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The affected person was depressed. She had kidney illness, endured common dialysis and had undergone an aggressive medical routine after medical doctors found blood clots. But that wasn’t what was dimming the 49-year-old’s spirits.

“My hair is falling out,” she lamented.

Her medical doctors suspected the trigger. She had been prescribed warfarin, an anticoagulation drug, to cope with her clotting situation. Within three weeks of switching to another drug, apixaban, her hair stopped falling out — and ultimately it grew again.

Like turning grey, hair loss is usually a pure a part of growing older. But alopecia, the medical time period for hair loss, is a posh situation with many variations, from slow-progressing balding (known as male- or female-pattern hair loss) to extra fast and patchy loss (alopecia areata is a typical kind). Genetics, hormonal modifications, irritation and even sure ailments — together with, in some circumstances, COVID-19 — can set off short-term or everlasting hair loss. And prescribed drugs may set off extreme and sudden shedding.

The secret lifetime of your hair

Each hair in your head has its personal particular person life cycle: A strand grows between two and eight years. Then, in a interval of two or three weeks, it stops rising and rests for 3 to 4 months earlier than detaching from the follicle. Your head of hair is a mix of 85 to 90 % actively rising hair and hair that’s resting and ready to shed.

But when the physique experiences a trauma, sudden, substantial shedding can happen. Triggers can embrace an acute sickness, stress, a extreme dietary deficiency, fast weight reduction — or a drug that proves poisonous to hair follicles. Drugs may be the wrongdoer for a situation referred to as drug-induced telogen effluvium, which results in elevated shedding on high of the scalp just a few months after publicity.

Hair loss is a comparatively uncommon aspect impact, however a wide range of drugs could trigger it: beta-blockers, blood thinners, antidepressants, cholesterol-lowering medicine, sure nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAIDs) and hormone-related medicine like thyroid meds, hormone substitute therapies or steroids.

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