Hair loss related to medications is not that unusual with certain drugs. Most commonly, only the hair on your head is affected, but your eyebrows, eyelashes, and other body hair may fall out as well. Sometimes the hair thins but does not all fall out.
For instance, methotrexate and hair loss is very common. Methotrexate is a medication that stops exceptionally rapid cell growth, which occurs in diseases such as cancer. It is often used in high doses as part of the chemotherapy given to cancer patients. This is why cancer patients so often lose their hair.
Methotrexate has other uses as well. It can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It can be used to treat lupus (a disorder of the immune system).
While methotrexate and hair loss is very common, other drugs can also cause hair loss, including lithium, beta-blockers, and heparin. As you can see, there are a number of instances in which hair loss related to medications may occur.
There is little you can do to prevent hair loss related to medications. Using a different medication may help, but don't stop taking or make any changes with your medication unless your doctor tells you to. If you are concerned about your hair, ask your doctor about hair loss related to medications. Particularly if you are on methotrexate and hair loss is an issue for you, talk with your doctor about the problem before making any changes.
Eating a healthy diet may help to prevent hair loss, especially if you are on a relatively low dose of methotrexate or other medications. Hair is made of protein, so eating a diet high in protein may help. Healthy hair also requires certain vitamins, particularly B vitamins, and certain minerals such as magnesium and iron. Taking a vitamin and mineral supplement may help.
Continuing to eat a healthy diet will help your hair grow back after you stop taking methotrexate or other medications, as well.
One treatment for hair loss related to medications is to stop or change the medication. This is often not possible, however, because medications like methotrexate are prescribed to treat serious conditions. Do not stop taking your medication unless your doctor tells you to.
Hair loss related to medications generally begins to grow back within a month of stopping the medication. This is particularly the case with methotrexate and hair loss At this point, there are things you can do to stimulate new hair growth. These treatments may help limit hair loss while you are still on the medication, as well.
If you have cancer, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis, you should already be in the care of a doctor. If you are prescribed methotrexate, talk with your doctor about any concerns you have about methotrexate and hair loss. Ask about other hair loss related to medications you may experience.
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