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How To Tell If Prescription Drugs Are Causing Your Hair Loss

While most people are familiar with the fact that chemotherapy treatments cause hair loss in both men and women, fewer people are familiar with the idea of other drugs causing hair loss as a side effect. Many of these drugs are incredibly common to use, even voluntary— things like birth control, cholesterol drugs, anticonvulsants, blood pressure medication, NSAIDs, steroids, antibiotics, and even retinoid acne medications are just a few of the many kinds of drugs that can cause hair loss. But with some hair loss common even in women, and easily induced by sudden changes in diet, activity, or stress levels, how can you pin down the cause of any increased loss in hair?

Figure Out When The Hair Loss Started

Regardless of what is causing your hair loss, being able to pin down when exactly the increased shedding of hair began will help you determine what’s causing it. Some drugs can take up to a week or two of ingestion on a regular basis before hair loss makes a marked increase, so don’t just think about drugs you started taking right around the time you noticed the hair loss— think about drugs you began a regimen of at least a month in advance of your first symptoms. You can also think about other things that were happening around the same time in your life, just so that you have isolated all of the potential risk factors.

What If I Began A Multi Drug Regimen?

Considering the difficulty of being able to tell whether it was a drug that caused an increased loss of hair or some other lifestyle factor, if you happen to be taking more than one drug at the time of hair loss, it can be tough to tell which of the drugs you’re taking is causing the increased hair shedding— or whether it is a combination of the two drugs. Under your doctor’s supervision, you may be asked to stop taking a single drug at a time in order to isolate the drug that is causing the side effect. Isolating a two drug reaction would be more difficult to diagnose. And even once the drug that caused the reaction has been isolated, it can take eight to twelve weeks for you to even notice an increase in hair production and a significant decrease in hair loss.

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