What Medications Can Cause Hair Loss, and What Can You Do About It

What Medications Can Cause Hair Loss?

There are many medications that can cause hair loss, but there are some drugs which are very dangerous and may lead to death. There are several types of medications that can cause hair loss, and they include:


Alcoholism Drugs (Amphetamines)

Anabolic Steroids (HGH) and Growth Hormone Supplements (GHRH)

Benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan)

Cannabis Sativa L. (Cannabis)

Depressants (Methadone, Barbiturates, Alcohol)

Dietary Supplements and Herbal Remedies (St. John’s Wort, St. Andrew’s Cross, Green Tea, Yohimbe)

Estrogen (Premarin)

Immunosuppressants (Tacrolimus, Everolimus)

Narcotics (Oxycodone, Fentanyl, Codeine)

Opioids and Analgesics (Oxymorphone, Hydrocodone, Aspirin)

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) like Prilosec and Nexium

Rauwolfia serpentina (Rauwolfia)

Steroids (Anadrol, Dianabol, Winstrol, Nolvadex, Clomid, Arimidex)

Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (SERMs) for menopausal symptoms or osteoporosis

Zinc supplements

Alcoholism Medications (Methanol, Ethanol Alcohol)

Many drugs and medication can cause hair loss. Hair loss that is caused by medication may not always be reversible. If you are experiencing hair loss, it is best to seek medical advice as soon as possible.

At times, hair loss can be accompanied by other signs and symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, fever, and chest pain. If you experience any of these symptoms in addition to hair loss, you should seek medical attention immediately as they can be signs of a serious underlying condition.

Hair Loss from Alcoholism Drugs

Amphetamines are drugs that increase your energy, heart rate, and alertness. They are also known as uppers. Amphetamines can cause hair loss.

This is most likely to happen if you have a genetic predisposition to hair loss. If you have a family history of baldness, you are more likely to experience hair loss from taking amphetamines.

Alcohol can cause hair loss. Alcohol is converted into a toxic chemical called acetaldehyde by an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase. Acetaldehyde is what causes most of the damage to your body including your hair and it is also highly carcinogenic or cancer causing.

Alcoholism drugs are a class of drugs that are used to help people with alcoholism. Alcoholism drugs include Antabuse and Disulfiram. These drugs cause a person to feel sick if they drink alcohol while on the medication.

Antabuse is an alcoholism drug that causes a person to feel very sick if they drink alcohol while on the medication. This medication should not be taken by people who have liver or kidney problems and severe asthma patients should not take this either. Some common side effects include:


Difficulty thinking





You shouldn’t take Antabuse if you have liver or kidney problems, severe asthma, heart problems, or if you are pregnant or a woman who is nursing. Drinking alcohol while on this drug could result in death.

Disulfiram is an alcoholism drug that can cause a reaction when you drink alcohol while on this medication. This reaction can cause nausea, vomiting, chest pain, heart palpitations, anxiety, shortness of breath, and/or difficulty breathing.

Most drugs have side effects. A side effect is an effect from a drug that isn’t the one you are taking it for. Most drugs have more than one possible side effect.

The side effects from any drug may be helpful or harmful. The severity of the side effect depends on the individual as well as the medication.

If you experience any unusual symptoms while on a drug, it is in your best interest to inform your doctor right away. Depending on the severity of the side effect, your dosage may need to be adjusted or you may need to stop taking the medication altogether.

If you experience any of the serious side effects listed on a medication, you should seek emergency medical attention. Some of these serious side effects include difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, loss of vision, difficulty speaking, seizure, and loss of consciousness.

Alcoholism and Hair Loss Treatment

Hair loss is a very real side effect of alcoholism. There are some drugs that can help treat or even reverse the hair loss caused by drinking. All drugs have side effects, but some are more severe than others.

Not all drugs are compatible with each other either. It is important that you discuss all medications that you are taking with your doctor before starting any new ones.

Hair loss caused by alcohol can be reversed with the proper treatment. While there is no cure for alcoholism, it is certainly possible to treat the damage that it has caused. This damage includes liver and kidney disease, malnutrition, electrolyte imbalances, cardiovascular complications, and hair loss.

Hair loss caused by drinking can be treated with medication or surgery. The most common drug used to prevent hair loss is Propecia. This drug works by blocking a hormone that causes the hair loss in the first place.

Some common side effects include:

Abnormal ejaculation


Back pain

Bone pain




Dry mouth

Erectile dysfunction

Eye pain

Eye problems – Floaters, blurred vision, etc.




Loss of awareness of surroundings

Loss of vision


Skin rash

Sleep problems (insomnia)

Swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet

Thoughts of suicide

Surgery is another option for treating hair loss caused by drinking. During this procedure, the surgeon sews the scalp to your head to give a tighter grip on the hairs. This prevents the hairs from falling out or breaking off.

A small incision is made to insert surgical staples, stitches, or a metal plate. This procedure can be expensive and is not always effective.

Both of these hair loss treatments for alcoholism are intended to prevent further hair loss. Neither will trigger new hair growth on the scalp that has already fallen out. If you are experiencing excessive hair loss, it is recommended to seek treatment immediately.

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Sources & references used in this article:

Drug reactions affecting hair: diagnosis by A Tosti, M Pazzaglia – Dermatologic clinics, 2007 – Elsevier

Towards a molecular understanding of hair loss and its treatment by G Cotsarelis, SE Millar – Trends in molecular medicine, 2001 – Elsevier

Medical treatments for male and female pattern hair loss by NE Rogers, MR Avram – Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2008 – Elsevier

Evaluation and treatment of male and female pattern hair loss by EA Olsen, AG Messenger, J Shapiro… – Journal of the …, 2005 – academia.edu

Expert System for Hair Loss Diagnosis and Treatment by A Nabahin, A Abou Eloun, SS Abu-Naser – 2017 – dstore.alazhar.edu.ps

Drug that causes hair loss and promotes hair growth-A review by PK Jain, H Joshi, DJ Dass – Int J Res Pharm Biomed Sci, 2012 – researchgate.net

Drugs and hair loss by M Patel, S Harrison, R Sinclair – Dermatologic clinics, 2013 – derm.theclinics.com

Interventions for alopecia areata by FM Delamere, MJ Sladden… – Cochrane database …, 2008 – cochranelibrary.com

Alopecia areata by CH Pratt, LE King, AG Messenger… – Nature reviews Disease …, 2017 – nature.com