, 66% of men grew hair in back and 42% grew hair up front. Almost all the rest stopped losing hair. Users must continue to take the medication in order to retain benefits.
Laser Therapy uses a low-level laser to treat pattern baldness in men and women. The low laser light is absorbed by the cells of the scalp and purportedly will repair them and encourage regrowth. The process won’t bring back dead hair follicles, but it may stimulate declining follicles making existing hair thicker.
Hair Restoration involves moving hair follicles from a “donor site” (usually the back of the scalp) to a thinning area of scalp. The implants are plugged into bald sections of the scalp. Primarily used to treat male pattern baldness, most hair transplants result in excellent hair growth within several months.