Is there any truth that some medications cause hair loss?

I'm worried because there is not a pattern of hair loss in my family but yet I'm the first male experiencing it. I'm on several prescription meds, all of which prescribed by my general physician.

Posted Answers


A very good question. I didn't even know this was a side effect. Thanks for bringing this to awareness. I google this and it does seem to be the case:

Many commonly prescribed prescription drugs can cause temporary hair loss, trigger the onset of male and female pattern baldness, and even cause permanent hair loss. Note that the drugs listed here do not include those used in chemotherapy and radiation for cancer treatment.

Your doctor may not mention hair loss as a side effect of some drugs, so don't forget to do your own research and read the drug manufacturer's complete warnings. Your pharmacist can provide you with this information even before you fill a prescription.

Many pill and medication guidebooks (sold in bookstores and pharmacies) are also excellent sources of complete information about prescription drugs. If your doctor prescribes any of the following drugs, ask if one that does not have hair loss as a possible side effect can be substituted.

The drugs are listed by category, according to the conditions they treat, then by brand name first followed by the drug's generic name in parentheses. In some categories, individual drugs are not listed. For these conditions, you will want to discuss the possibility of hair loss as a side effect of using any of the drugs that treat that particular condition, since many do contribute to hair loss.


All drugs derived from vitamin A as treatments for acne or other conditions, including:

Accutane (isotretinoin)

Anticoagulants (blood thinners), including:

Panwarfin (warfarin sodium)
Sofarin (warfarin sodium)
Coumadin (warfarin sodium)
Heparin injections

Cholesterol-lowering drugs, including:

Atronid-S (clofibrate)
Lopid (gemfibrozil)
Convulsions/ Epilepsy

Anticonvulsants, including:
Tridone (trimethadione)

Antidepression drugs, including:
Prozac (fluoxetine hydrochloride)
Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride)
Paxil (paroxetine)
Anafranil (clomipramine)
Janimine (imipramine)
Tofranil (imipramine)
Tofranil PM (imipramine)
Adapin (doxepin)
Sinequan (doxepin)
Surmontil (trimipramine)
Pamelor (nortriptyline)
Ventyl (nortriptyline)
Elavin (amitriptyline)
Endep (amitriptyline)
Norpramin (desipramine)
Pertofrane (desipramine)
Vivactil (protriptyline hydrochloride)
Asendin (amoxapine)
Haldol ( haloperidol)



The beta-blocker drugs, including:

Timoptic Eye Drops (timolol)
Timoptic Ocudose (timolol)
Timoptic XC (timolol)

Lopurin (allopurinol)
Zyloprim (allopurinol)

Many drugs prescribed for the heart, including those known as the beta blockers, which are also used to treat high blood pressure, and include:

Tenormin (atenolol)
Lopressor (metoprolol)
Corgard (nadolol)
Inderal and Inderal LA (propanolol)
Blocadren (timolol)
High Blood Pressure

See Above list of beta blockers under "Heart"

Hormonal Conditions

All hormone-containing drugs and drugs prescribed for hormone-related, reproductive, male-specific, and female-specific conditions and situations have the potential to cause hair loss, including:

Birth Control Pills
Hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) for women (estrogen or progesterone)
Male androgenic hormones and all forms of testosterone
Anabolic steriods
Prednisone and other steroids

Many anti-inflammatory drugs, including those prescribed for localized pain, swelling and injury.

Arthritis drugs
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs including:
Naprosyn (naproxen)
Anaprox (naproxen)
Anaprox DS (naproxen)
Indocin (indomethacin)
Indocin SR (indomethacin)
Clinoril (sulindac)
An anti-inflammatory that is also used as a chemotherapy drug:

Methotrexate (MTX)
Rheumatex (methotrexate)
Folex (methotrexate)
Parkinson's Disease

Levadopa / L-dopa (dopar, larodopa)
Thyroid Disorders

Many of the drugs used to treat the thyroid

Many of the drugs used to treat indigestion, stomach difficulties, and ulcers, including over-the-counter dosages and prescription dosages.

Tagamet (cimetidine)
Zantac (ranitidine)
Pepcid (famotidine)

Most people just assume that hair loss is purely a genetic issue, when in fact many hair loss issues can be directly attributed to prescription drugs, even taking too much of certain vitamins or over the counter drugs. If you have hair loss issues and you need the prescription medicine for a certain illness or condition, you may want to ask your doctor about alternative medicines that don't cause hair loss. Be informed and take action. After all, you are the one that will be without hair!

Prescription medications + over-the-counter drugs that can cause hair loss

The risk for temporary hair loss is relativley low for most prescription medicines. When hair loss does occur, it may occur after a few weeks or even years of using a particular drug. Just because you have been taking a medicine for 2 years with no problems does not mean that you might not have issues in the future. Always monitor your hair situation.

The hair loss that you might experience can be directly related to your dosage, the length of your treatment and how you respond to the medication. In most hair loss cases involving prescription medications, your hair will resume growth about 3 to 4 months after you discontinue the medication. You will need to be patient!

There are some medications that can cause hair loss and are also used to promote hair growth. For example, consider hormone replacement therapy drugs and oral contraceptives. These drugs contain progestins, estrogens and female hormones that can cause hair loss in some women. The same exact medicines are prescribed for other women to reverse hair loss. Go figure!

Common over the counter drugs that can cause hair loss in some cases are ibuprofen and naproxen. You might get rid of your fever with ibuprofen, but you'll get a big headache if you see your hair falling out. Risk of hair loss with these over the counter medications is very low, but it does happen.

Also, taking to much vitamin A over a period of time is known to cause hair loss or thinning.

Certain prescription drugs for arthritis, gout, blood thinners, high blood pressure, ulcers, parkinson disease, cholesterol lowering and chemotherapy are associated with hair loss issues. Again, ask your doctor if there is another medication that you can take if you are experiencing hair loss.

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